I could not chain myself to one coffee shop since there are so many options out there. Nor could I chain myself to one craft beer, as again there is so much I would be missing out on. When it comes to fast food, however, give me the handcuffs and throw away the key. In-N-Out and Jimmy John’s are all I need.
I have written extensively about In-N-Out, so as an exercise I will sum up in one sentence why it’s the best fast food chain in the world. A burger that consistently melts in your mouth and lightens your mood while keeping your wallet heavy. For under $10, you can get a double-double, milkshake and fries. I love the burger’s modesty. With thin patties, it does not try to be a gourmet burger but with grilled onions, it is sure tasty. This separates it from places like Five Guys, who use thicker patties in an attempt to up their burger game, but really just end up serving an $8 pile of overcooked, dry meat. Likewise, their shakes are also modest: vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. No Oreo or Reese’s Peanut Butter shakes, but a shake that is hard to put down once the first drop hits your tongue. But this is not why I would chain myself to In-N-Out, let alone throw away they key. It is the costumer service that makes the commitment worthwhile. No matter how crowded it is, the servers somehow manage to be genuine and friendly to every costumer. What more, the food is prepared freaky fast considering the lack of freezers and microwaves in the restaurant.
Jimmy John’s is nowhere near as good as In-N-Out, but within it’s niche of cheap subs, it is perfection. My willingness to commit to a life of Jimmy John’s servitude stems again from outstanding costumer service. Walking into a Jimmy John’s, one is greeted by friendly subristas (like a barista but who makes subs) and a welcoming environment. From start to finish, it takes no longer than a minute for them to prepare your sandwich, and while the final product may not impress Anthony Bourdain, it is made with love. On top of this, their claim of “Freaky Fast Delivery” is warranted, never taking more than 10 minutes for a sub to arrive at your door. So next time you are in the midwest, and are at a lost for what to eat, try Jimmy John’s. It may not be a meal worth writing home about, but it will be meal that satisfies the soul.
So here I am, chained without a key to these two chains and perfectly content. This does not mean, however, that a chain-cutter is out of the question. The reason I discovered In-N-Out and Jimmy John’s was my willingness to break out of the I-Only-Eat-Gourmet-Food prison. So if a better option for cheap burgers and subs arrives, by all means send me some chain-cutters but until then, this inmate is staying in prison.