Finding Outposts of Popular US Restaurants Abroad

by Anthony Losanno

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It’s no secret that McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway span the globe, but you might be surprised by some of these other restaurants that have opened up around the world. When I travel, I always want to eat local. This almost always means finding smaller restaurants and bistros tucked away from the city’s attractions and without pictures of food on menus (a dead giveaway that the restaurant is catering to tourists and will likely be overpriced and poor quality).

But, sometimes, you want a taste of home. A late night burger or to relive memories of a favorite restaurant that is no longer in the US (I’m looking at you, Spice Market). Here are some international locations of restaurants found in the US:

Shake Shack Istanbul

Shake Shack

This burger chain started out with a cart in NYC and has since moved to open over 400 Shake Shack locations around the world. We were surprised in 2013 when we turned a corner in Istanbul and found the familiar green burger logo. We had to stop in for a ShackBurger™. Since then we’ve found ourselves grabbing a late night snack in London as well as hitting up locations around the US. Did you know that the Chicago Athletic Association (which is part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt) offers Shake Shack delivered to your room?

Spice Market

Spice Market

This restaurant used to be one of my NYC faves. It was huge and the food was so satisfying. Sadly it closed in 2016. Flavors of Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia make up this restaurant’s menu. I was surprised when I was in Punta de Mita and found that the W Hotel there had a sister Spice Market location. The experience was almost as good as the original and it’s nice to know that Spice Market lives on in Mexico.



This chain of casual diners that dish up American classics has long been a staple of roadtrippers and college kids looking for late night eats to take the edge off of a night of partying. But, did you know that Denny’s has expanded outside of the US? There are over 100 locations that are not on US soil including Chile, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, the United Kingdom, and most exotically, New Zealand (eight are open there).



I love the food at Yardbird and just dined at one last weekend in Miami (review here). While we were in Singapore a few years ago, we were surprised (and delighted) to find one in the Marina Bay Sands. The Crispy Chicken Biscuits are my fave and were welcomed after days of delicious crab rice and hitting up hawker centers (which are excellent, but I was ready for some variety).



The first Hardee’s opened in North Carolina in the 1960s. The fast food chain operates over 3,700 restaurants in 30 countries. Most interestingly, the international expansion took off in the Middle East back in 1981 with a location opened in Kuwait. There are now 330 Hardee’s operated in the Middle East and Africa. In these mostly Muslim countries, Hardee’s does not serve bacon or pork to adhere to religious guidelines.



In 1994, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Robert De Niro opened the first Nobu in Tribeca. There are now locations across four continents including Cape Town, Dubai, Hong Kong, Sydney, and more. A little closer to home, well a lot, there is one two blocks from my home in Chicago. It’s a chain, but I love the black cod with miso.

Anthony’s Take: While I will always prefer the local, individually owned restaurants around the world, there is something in the familiar. Sometimes, only a favorite burger will do and that is where these tastes of home fill the bill.

Anthony’s Credit Card Pick: When I’m dining out, I want to maximize my points earned. My card of choice for restaurants and food delivery is the American Express® Gold Card. With it, I earn four Membership Rewards® Points for each dollar spent at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases). It also includes up to $120 annual credit (up to $10 per month given in statement credits) for Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly,, Milk Bar, and Shake Shack. Plus, up to another $120 annually (up to $10 per month) in Uber Cash that I can use for Uber Eats. When I’m hungry, this is the card I choose. (Terms apply and enrollment required for select benefits.) Learn more.

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gopackjo March 1, 2023 - 3:01 pm

The most audacious one that I’ve run into was in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. My dad & I were wrapping up a long trip on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and were shocked to find BD’s Mongolian Grill as the only US restaurant chain in town. This despite the fact that the whole Mongolian Grill concept was invented out of thin air by a Taiwanese marketer, and has nothing to do with actual Mongolian cuisine. And, yes… We went there. Haha.

Frankfurt Airport Lufthansa
Anthony Losanno March 1, 2023 - 8:11 pm

That’s funny


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