The 14 Most Interesting Fast Food Locations In The World

A great part of the appeal of fast food is the fact that our favorite burgers, tacos, or coffee-based drinks are pretty much guaranteed to taste alike, no matter where we are in the world. The same can be said about restaurant locations, which are built and designed to look and feel similar around the globe: think of Starbucks and its cozy couches or the unmistakable McDonald's golden arches beckoning from a distance, no matter how far you are from home.

However, there are some very fun and quirky fast food locations to be found around the world that buck the trend of conventional, chain-styled establishments. Whether designed specifically to become destinations in and of themselves or taking up residence in a culturally significant building, these interesting fast food locations are one of a kind. At these spots, your fries will taste just the way you expect them to, but they may be served in a historic building in Baku or under a roller coaster in Canada. Here are some of our favorite locations around the world.

Starbucks Container Store, Hualien City, Taiwan

This eye-catching Starbucks location is the first one made with recycled shipping containers in the Asia Pacific region. It opened in the fall of 2018 at the still-unopened Hualien Bay Mall, featuring a Starbucks drive-thru and cozy seating areas. The store is two stories tall and is composed of 29 used shipping containers as part of Starbucks's Greener Stores initiative, which aims to design and operate sustainable locations worldwide.

The store was designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who (per Design Stories) has led such impressive projects as the Hans Christian Museum in Denmark, and who also designed the Starbucks Fukuoka store and the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in his home country. For this particular Starbucks location, Kengo turned to traditional Chinese structures and coffee trees for inspiration, and it was his first time using shipping containers for a design. Inside, guests can admire a bright mural representing the aboriginal Amis people of Hualien, and from one end of the container, they can enjoy the sight of the mountain range.

In N Out Original Replica, Baldwin, CA

A must-visit for all In N Out devotees, this California location has an unbeatable neighbor: a replica of the chain's first tiny outpost. The adorable fake restaurant works as a museum that you can visit from Thursday to Sunday from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, according to We Like LA. Fans, however, will feel like they've entered a shrine to the burger joint that started it all in 1948, as they see the signage with the original menu and prices (cheeseburgers were 30 cents each!), as well as retro items like a fridge, a fryer, vintage soda bottles, and a cigarette machine that will make them travel back in time.

Right next door, you will find the In N Out University, where entry-level managers are trained, plus a company store where you can stock up on T-shirts, aprons, hats, and more cool merch. And across the freeway, there is a regular In N Out because, surely, all this culture will have left you hungry.

Burger King at House of Frankenstein, Niagara Falls

Sure, Niagara Falls are an impressive natural wonder: three massive waterfalls located right at the border between Ontario and the State of New York. But there's another major reason to visit this tourist site. Have you heard about the Burger King with a rollercoaster on top? That's right. Clifton Hill, Ontario, hosts one of the Whopper's most unique homes. This restaurant is attached to the House of Frankenstein, a haunted house-style attraction that boasts its own rooftop rollercoaster (the only one in Canada), the Frank'N Coaster. Next door, you'll find Ripley's Believe it or Not, the quirky museum dedicated to humanity's most unbelievable feats. Sounds fitting, right?

This fantastic Burger King outpost is only a 30-minute drive from Buffalo, New York, and if you have any trouble finding it, look for the big Frankenstein taking a bite off a Whopper. He'll show you the way.

McDonald's Giant Happy Meal, Dallas
, TX

As kids, we all begged our parents to take us to McDonald's for one reason: the Happy Meal (some of us still love it as adults). Burger, fries, and a toy make for an unbeatable combo, so it's only natural that the iconic meal inspired the team behind this Dallas location to turn a regular old Mickey D's into a giant Happy Meal. Although it was remodeled in 2018 and now has a pretty modern and sober exterior, its glory days are worth remembering.

From the outside, diners could admire a giant Happy Meal box decorated with classic McDonald's characters, like Ronald McDonald and Birdie the Early Bird, as well as a giant Big Mac and fries. Inside, it had a huge Playplace where kids could hang out for hours while their parents lounged in mahogany booths and gazed at Ralph Lauren wallpaper, perhaps even forgetting where they were for a moment.

KFC under a Soviet sculpture, Minsk

The Republic of Belarus gained independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991. The country had been part of the Russian empire since the 18th century (with a brief declaration of independence in 1918). It was also occupied by the Nazis for a time, only to be retaken by Stalin in 1944, according to the State Department's Office of the Historian website.

