McDonald’s might be the most popular fast-food chain in the Beehive State.
That’s according to a study conducted by price-tracking website PriceListo. Using monthly online search data over the course of a year, the site determined Utah has the highest volume of search for McDonald’s. Domino’s Pizza scored second place while Chick-fil-A came in third.
The fast-food restaurant with the most locations in Utah is Subway, according to Stacker. In 2022, the chain had 211 locations while McDonald’s has 113, Wendy’s has 80 and Pizza Hut tied with Domino’s at 71.
Utah’s favorite fast food chain has changed throughout the years. In 2017, the Deseret News reported In-N-Out was the most popular chain in the state. Business Insider partnered with Foursquare to determine which chain was the most popular. “The study ranked each state’s favorite fast food spot based on the total number of visits divided by the number of locations in each state.”
In 2021, iHeart Radio said In-N-Out was still the most popular chain. The study was done by World Population Review. The most popular chain in the country was Chick-fil-A. In 2022, Chick-fil-A took the No. 1 spot for Utah.
What fast food is Utah known for?
In terms of which regional chain is the most popular in Utah, Mashed declared it was Arctic Circle. The chain is known for its thick milkshakes and its version of fry sauce. Another article from Insider in 2020 said Crown Burgers was Utah’s favorite fast-food chain. Crown Burgers is known for its eponymic burger, which is a cheeseburger with hot, spiced pastrami piled high as if it were a crown.
Pastrami burgers are an example of a Utah-specific fast food. Although the pastrami burger likely came from California, per The New York Times, Crown Burgers is credited with the invention in the state of Utah.
Crown Burgers uses a pillowy sesame seed bun and tops it with a quarter-pound charbroiled hamburger patty, chopped-up iceberg lettuce, a thick tomato slice, some onions, cheese, fry sauce and spicy, peppery pastrami.
It’s this type of burger that’s taken ahold of Utah and inspired other restaurants to create their own version. the Times reported, “While traditionalists still follow the Crown formula for building a burger, and offer a nod to their design ethic, too, revisionists now take their cues, counterintuitively, from traditional delicatessen culture.”
Utah is also known for its fry sauce. It’s a mix of ketchup and mayo often with different spices and sometimes with the addition of pickle relish and other ingredients. Fry sauce is a staple in Utah’s regional fast-food chains, along with the state’s signature milkshakes.
Utah milkshakes are known for being thick. A traditional Utah milkshake can’t be consumed via a straw — you’ll likely need a spoon. The state is known for its berry milkshakes. The Deseret News reported Bear Lake raspberry milkshakes are considered an iconic Utah food. Huckleberry milkshakes are also more common in the West than in other places.
Another style of fast-food chains that originated in Utah are soda-mixing shops. Stores like Swig and Sodalicious are drive-throughs with Italian syrups, pebble ice, different types of soda and treats like cookies, popcorn and soft pretzels.
But the Beehive State also likes the classics — McDonald’s might be evidence of that.