What’s It Gonna Be, Checkers or Rally’s?

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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.

What do Checkers and Rally’s have to do with each other? Let’s jump into their history!

Rally's in Terre Haute, Indiana
I spotted a Rally’s in Terre Haute, Indiana, during my 2022 road trip

Checkers & 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.

Over the years, Checkers and Rally’s have continued to grow and are best known for the “Big Buford” and “Checkerburger.” They also offer seasoned fries (another signature item) and various milkshake flavors, including banana, my favorite.

Checkers in South Florida

I last remember seeing a Rally’s in South Florida in the late 1990s. The seasoned fries are an absolute must-have; now they’ve introduced fry seasoned chicken tenders.

I don’t think they taste like the seasoned fries, but I have learned to enjoy them. Now, the fry lover’s double cheeseburger is craveable and something you should consider ordering.

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

A banana shake and a fried apple pie were my standard dessert choices until the pies were retired from the menu. Now, a lonely banana shake will have to do.

Checkers Vanilla Shake & Fried Apple Pie
Vanilla Shake & the now-retired Fried Apple Pie

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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