Restaurant & Fast Food Chains that started in Florida

If you haven’t been to one of these native Florida Restaurants, be sure to try them!

Florida is home to some great innovators and entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered a list of some of the top fast food and quick service restaurants that started right here in the Sunshine State.

Pollo Tropical

Founded in Miami Florida in 1988, offering unique tropical flavors with caribbean cuisine, Pollo Tropical has quickly grown with locations throughout Florida. Floridians and tourists appreciate the caribbean flair and healthy alternatives to traditional fast food.


Burger King

Most people don’t know that Florida is where Burger King got started. The 1st Burger King was opened in Jacksonville Florida in 1953, originally called Insta-Burger. Burger King calls Florida home with it’s headquarters in Miami.



Hooters has a fun founding story of 6 Clearwater businessmen who bought a rundown nightclub location and incorporated the business on April fools day. They opened the first Hooters Restaurant in October 1983 at the Clearwater location and the rest is history.


Tijuana Flats

Started in 1995 by Brian Wheeler, a UCF grad who had an idea and passion but no experience! He opened the first Tijuana Flats in Winter Park Florida in 1995 and proved that passion and concept is worth more than experience by growing to over 100 restaurants with the majority of them throughout Florida.


Maple Street

One of the newer chains created in Florida, Maple Street opened in Jacksonville on Nov 8, 2012 with the intention of servicing the community by creating a culture and building a community with comfort food and gracious service. Delicious homemade style food in a homey environment.


4 Rivers

4 Rivers was founded by John Rivers with the launch of the “Barbecue Ministry” in 2004. With his passion for supporting local schools, churches and charitable organizations, this “Barbeque Ministry” grew. Parents in the Orlando area learned of 4 Rivers through community and school events and became hooked! With a loyal community of patrons, 4 Rivers is expanding now with more then 10 locations across Florida.


About the author

Patti Jewel

Content Marketing Expert and owner of a content focused digital agency. Patti is also a life-long Florida resident, beach lover, nature lover, who is always looking for the positive things to focus on in Florida.