Checkers or Rally’s Hamburgers? Which One?

Wow, Checkers, where do I start? I’ve never been a big fan of Checkers, but back in the day, I was a giant Rally’s fan.

Checkers Drive-thru Menu
Drive-thru Menu

I could never resist going through the double drive-thru for a chili dog, fries, or a fried apple pie.

What do Checkers and Rally’s have to do with each other? We can jump into their history below, but first, let’s talk about the food!

Rally's in Terre Haute, Indiana
I spotted a Rally’s in Terre Haute, Indiana, during my 2022 Road Food Trip

Bacon Pepper Jack Buford

Checkers Bacon Pepper Jack Buford
Checkers Bacon Pepper Jack Buford

After watching my bud, The Endorsement, rave about the new Checkers burger, the Bacon Pepper Jack Buford, I knew I had to give it a try. I don’t try every special they release, but he really sold it to me. You can watch the video and see for yourself.

The Endorsement tired the Bacon Pepper Jack Buford

The Checkers Bacon Pepper Jack Buford has two hand-seasoned patties topped with Pepper Jack cheese, two slices of bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, Sweet & Smoky BBQ sauce, mayo and chopped up bacon bits. The burger will set you back $5.99.

I asked for the removal of lettuce and tomato, but that didn’t happen, which meant I would have to touch the offensive items. After reassembling the sandwich, it looks pretty good as long as we ignore the lightly melted cheese slices.

Checkers Bacon Pepper Jack Buford with Lettuce and Tomato removed
Reassembled Checkers Bacon Pepper Jack Buford

The burger patties, while properly seasoned, were warm, not hot. It explains why the cheese did not melt all the way.

They went light on the BBQ sauce and mayo, which is a shame. The idea for a really great burger is there, but the Bacon Pepper Jack Buford execution left a lot to be desired.

If you’ve got a great Checkers or Rally’s Hamburgers near you, I’m pretty sure that you’re going to fare better.

Fry Seasoned Chicken Tenders

The seasoned fries are an absolute must-have; I’m sure that you’re well aware of that. To capitalize on their popularity, Fry-Seasoned Chicken Tenders have found their way onto the menu.

They don’t taste like their famous seasoned fries, but I enjoy them. And the honey mustard is the perfect dipping sauce for these beauties.

Fry Lover’s Double Cheeseburger

Checkers Fry Lovers Double Burger
Checkers Fry Lover’s Double Burger with Cheese

The Fry Lover’s Double Cheeseburger is craveable and something you should consider ordering. We’re talking about two hand-seasoned patties topped with a handful of their Famous Seasoned Fries, American cheese, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayo.

If I’m choosing one burger on the menu to eat, it’s this baby.

Checkers in South Florida

Over the years, Checkers and Rally’s have continued to grow and are best known for the “Big Buford” and “Checkerburger.”

Checkers Checkerburger

The Famous Seasoned Fries and various milkshake flavors… banana is my favorite.

The chili dog is my guilty pleasure. I skip the cheese and enjoy this fella with only chili, diced red onions, and yellow mustard.

Checkers Chili Dog
Chili Dog

The chili is sweet, so if you’ve got some hot sauce near you, a few drops will make it better.

Cinnamon Fried Apple Pies

Checkers Apple Pie Ad
Checkers Cinnamon Apple Pie ad

The apple pie turnover has a crispy exterior filled with sweet apples, all covered in a blend of cinnamon and sugar.

The fried Cinnamon Apple Pie was my standard dessert choice until the pies were retired from the menu.

Checkers Vanilla Shake and Fried Cinnamon Apple Pie
Vanilla Shake and Fried Cinnamon Apple Pie

Luckily, they’ve come to their senses, and at the end of 2023, the fried pies returned to the menu nationwide.

Checkers and Rally’s History

Checkers was founded in 1986 by Jim Mattei and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. The original concept was to provide a double drive-thru with a limited menu, offering customers quick service and quality food.

In 1999, Checkers merged with another fast-food chain called Rally’s, founded in 1985. The two brands maintained their separate names but became sister companies under the umbrella of Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc.

Checkers/Rally's Story -  Kentucky New Era March 27th, 1997
Checkers/Rally’s story – Kentucky New Era March 27th, 1997

The merger with Rally’s allowed Checkers to expand its reach significantly. Both brands shared similar menu items, such as burgers, hot dogs, fries, and milkshakes, emphasizing affordable, fast food.

The last time I remember seeing a Rally’s Hamburgers in South Florida was in the late 1990s.

Apple Chicken Nuggets?

Let me leave you with an amusing story about my bud Ed; many years ago, Checkers had Apple Nuggets as a dessert.

We were at the drive-thru, and I asked Ed if he wanted Apple Nuggets, and his reply was: “Apples with chicken? That’s disgusting!”

Whoever said anything about chicken?

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