During World War II, the city of Minsk suffered great damage, so when it was rebuilt, it was named a Hero City, says Atlas Oscura, and graced with grand avenues and ornate sculptures, like the one that sits above this particular KFC. Called "Solidarity," it was created in the 60s and designed by sculptor Anatol Yafimovich Arcimovich. It's an example of Socialist Realism, showing imposing figures walking proudly together.

KFC arrived in the country in 2015, so this location, near other iconic sites like the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre, presents a fascinating contrast between the country's past and present.

Starbucks in a Japanese townhouse, Kyoto

A traditional teal-colored noren marks the entrance to what many people say may be the world's loveliest Starbucks (via CNN). It sits in the heart of Kyoto's Higashiyama district, one of the city's best-preserved historic areas, a hilly neighborhood lined with restaurants, cafes, and old-school shops selling all sorts of crafts. And while a modern Starbucks would most definitely stand out (and not in the best way) in these streets, the home of this one is a 100-year-old wooden townhouse with a tiled roof and no signs except for the familiar mermaid logo on the aforementioned noren.

Inside this three-story house, you will find silk cushions made with kimono fabric from the Tango region or tatami mats (you will be required to take your shoes off to sit on these), as well as regular chairs and tables. The decor boasts hanging scrolls, sleek wooden details, and a beautiful zen garden on the ground floor, where you can slow down and contemplate for a few minutes.

KFC in Sabunchu Station, Baku

After opening its first outpost in 1952 in Salt Lake City, Utah, KFC has surely made its way around the world, now operating in 145 countries, according to YUM Brands. Yet the largest location — and perhaps the most impressive one — is quite far from home: in Azerbaijan, to be exact. The capital city of Baku is home to Sabunchu Station, designed by architect N.H. Bayev. According to GPS My City, the station's first building dates from the late 19th century and was built in the Moorish Revival style to connect Baku with Tbilisi. The second complex, which now houses the fried chicken joint, came later and was built to serve the electrified railway system. This second complex also boasts a stunning Moorish Revival style, with massive columns and high ceilings.

The station has been renewed twice, in 1977 and 2017. In fact, KFC is said to have invested €3 million euros in saving the site and converting it into a restaurant, making it one of the largest KFCs in the world. Today, it is, indeed, the largest of Colonel Sanders' outlets in the world, with enough space for 300 hungry diners.

Burger King with Sauna, Helsinki

Saunas are a huge part of the culture in Finland. Historically, they were the most common way to bathe during the cold winter, and nowadays, they are not just a way to relax but to socialize, as well. Traditional saunas are heated using wood, which is burned in a stove with or without a chimney, so when the wood burns down, the embers heat the room to various high degrees of temperature (via Healthline). There, you and your pals sit naked, sweat, and chat for a while. When you're done, you refresh yourselves in cold water, be it the ocean, the snow, or, well, a cold shower.

According to This is Finland, there are around three million saunas in the country, and we bet there's not one as delicious as the sauna that sits in a Burger King in downtown Helsinki. This self-care Burger King features a 15-person sauna room where diners can relax, making it the perfect spot for a group hangout. The sauna features a bathroom, a dressing room, and even a media lounge with a TV and a PlayStation 4. And, of course, you can order a burger if you get hungry during the steam.

Subway at the True Bethel Baptist Church, Buffalo, NY

Getting lunch at Subway is part of daily life for millions of people, so it's no wonder that the sandwich shop has locations around the most heavily transited streets and shopping areas around the world. But have you heard about the one in a church? This Subway location in Buffalo, New York, was, in fact, opened in the very same building as True Bethel Baptist Church. But far from being a gimmick, the church itself decided to open and operate the restaurant as a means to employ the neighborhood's residents.

The sub joint was even featured in an episode of the show "Undercover Boss" back in 2014, says Acton Institute, in which Don Fertman, the chain's Chief Development Officer, visited this location and spoke to the head pastor, Reverend Darius Pridgen. The pastor explained that when he first arrived in the neighborhood, he saw high crime rates and low opportunities, so he figured it was necessary to give people jobs but also proper training. The church's Subway location offers all this and a full selection of signature sandwiches.

