Chick-fil-A Expansion Reignites Unease Among Gay Rights Advocates

Some gay rights advocates are wary of the fast-food chains expansion plans.
ABCNews.com

Chick-fil-A plans to open about 100 restaurants this year, with a large number in New York City, but some gay rights advocates are wary of the popular fast-food chain's arrival.

"If we can't do it in New York, we have no business going anywhere else," Woody Faulk, Chick-fil-A's vice president of design and innovation, told USA Today.

Nathan Schaefer, executive director of nonprofit Empire State Pride Agenda, said he hopes Chick-fil-A's proposed presence in New York "illuminates for them how diversity and inclusion are necessary guiding principles to running a successful business.”

“Companies are increasingly realizing that LGBT inclusive practices and policies are not just on the right side of history, but also good for business," Schaefer said in a statement about "truly LGBT-friendly" companies.

Infographic: A Map of Regional Restaurants We Wish Would Expand

Schaefer is referring to 2012 statements by Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy in an article published on July 16 by the Baptist Press, a news services for the Southern Baptist Convention. "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy said. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."

The company reiterated at the time that it does not discriminate against gay employees or customers.

READ MORE: Chick-fil-A Benefited From Summer's Gay Marriage Flap With More Customer Visits

Chick-fil-A, founded in 1967, has nearly 1,800 restaurants in 39 states and Washington, D.C., the company says. The company only has one location in New York City: in a New York University dormitory.

A spokeswoman for Chick-fil-A, privately held and based in Atlanta, Ga., declined to comment further about its expansion plans, instead choosing to draw attention to its new menu items that include grilled chicken entrees after a $50 million investment and seven years of testing.

Here's more about Chick-fil-A and other regional restaurants that have amassed cult followings. They're listed alphabetically by the state in which they are headquartered, though many have locations in several locations.

Did we miss your favorite regional food establishment in the next pages? Let us know in the comments below.

California

PHOTO: In this file photo, an In-N-Out Burger is picture on Jun. 11, 2010 in Hollywood, Calif.
Adam Lau/AP Images

In-N-Out: With locations in the Southwest and West coast, its simple menu boasts of just "old-fashioned" burgers, fries and drinks.

Islands Fine Burgers and Drinks: "Offers a casual, tropical atmosphere featuring gourmet hamburgers, chicken, soft tacos, and fresh salads."

Colorado

Regional Restaurants You Wish Were Bigger National Chains
ABC News: Maayan Rosenzweig

Einstein Bros. Bagels: With roots in Florida, this "fresh" bagel shop has more than 770 locations throughout the country.

Infographic: A Map of Regional Restaurants We Wish Would Expand

Florida

Tijuana Flats: "Tex-Mex food served in a friendly and relaxing" environment.

Georgia

PHOTO: A man passes by a Chick-fil-A July 26, 2012 in Springfield, Va.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Chick-fil-A: The company with the tag-line, "EAT MOR CHIKIN," generated sales of $5 billion last year, up from $4.6 billion in 2012, the company says. The company announced this week the introduction of new menu items, including a Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich, and reinvented Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets.

Waffle House: About half of all U.S. states have a Waffle House where you can enjoy cheap, quick breakfast, lunch or dinner all day "under the yellow sign."

Infographic: A Map of Regional Restaurants We Wish Would Expand

Illinois

PHOTO: Giordanos Restaurant and Pizzeria in Chicago is seen here.
Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Giordano's: Chicago "famous stuffed pizza"

Iowa

PHOTO: Rick Santorum, former Senator of Pa., speaks to voters during a campaign stop at the Pizza Ranch in Manchester, Iowa, Aug. 9, 2011, during his presidential campaign.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Pizza Ranch: A particularly popular chain once every four years, because candidates regularly hold events at locations in Iowa, such as Richard John "Rick" Santorum, the candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Massachusetts

PHOTO: In this file photo, a Dunkin Donuts is pictured on Jul. 25, 2013 in New York City.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Dunkin' Donuts: "America's favorite every day, all-day stop for coffee and baked goods"

Read More: Woman Sues Dunkin' Donuts Over Hot Cider; A Look Behind Beverage Suit Tsunami

Minnesota

Buffalo Wild Wings: The first location was in Columbus, Ohio, in 1982, but the company is based in Minneapolis. Now you can enjoy wings, 20 sauces and beer at 1,000 restaurants across the country. Texas has the most locations with 89, followed by 85 in Ohio. Rhode Island is the only state that doesn't have a Buffalo Wild Wings, which will change when a location opens in Warwick in mid-March.

