The 4 Best Chain Restaurants That Started in NYC

Best Chain Restaurants That Started in NYC
Photo by Subhaan Saleem on

Chains get a bad rap. They’re seen as unoriginal or of bad quality. However, a chain restaurant doesn’t necessarily mean fast-food chains or cheap ingredients. A chain is simply a restaurant that did well and expanded. 

And when we consider all the delicious food you’ll find in NYC, it’s no wonder that some of the restaurants were able to take off outside the Big Apple. 

Below are our top 4 choices of chain restaurants that got their start in NYC and have now expanded to various boroughs, states, or even around the world. See which ones you’ve already tried and which ones need to be added to your list. 

Successful Chain Restaurants That Started in NYC:

1. Mighty Quinn’s 

Even if BBQ is known more as a Southern dish, Mighty Quinn’s has proven that the East Coast can offer some fabulous competition! 

Chains are known to have streamlined their food preparation process, providing maximum value for their customer (and their bottom line). This is more easily accomplished with traditional chain cuisines, such as pizza and burgers. 

Mighty Quinn’s steps up by exporting its intricate process of smoking ribs and brisket from the grill to each location, with no decrease in quality. Now, you can find Mighty Quinn’s across four states in the United States and even Dubai. 

Wanting to try Mighty Quinn’s for yourself? Check the food menu prices and head on over for your own plate of comfort food. 

Check out this video to get a glimpse of Mighty Quinn:

2. Shake Shack

Shake Shack is the quintessential New York City restaurant chain. Its roots were very humble, beginning as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park, it expanded to a stand inside the park and began serving hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, custards, and milkshakes. 

It grew at lightning speed, becoming a publicly traded company in 2014 that has spread to locations all around the world. Although nominally named for its desserts, Shake Shack is primarily known for its Shack Burger, which remains the reason for long lines during its initial skyrocketing rise in popularity at its original Madison Square Park location. 

But do not sleep on the shakes; there is a constant rotation of flavors, which makes it vital to make periodic visits to try the newest concoctions. Besides classic chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter, the current rotation includes creative gems like the Cookie Shake, OREO Funnel Cake Shake, and Chocolate Churro Shake.

Check out this review of Shake Shack:

3. Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole is a gourmet, family-owned New York City restaurant that opened its saloon doors 50 years ago, in 1972, and is New York City’s take on the American, old western country vibe. 

Jackson Hole offers huge portions, even a 16oz burger! There are four locations: Astoria, UES, Murray Hill, and Englewood, NJ, so it is a fresh and classic New York establishment. Make sure to try it when you’re near a location. 

Check out this review of  Jackson Hole in Manhattan:

4. Artichoke Basille’s Pizza

It would not be a New York list without pizza. But Artichoke is not your typical pizza place. 

Founded by two cousins and fourth-generation restauranteurs, Francis and Sal, Artichoke may sell classic flavors like Margherita and vodka, but they are famous for their massive Artichoke slice. This includes: 

    • Artichoke hearts
    • Spinach cream sauce
    • Mozzarella, and
    • Pecorino Romano cheese

This unique—and heavy—slice is a New York original. With eighteen locations nationwide, Artichoke has grown quickly since its beginnings in 2008 on the Lower East Side and continues to expand

Here’s a great clip that explains what’s so special about Artichoke Basille’s Pizza:

Try These Chains for Yourself!

Whether you head to Manhattan for Jackson Hole burgers or enjoy Mighty Quinn’s when you’re in Dubai, you can enjoy knowing you’re munching on some favorite dishes of NYC. Try these classic chain options and see which is your favorite. 

Want to read more of our latest posts? check our review of this authentic Italian Bakery in Manhattan.