McDonald's Airplane, Taupo

New Zealand's North Island holds a myriad of treasures, like the glittering Lake Taupo, lush forests, and the Tongariro National Park. It is also home to one of the 10 coolest McDonald's in the world, and frankly, we can't help but agree. This burger joint is located in a 20-seat airplane, a Douglas DC-3 that was built in 1943. It worked as a passenger plane, then as a crop duster, and stopped operating in 1984. When its career ended, says Atlas Oscura, it was placed in the parking lot of Taupo's Aeroplane Car Company as a promotional feature. Six years later, this location was transformed into a McDonald's franchise – the airplane and all.

While you will find your familiar McDonald's building, you can choose to feast on your McNuggets inside the plane and even check out the original cockpit, which is protected with a screen. You'll also find a timeline with the aircraft's history and the pilots who once flew it. 

Pizza Hut & KFC by the Pyramids, Giza

The Pyramids of Giza are part of many a bucket list, and with good reason. These three magnificent tombs were built around 4,500 years ago and are symbols of Egypt's Old Kingdom. According to National Geographic, the first pyramid project was started around 2550 B.C. by Pharaoh Khufu, and his Great Pyramid is the largest, at 481 feet above the plateau. His son, Pharaoh Khafre, was in charge of the second pyramid circa 2520, and his Necropolis also included the spectacular Sphinx. Pharaoh Menkaure built the third and smallest pyramid circa 2490 B.C.

This fantastic complex also features a palace and temples that still puzzles scientists and engineers today. How could the ancient Egyptians build such monumental tombs with the technology of the day? It's no wonder that we are fascinated by these relics, which welcome more than 14 million people each year. Many of these travelers are surprised to learn that the archaeological site is quite close to Cairo's urban landscape, so much so that there is a KFC/Pizza Hut duo right outside the Necropolis. Who would have thought buying fried chicken and heading to the rooftop would grant unbeatable views of these historic marvels?

McDonald's with Glass Dome, Batumi

Georgia's port city of Batumi is the second largest in the country, famous for its beautiful botanical garden and waterfront views. Nearly a decade ago, it welcomed an unexpected new attraction: a spectacular McDonald's. Prestigious architect Giorgi Khmaladze, known for his futuristic projects, was the mastermind behind this stunning fast food spot, which looks more like a high-end boutique or a modern museum. The restaurant's exterior is covered with 460 glass panels, allowing patrons to dine and enjoy a view of the outside. 

And there is, in fact, plenty to admire, as a reflecting pool and a lush garden grace the outdoor area. The building is so beautiful that you might not even notice it also houses a gas station. This project earned Khmaladze and his team several awards, including the 2014 Archdaily Building of the Year in the Commercial Architecture Category and a Special Mention at Helsinki's Next Landmark awards.

Seaside Taco Bell, Pacifica, CA

Hailed as the world's most beautiful Taco Bell location, this taco joint stands right in front of the ocean in Pacifica, California. Not only does the restaurant offer gorgeous views of the beach and allow you to eat while listening to the sound of the crashing waves, but the building itself is quite pretty.

This Taco Bell location was redesigned in 2019 and transformed into a Taco Bell Cantina, says Insider, boasting a rustic wooden exterior, surfboard parking spaces, and even a cozy fire pit to keep patrons warm on those foggy Bay Area afternoons. Diners can also choose to eat in the outside seating area, enjoying the cool breeze and perhaps dodging a bird or two that might try to steal a bite of their food. Another highlight? This location sells alcohol, which means tacos can be paired with a frozen Cantina Margarita or Sangria. Beautiful, indeed.

Baskin-Robbins Brown, Seoul

One of Baskin-Robbins' main marketing highlights is the availability of 31 flavors; however, some lucky Korean fans have access to more options — 100, actually. The magic happens at Baskin-Robbins Brown in Seoul's Cheongdam-dong area. The shop is operated by SPC Group, which manages more than 2,000 ice cream and donut shops in South Korea, including Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin' Donuts, and the famous Paris Baguette.

SPC teamed up with Pentagram, a design studio, to launch Baskin-Robbins Brown, a concept store that takes the ice cream shop to the next level by offering a premium experience to the city's working professionals. Pentagram was in charge of developing the shop's visual idea and name, which brings up associations of chocolate and coffee.

At Baskin-Robbins Brown, ice cream fans can taste unique flavors like Green Tea Cookie and explore a new special flavor each month, as well as ice cream fondue platters and other beautifully presented desserts.