Should You Take a Fast Food Road Trip?

A new ranking of the best cities for fast food lovers may make it easier if you do.

Nothing like a summer road trip. You may hit the highway to see family or friends or to tour cultural institutions or quirky roadside attractions. But if you’re looking for an unusual pretext to pack up the jalopy and clock some miles, here’s one to consider: a tour of the 10 cities that have the most fast food per capita.

It’s a thought, anyway – and now it’s all the more possible thanks to a ranking recently released by Apartment Guide.

The real-estate site crunched the data and, based on the ratio of the number of franchises of the 10 most-popular fast food chains (McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Subway, etc.) to the number of people who live in the municipality, has revealed the best cities in the U.S. for fast food lovers.

Counting down the top 10, you’ve got …

10- Fort Wayne, Indiana – that state’s second-largest city -- where you will find 2,417 fast food restaurants per capita and, Apartment Guide notes, a block near the city’s convention center that the locals call the “Fast Food Block.”

9- Atlanta, Georgia, with one fast food location for every 2,096 residents, which appears on the list thanks, in part, to the fact that the chicken chain Chick-Fil-A is based there. You’ll find 40 Chick-Fil-A locations in the Atlanta metropolitan area – considerably more than any other city in the top 10.

8- Tampa, Florida, which boasts 1,927 fast food franchises per capita – 66 Subways, 35 McDonald’s and 23 Burger Kings among them.

7- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where you’ll find even more fast food eateries than bridges: 1,926 quick-serve restaurants per capita.

6- Cleveland, Ohio, home to the Cavaliers, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and 1,899 fast food joints per capita.

5- Las Vegas, Nevada, where, if you want the benefit of eating quickly to return to the blackjack table or slot machines, you’ll be able to choose from an eye-popping, waistband-snapping 354 fast food locations -- one for every 1,813 residents.

4- Saint Louis, Missouri, which, with one chain eatery for every 1,794 residents and an impressive 35 McDonald’s locations (not to mention 63 Subway locales), could be known as much as for its Golden Arches as its Gateway Arch.

3- Cincinnati, Ohio, where there is one fast-food restaurant for every 1,522 people, making it the city with the most QSR saturation outside the state of (spoiler alert) Florida.

2- Miami, Florida, where the presence of 318 fast-food restaurants -- one for every 1,457 residents, including 110 Subways, 50 McDonald’s and an impressive 45 Burger Kings (BK is based in Miami-Dade County) -- has got to make it challenging to keep your beach bod in shape.

1- Orlando, Florida. Maybe you saw this one coming a mile away? I mean, someone’s got to feed all those Disney, Universal and Sea World tourists after a long day of … touristing. Plus, the people who work at the parks and hotels probably don’t have much time to Mickey Mouse around the kitchen preparing dinner. And so, with one quick-serve restaurant for every 1,058 city residents, Orlando is the No. 1 city in the U.S. for fast-food availability.

So there you have it. Start charting your fast-food road trip route – and don’t forget to pack your stretchy pants!

Photo: iStock

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