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Top 10 fast food restaurants ideal for stress eating

<p>Ben Rosenthal is a Top 10 Writer for The Cavalier Daily.</p>

Ben Rosenthal is a Top 10 Writer for The Cavalier Daily.

1. Arby’s

Not even the giant page of coupons that somehow found its way into my mailbox makes me tempted to grab a fast food roast beef sandwich. Since I am clearly not alone in this opinion, the lines are incredibly fast. The curly fries and milkshakes are always solid, and the sandwiches actually taste okay if you close your eyes while eating them. 

2. Cook Out

An absolute titan. The cheap prices, diverse menu options and overall grimy ambiance of Cook Out make it nearly impossible to beat when it comes to college stress eating. I mostly go for the milkshakes —their peanut butter Oreo flavor is more important to me than 90 percent of my worldly possessions — but everything is done well enough. Bonus points for the sheer sense of community felt in the parking lot Friday nights. 

3. McDonald’s

The classic. McDonald’s isn’t fun or sexy, but it is over-hated. Do the hamburgers taste like hamburgers? No. But whatever it is supposed to taste like is still good. The fries are the best in the business, the ice cream is fantastic — when available — and the McRib is the most utterly entrancing fast food invention of our time. The McRib is a limited menu option that nobody actually wants, yet McDonald’s keeps on pretending we should care. And we all just play along. 

4. Wendy’s

Sometimes I completely forget that Wendy’s exists until I drive by it and remember, “Oh, that’s actually pretty good.” The fries are controversial yet brave, and the sea salt works for me. The Frosty is an improvement upon the McDonald’s milkshake, and the spicy nuggets put McNuggets to shame. I think the Wendy’s marketing team is at fault here, because there is no reason food-wise Wendy’s shouldn’t be more popular. 

5. Popeyes

I once made the mistake of entering the drive-thru line of the Emmet St. Popeyes at 1:15 p.m. It was about 10 cars deep. By the time I gave up and left 20 minutes later, my car had not moved an inch. I can only assume the cashier died mid-shift, because no restaurant with a living employee could possibly take that long to serve one car. I will never go back to find out, which is a shame, because the spicy chicken strip basket is delicious. 

6. Raising Cane's / Zaxby’s

I am going to be controversial here and say … any difference you think you notice between these two places is purely a figment of your imagination. Cane’s gives you better portions of chicken, but Zaxby’s has the slight edge on fries. Everything else is so marginally different that it doesn’t even make sense to make two separate blurbs for them. Don’t get me wrong because I love them both. But I’m tired of arguing over which one of these neighboring chicken franchises is better when the real answer is five miles up the road.

7. Bojangles

The underrated champion of Charlottesville fried chicken drive-thru options. If it were a few miles closer, it would be the undisputed winner. The fact that it is five miles away hurts my soul. The chicken is crisp, the fries have something called seasoning — take note, Cane’s — and a buttered biscuit is better than a limp piece of toast every day of the week. Truthfully, the saddest thing about not being able to attend football games last semester was not being able to visit the Bojangles cart at half time. 

8. Pizza Hut

I expect hate mail for this one. The karaoke at the W. Main St. Pizza Hut on Thursday nights sounds better than the pizza tastes, and that is not an endorsement of the quality of the singers. People always tell me that there is no such thing as bad pizza — pizza is pizza, so it’s all good! If you actually hold this philosophy, you need to grow up and try a raw vegetable because you are clearly 14. Pizza is not immune from being poorly-made, and Pizza Hut has been proving that since 1958. 

9. Taco Bell

Full disclosure — I have not eaten at Taco Bell in 10 years. It is just not for me. However, I will not let my bias get in the way of recognizing how good of a deal Taco Bell can be. You can practically gain money by eating there if I’m doing my math right. While there are definitely better authentic Mexican restaurants in the area, Taco Bell gains points for not being the Barracks Road Shopping Center Chipotle. 

10. Barracks Road Shopping Center Chipotle

If there is a Hell on earth, it is the Barracks Road Shopping Center Chipotle. Nothing good has ever happened here. Nothing good ever will. If you order online for 1:30 p.m. then your food will not be ready until 3 p.m.  And when your food is ready, it is the entirely wrong order. I received a $25 gift card for Chipotle in the fall, and I gave it away for free to avoid having to use it here. Stay away. Stay away. Stay. Away.