A VERY HAPPY MEAL
RELAX IN A SAUNA AT BURGER KING
Eating one too many Whoppers can make you sweat, but if you'd rather be more intentional about it, Finland has the
Burger King for you. The restaurant includes a full sauna that can be rented out. It was originally installed by a previous tenant. When the building became a Burger King, the franchisee decided to incorporate the sauna into the restaurant's design. There are towels and robes emblazoned with the BK logo, a private dining area, refrigerators stocked with beer (it is Europe, after all), and even a PlayStation4.
LOOK DOWN ON AN ANCIENT ROMAN ROAD AT MCDONALD'S
It's a museum. It's a McDonald's. It's... both? Though Italian builders are accustomed to discovering ancient ruins, the story of this McDonald's construction might take the cake. A section of an old Roman road was discovered while the restaurant was being built, but instead of grousing about lost time and money, Ronald and company jumped in to sponsor the excavation. Today, customers can look down on the road through a glass floor, or visit through a separate entrance. Included in the exhibit: resin casts of three skeletons found in roadside gutters.
HEAR THE DEEP THOUGHTS OF A GIANT CHICKEN AT KFC
Marietta's KFC is a beloved landmark that locals refer to as "The Big Chicken." One look and you'll see why: The focal point of the exterior is a massive modernist chicken painted red with a yellow beak and cartoonish eyes that towers above the roof. An architectural remnant of a mom-and-pop chicken joint that opened in 1963 (and became a KFC in 1974), the chicken even has an AM radio station that broadcasts the bird's thoughts on this and that. Thanks to a recent renovation, the interior is equally cool, with a gift shop, craft soda machine, and windows into the kitchen.
SOAK UP OCEAN VIEWS FROM THE DECK OF A TACO BELL
Beachfront real estate usually comes at a premium, but that didn't stop Taco Bell from snapping up a restaurant with a pristine view on the Pacific coast. The wood-frame structure was built in the early 1960s as an A&W Root Beer stand and was converted to a Taco Bell about a decade later. It has a deck that overlooks the water and a walk-up window for surfers or swimmers who don't want to come inside. Sometime this year, the interior is set to be refurbished, as is the menu; you'll even be able to order some booze with your chalupa.
CLIMB ABOARD A VINTAGE LUXURY AIRPLANE AT MCDONALD'S
Taupo, New Zealand
If a Big Mac craving strikes while you're in New Zealand, satisfy it at a McDonald's that includes a decommissioned Douglas DC-3 plane. The plane, which seats 20, languished for nearly 25 years next to the restaurant, which purchased the site in 1990. The one-time passenger plane, built in 1943, came as part of the deal. Instead of getting rid of it, the restaurant owners decided to make it a dining area, even painting it with the McDonald's logo. Ask nicely and you may even get a special peek into the preserved cockpit.
ORDER A LATTE FROM A SHIPPING CONTAINER AT STARBUCKS
This Starbucks is certainly green, and we're not just talking about the chain's iconic logo. It's made out of four massive shipping containers, an homage to the shipyards visible from the company's nearby South Seattle headquarters. Rainwater runoff is collected to irrigate the store's landscaping, which was designed to require minimal watering. There's no interior seating, but customers in search of their coffee fix can use the drive-thru or head to a walk-up window and enjoy the patio.
ADMIRE ANCIENT PYRAMIDS FROM THE DECK OF A PIZZA HUT
There's little that's remarkable about the interior of this Pizza Hut in Giza, but its location makes it a must-see. That's because you can nosh on a slice as you gape at the postcard-perfect view of the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx beyond from the restaurant's rooftop deck. For an even more memorable meal, grab your dinner during the pyramids' nightly sound and light show.
SKI UP TO A MOUNTAINTOP MCDONALD'S
Leave it to the Swedes to figure out how to fuse their love of winter sports and Big Macs. In the ski resort of Lindvallen, the restaurant's drive-thru has been replaced by a ski-through window known as "McSki." It serves the entire menu for anyone who doesn't want to track snow into the cozy, cabin-like location — and in Sweden, that includes delicacies like McFalafel bites and a McVegan burger.
DINE IN AN ARCHITECTURALLY STUNNING RAIL STATION AT KFC
We'll forgive you if you mistake Baku's KFC, reportedly the world's largest, for a palace. The restaurant makes its home inside an expansive 17,000-square-foot space, a former rail station built in 1926 and distinguished by an imposing stone façade with domes and arched windows. Inside, you and up to 299 other hungry guests can dig into buckets of Original Recipe under the gorgeous coffered ceilings.
