Kevin Clark really, really wanted a Meximelt. He longed for the seasoned ground beef, melted three cheese blend and fiesta salsa wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. He craved its melty goodness. The only problem – Kevin was living in Australia where alas, there are no Taco Bells.
So, Kevin thought outside the bun. He’d been corresponding with a friend in the states who’d asked Kevin what he missed the most. After describing his dilemma, he convinced the friend to mail him a Meximelt. Yes, you read that correctly; it was sent in the mail.
Unfortunately for him, it didn’t live up to the expectations his memory had built, and he was left rather disappointed. He admits he probably shouldn’t have eaten the taco, but credits youthful indiscretion for his bravery. Now chef/owner of the aptly named Atlanta eatery Home Grown (which prides itself on farm-to-table freshness), Kevin’s food philosophy has changed.
It’s a serious condition.
Chain envy has long affected residents of this fine country. The condition is mostly caused by the convenience of getting what we want, when we want it. The thought of not being able to have our favorite food can be terrifying.
Chain envy is usually brought on by a cross country move of some sorts. For example, a West Coast resident newly transplanted to the East Coast might suffer from chain envy upon realizing that In-and-Out Burger cannot be found east of Texas. Or, an East Coast resident might be alarmed to learn that they won’t (yet) be drinking Dunkin' Donuts coffee when visiting the West Coast.
The list of chains unavailable country-wide might surprise you. Some of the most missed include Zaxby’s, Krystal, White Castle, Chick-fil-A, Waffle House, Chuy's and Jack in the Box, among others.
Ignorance is bliss.
If you've never had a warm chicken biscuit from Chick-fil-A on a cold Georgia morning, you wouldn’t know what you’re missing and therefore are not affected by chain envy. The rest are probably plotting ways to either recreate this southern comfort, begging friends to bring you one, or making the two, three or four hour trek to get one yourself. Chain envy can be a serious problem. Thankfully, help is available and you do have options.
If you’re going to get someone to bring you a food item, make sure it’s transported properly. Separate items that need to be refrigerated or that wouldn’t travel well. For example, deconstruct your burger so the lettuce and tomato don’t make the buns soggy and ask for the sauce on the side for the same reason. Remove and refrigerate the patty and then reassemble the burger upon arrival. Most popular single-coast chains are used to requests like this and are happy to help pack your precious cargo.
You can also try making your own version. A simple Google search of your favorite chain restaurant item usually brings up at least one or two forums filled with like-minded people trying to figure out just how much Sriracha goes in zesty mayo. It can be fun to experiment with a group of friends who suffer your same predicament; you can even compete to see who gets the closest to the real thing.
Some food delivery services will go get your favorite North Carolina barbecue and bring it to your home in Tennessee for the right price. Just be sure to check the delivery fee before placing the order.
Chain envy does not always have to leave one in dire straits. While nothing is likely to replace your beloved chain, it’s always a good idea to explore new places. Who knows? You may even develop a brand new obsession.
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