We Ranked the 10 Best Restaurants in the Mall Food Court

Whether you are at the mall on a mission to hit massive sales or walking the stores just to kill a few hours, you can always count on the food court to fill you up with your favorite foods from places such as Chick-fil-A or Sbarro.

As a longtime hang out, the mall food court has been the spot to rest and recharge since the 70’s. In fact, the food court at the Paramus Park shopping mall in Paramus, New Jersey is noted as the first mall food court.

So which restaurant reigns supreme in the mall food court?

10. Panda Express

Sweet and sour comfort, right at your fingertips. #PekingPork

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Opened in 1983 at the Glendale Galleria in Glendale California, Panda Express was destined to become a staple at mall food courts across the country. Created by the Cherng family, Panda Express is at the forefront of sharing Asian cuisine to hungry customers.

Whether you are hungry or not, you can’t pass up a free sample of their orange chicken.

9. Orange Julius

I know of people that go to the mall just to get an Orange Julius. As the original orange juice bar, Orange Julius got it’s start all the way back in 1926 by a man named Julius Freed. He created a frothy orange drink which was ordered: “Give me an orange, Julius”. The name stuck and so did the recipe.

Since 1987, Orange Julius has been a subsidiary of Dairy Queen, meaning that you can get your Dilly Bars and Orange Julius in the same place.

8. Arby’s

Back in 1964, Leroy and Forrest Raffel opened a sandwich shop in Boardman, Ohio to offer customers an alternative to burgers.

Today, over fifty years later, Arby’s still offers the same roast beef sandwiches along with brisket, corned beef and angus steak. And let’s not forget their unique curly fries.

7. Steak ‘n Shake

When all else fails… CHEESE!

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If you love classic burgers and fries, Steak n’ Shake is the place for you. Created by Gus Belt in 1934, Steak n’ Shake prides itself on its steakburgers and hand-dipped milkshakes.

Make sure to try out their double-cheese burger along with a side-by-side shake. You’ll thank us!

6. Dairy Queen 

Home of the infamous Blizzard ice cream treat, Dairy Queen has been feeding families since the ’40s. Now you can find Dairy Queen in over 18 different countries around the world.

DQ isn’t only for ice cream. Currently the chain offers $5 and $6 dollar lunch combos alongside their frozen treats.

5. Cinnabon

It sure does 😉 [📷 @ebonymi]

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You know there’s a Cinnabon nearby when all you can smell is cinnamon and freshly baked dough. First opened in the SeaTac Mall in Seattle in 1985, Cinnabon is known for spreading cheer via its delicious cinnamon rolls.

Grab a Classic Roll or perhaps just the Center of the Roll. And don’t forget to order a Chillatta to take with you while browsing the shops.

4. Subway

Did you know that the first subway shop was actually opened to help pay for tuition to medical school? Yes! Fred DeLuca partnered with friend Dr. Peter Buck in Bridgeport, Connecticut as a way to pay off his tuition. They had no idea it would turn into the mega brand it is today.

With their signature baked bread scent, Subway currently holds over 44,000 locations around the world, many located in mall food courts.

3. Sbarro

Pizza and food courts go together like a shopping cart in a grocery store. It just makes sense! Sbarro, created in Brooklyn in 1956, brought us the XL NY slice and we are thankful. Found in over 28 different countries, the pizza giant is a staple in the mall food court.

Looking for something other than pizza? Sbarro makes some killer stromboli you have to try to believe.

2. Auntie Anne’s 

Snack on. 🤘

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Created in 1988 by “Auntie” Anne and Jonas Beiler in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels are a staple of mall food. Portable and handy, these homemade pretzels are found across the world.

From sweet snacks like the Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Stix to savory meals of the pretzel dogs, this pretzel shop goes hand-in-hand with every mall food court.

1. Chick-fil-A

The moment when your morning gets a whole lot better ☀️

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We’ve finally made it to number one and it’s none other than Chick-fil-A. Created by Truett Cathy in Atlanta, Georgia in 1946, Chick-fil-A got its start as a small diner named, The Dwarf Grill. After initial success, Chick-fil-A opened it’s first store in Atlanta’s Greenbriar Shopping Center.

Today Chick-fil-A is located in 46 states and the District of Colombia. It’s no doubt why this chicken empire is at the top of our list and in our tummies.
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