CONSIDER EXTRATERRESTRIALS AT A UFO-SHAPED MCDONALD'S
Roswell, New Mexico
UFO buffs from around the world descend on Roswell, so it's only natural that the local McDonald's pays homage to the extraterrestrial influences that put this city on the map. Here, your kids can burn energy inside a play space shaped like a flying saucer, complete with all of your favorite mascots in space suits. Go at night for the full effect, when the metallic saucer-shaped structure shines with neon lights.
ADMIRE LOCAL ART AT A MASSIVE STARBUCKS
One of the most eye-popping Starbucks you'll ever see is in a place you'd least expect it: the subterranean vault of a historic Dutch bank. The interior, transformed by local artists, features unique materials like antique tiles, reclaimed wood, and even recycled bicycle tires. It's such a large space — the largest in Europe, the company claims — that it also includes a "coffee theater" where Starbucks tests new brewing methods and offers rare small-batch coffees.
GET HITCHED AT A GLITZY TACO BELL ON THE STRIP
Where better than Vegas to "live más?" Head to the Taco Bell on the Las Vegas Strip for a heaping dose of glitz and glam with your chalupa. The two-story restaurant features an open kitchen, Taco Bell souvenir shop, VIP lounge, DJ booth, and a wall of Twisted Freezes that are customizable with your favorite booze. But the craziest feature of all is the wedding chapel, where $600 and as little as four hours' notice will get you an ordained officiant, private reception area, food, and even a bouquet made out of sauce packets.
ADMIRE A TRADITIONAL JAPANESE GARDEN AT STARBUCKS
Kyoto is noted for its high concentration of historic Japanese structures, so when Starbucks wanted to open up in the center of town, it decided to do so in as unobtrusive a manner as possible. The result? A coffee shop inside of a wooden 100-year-old townhouse with tatami mats, hanging scrolls, and even a traditional Japanese garden. Blink and you'll miss it: The logo is very subtly emblazoned on the door curtains.
SIT ON THE PATIO OF A FUTURISTIC GLASS-WALLED MCDONALD'S
Travel to Georgia — the nation, not the state — to marvel at one of the most architecturally distinct McDonald's you'll ever lay eyes on. This futuristic, helmet-like restaurant in the Black Sea port of Batumi features 460 glass panels, a large reflecting pool, and an open-air upstairs patio. The unique design even manages to hide a gas station that's built into the back of the structure.
PUT YOUR FEET IN THE SAND AT AN ART DECO-INSPIRED SONIC
Miami Gardens, Florida
Considering that your typical Sonic is little more than a bunker-like kitchen flanked by a concrete patio and plenty of parking, this "Sonic Beach" is all the more impressive. You'll find Art Deco architecture, a beachy color scheme, and a palm-ringed outdoor seating area made all the more unique because of the soft sand underfoot. On the menu, aside from Sonic's famous coneys and tots, is a 100-ounce pitcher of beer. (The Atlantic Ocean is about 5 miles to the east.)
SOAK UP THE NATURAL LIGHTING AT A SLEEKLY MODERN KFC
Iceland is a fitting home for a minimalist Scandinavian KFC, specially designed to harmonize with the sweeping landscape and ocean views in this Reykjavik suburb. The box-like building, built in 2009, blends black tiles, massive windows, and wood-lined ceilings. There's also a playground (a rarity for KFCs in America) and plenty of skylights to let in natural light.
EAT A BIG MAC IN A GEORGIAN-STYLE MANSION AT MCDONALD'S
New Hyde Park, N.Y.
This landmark Georgian-style home on Long Island might just be the original McMansion, complete with coffered ceilings, wainscotting, and a stunning staircase. Originally known as the Denton House, the structure was built in the late 1700s as a farmhouse. Local residents pressured McDonald's to save the house instead of tear it down when it bought the property in the 1980s.
ORDER A WHOPPER IN A GARDEN-INSPIRED BURGER KING
Lush, green, outdoors-inspired interiors certainly aren't part of your typical Burger King, but one Singapore restaurant decided that was exactly the way to appeal to customers. The so-called "Garden Grill," which opened in 2011, includes a trellis ceiling for climbing plants, overturned pots that function as shades for pendant lights, exposed brick, warm wood, and even furniture upholstered in camping-inspired fabrics meant to remind customers of cookouts with family and friends.
ADMIRE A SCULPTURE OF WOODEN BEAMS AT STARBUCKS
This Starbucks, located close to one of Japan's most important Shinto shrines, is architecturally prominent in its own right. More than 2,000 wooden beams in a range of lengths and angles line the walls and ceiling, spilling out beyond the shop's glass façade. The overall effect is a fusion of natural materials and modern design that harmonizes with the local landscape.