A fast food chain that started in New York is still going strong in the Empire State. Other states? Not so much.

Popular Fast-Food Joints

RDNE Stock project from Pexels
RDNE Stock project from Pexels

When time is tight and money is even tighter, Americans turn toward fast food to fuel up at a fraction of the cost. Some of the most popular haunts include Wendy's, McDonald's, Subway, Taco Bell, and KFC.

However, some joints are more popular than others. There are often main roads with more than five different restaurants on them, which leads to hungry motorists picking their favorite out of the bunch or, maybe, the one with the shortest line.

However, no matter what, it seems Americans are distancing themselves from a heritage chain that is actually the nation's first retail ice cream shop - and not a lot of people know why.

Eat This, Not That released its annual roundup of the most and least-popular chain restaurants in America. The survey looked into America's fast-food scene  and also included pizza and ice cream shops that, typically, aren't what people think of when fast-food is mentioned.

And making its way to the bottom of the barrel this year is none other than Carvel.

No Love for CookiePuss and Fudgie the Whale

June Marie /Flickr/Wikimedia Commons
June Marie /Flickr/Wikimedia Commons

Using national data and polls from various establishments, like YouGov, ETNT found there are only 50 fast-food chains that actually matter in Americans' eyes. Unfortunately, someone had to come in last place and that was sadly Carvel.

Said the outlet:

Just making the cut this year is Carvel, an ice cream shop perhaps best known by customers for its frozen cakes you can find in the grocery store. Carvel locations also serve multiple ice cream flavors in cones, sundaes, and more.

Coming just ahead of the franchise was Smoothie King in 49th place, followed by Shake Shack in 48th. Rounding out the bottom five in respective order was Carl's Jr., Fuddruckers, and Raising Cane's.

Read More: 4 Cities in New York Rank Among America's Best for Pizza

Ironically, it was another ice cream shop that was named America's favorite fast-food joint: Baskin-Robbins. More than 75 percent of those surveyed had a favorable view of the sweet shop.

Adding insult to injury for poor Carvel, its bitter rival Dairy Queen was named America's second-most loved fast food chain.

Some Carvel History

Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pexels
Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pexels

Carvel first set up shop in Hartsdale, New York, when founder Tom Carvel's ice cream truck broke down in 1934. Mr. Carvel continued selling his custard out of his truck and soon ran out of stock, thus giving him the idea that soft-serve ice cream can be sold in a brick-and-mortar location.

Thus the Carvel franchise was born and boomed all throughout the East Coast. Historians say this was the birth of America's first-ever ice cream company.

Despite growing up to nearly 900 store locations, Carvel has fallen into popularity and currently only has about 350 retail franchises left.

Here in New York, Carvel says there are roughly 200 locations left. Unfortunately for us in Central New York, they're mostly concentrated in the NYC/Long Island area of the state. However, there are two joins nearby, located in North Syracuse and Dewitt.

New York has the most Carvel stores by a long shot. The state with the second-highest number is New Jersey, with 48 locations. Florida follows with 29 stores and Connecticut boasts 21. The franchise is only found in 14 other states, which have four or less stores still in operation.

As someone who will eat a Carvel ice cream cake every year for her late-January birthday, I am disheartened by the news. Here's hoping Carvel can turn its luck around and win back America's heart in the great ice cream race.

HOT 99.1 logo
Get our free mobile app

13 Restaurants & Businesses That Closed in 2023

Retirement and consolidation are just some of the reasons we've lost several restaurants and businesses in Central New York in 2023.

Here are 13 locations that are no more.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

10 Cheap Restaurants With Great Food In Western New York

Want to save money this year? Western New York locals say these are the best restaurants in the Buffalo area that won’t break the bank.

Gallery Credit: Facebook/Yelp/Google Street View/Canva

More From HOT 99.1