Dairy Queen: "Fan food, not fast food;" owned by billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Read More: Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett Reveals His Best Investment Ever

Famous Dave's: "Legendary pit bar-b-que"

Montana

Regional Restaurants You Wish Were Bigger National Chains
ABC News: Maayan Rosenzweig

Montana Ale Works: A "retro-industrial railroad freighthouse" was transformed in 2000 into possibly the most popular restaurant in Bozeman, Mont.

Sir Scott's Oasis Steak House and Lounge: In Manhattan, Mont., the restaurant says it serves the "finest steaks in the west."

Infographic: A Map of Regional Restaurants We Wish Would Expand

New York

PHOTO: Russ & Daughters, located in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, Sept. 19. 2013.
pchgorman/Flickr

Russ & Daughters Appetizers: Since 1914, this downtown landmark has served "the highest quality smoked fish, caviar and speciality foods." Fans of the smoked fish shop are anticipating its new restaurant opening nearby.

Ralph's Famous Italian Ices & Ice Cream: The name says it all; in New York and New Jersey.

Shake Shack: Shakes, custards and "purple cow" frozen desserts are a must-have. In the U.S., Shake Shack burgers are still made with Pat LaFrieda beef, except in Florida, where the locations use a local butcher, Bush Brothers, a spokesman said.

North Carolina

PHOTO: A Bojangles restaurant is shown in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2007.
Chuck Burton/AP Photo

Bojangles: "Famous chicken 'n biscuits"

Golden Corral: "Help yourself to happiness" at this buffet and grill

Infographic: A Map of Regional Restaurants We Wish Would Expand

Oklahoma

Regional Restaurants You Wish Were Bigger National Chains
ABC News: Maayan Rosenzweig

Sonic Drive-In: In 44 states, this chain manages to disappoint only the TV viewers who are subject to company commercials but aren't within reach of a Sonic location.

Ohio

PHOTO: President Barack Obama carries a to-go order as he exits a stop for lunch at Skyline Chili in Cincinnati, July 16, 2012.
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Skyline Chili: Want to know what "Cincinnati-style chili" is that's hawked by local sports teams? Try Skyline Chili. Even President Obama has visited.

Graeter's: The "world's most irresistible ice cream" is "fresh-packed"

White Castle: In the Midwest, South and Northeast, White Castle is "what you crave."

Infographic: A Map of Regional Restaurants We Wish Would Expand

Oregon

Regional Restaurants You Wish Were Bigger National Chains
ABC News: Maayan Rosenzweig

The Original Pancake House: "pancakes as you like them"

Pennsylvania

Regional Restaurants You Wish Were Bigger National Chains
ABC News: Maayan Rosenzweig

Eat'n Park: Smiley Cookies and family-owned

Quaker Steak & Lube: What started as a "Cook Your Own Steak" restaurant now serves 80 million wings a year.

Rita's Italian Ice: Water ice and frozen custard together are unstoppable.

Wawa: Yes, it's a convenience store, but those who know Wawa's deli rave about their sandwiches, coffee and other goodies.

Infographic: A Map of Regional Restaurants We Wish Would Expand

Tennessee

PHOTO: A Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Cracker Barrel: An "Old Country store" with a Southern themed restaurant

Texas

Regional Restaurants You Wish Were Bigger National Chains
ABC News: Maayan Rosenzweig

Chuy's Mexican Food: hand-rolled tortillas, salsa fresca made every hour...

Joe's Crab Shack: "America's favorite neighborhood seafood restaurant"

Pluckers Wing Bar: Locations in Louisiana and Texas; choose from over a dozen sauces and endless varieties of wings.

Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q: "Real Texas Barbecue served in a family-style dining atmosphere"

Whataburger: "Home of the bigger, better burger"

Infographic: A Map of Regional Restaurants We Wish Would Expand

Washington

Regional Restaurants You Wish Were Bigger National Chains
ABC News: Maayan Rosenzweig

Serious Pie: "A pizzeria with a bread baker's soul"

Infographic: A Map of Regional Restaurants We Wish Would Expand

Read More: GrubHub Seamless Cracks Down on Restaurants Accused of Gaming Their Online Menu System

Did we miss your favorite regional food establishment, or do you disagree with these picks? Let us know in the comments below and through Twitter: @ABC.

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