Fabled fast food fixes in the U.S.

Jordan Rane, for CNNPublished 4th December 2015
Duff's Famous Wings in New York. When they say "hot," they're not joking.
(CNN) — If you're not all that particular about where you get your next quick fix of artery-glazing comfort food across the U.S.A., by all means do the Dollar Menu, Popcorn Nuggets or ThickBurger El Diablo thing at the nearest intersection.
But know this.
Any city worth its sodium probably offers a far more time-honored local fave alternative to your favorite fast food chains a bit farther down the road.
Travelers with special dietary restrictions, please scroll away immediately.
Otherwise, feel free to file these legendary local fast-ish food gems away for the next time you're in any of these four towns.

Duff's Famous Wings (Buffalo, New York)

Everyone loves a local food rivalry.
There's Detroit's chili-cheese-and-onion-smothered hotdog vendetta between longtime neighbors Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island.
And Philly's eternal Pat's-vs.-Geno's cheesesteak feud.
So you'd expect a similar culinary cage match in Buffalo, birthplace of the vaunted deep-fried spicy hot wings.
The owners and longtime regulars at downtown's Anchor Bar (aka "Home of the Original Chicken Wing") say the fabled hot wing was created in its kitchen in 1964 by Teressa Bellissimo.
But there's an army of local wing nuts that point to the original 1969 location of Duff's Famous Wings just outside city limits in Amherst as the place.
Other hot menu items here: jalapeno-spiked roasted popper bites and a $5.75 single serve bottle of White Zinfandel.
Also T-shirts with a best-heeded message: "Medium is hot. Medium-hot is very hot. Hot is very very hot."
Duff's Famous Wings, 3651 Sheridan Dr., Amherst, NY; +1 716 834 6234

The Apple Pan (Los Angeles)

The Apple Pan: Trust us, the burger is every bit as irresistable as the boysenberry pie.
The Apple Pan: Trust us, the burger is every bit as irresistable as the boysenberry pie.
Carlos Chavez/Los Angeles Times/LA Times via Getty Images
Even in a Western city with probably one of the country's highest vegans-per-capita ratios, you'd think the old-timey lunch darling of cheeseburger 'n pie would be easy enough to get right.
Not so.
For a furiously fast and tasty burger, there's the soulful Double-Double at beloved chain In-N-Out.
But, alas, no pie.
For the whole enlightened shebang in one place, you have to line up (against the back wall, please) at The Apple Pan.
The small clapboard building furnished with a screen door and 20 barstools has been serving the city's best hickory burger and warm apple pie a la mode since 1947.
If the ramshackle atmosphere seems strangely out of place in this gentrified West LA 'hood, it's because this crowded dive and its no-nonsense waiters predate everything around it.
The Apple Pan (no website), 10801 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles; +1 310 475 3585

Brocato's Sandwich Shop (Tampa, Florida)

Sweet ham, salty roast pork, fatty salami, oozy Swiss cheese, tangy mustard, snappy pickle on authentic, mildly crunchy Cuban bread with a butter smear.
Back in the day, the Cuban sandwich was simply called the "mixto" for its meat combo.
Today, order this classic at a hundred noisy counters, chef-driven food trucks and crusty Floridian taverns between Tampa (where it's been hailed the city's "official sandwich") and Miami (where debates with Tampa about the sandwich's rightful birthplace still smolder) and you'll get something different every time.
The best Cuban sandwich?
That's another debate that won't be put to rest anytime soon.
A good place to start, however, is in Tampa's historic district, Ybor City -- home to enough 7th Avenue Cubano shrines to last many satisfying lunches.
These include the state's oldest restaurant, The Columbia, which makes its signature version on vintage Cuban bread from equally revered La Segunda Central Bakery nearby.
But for the most generously portioned Cuban sandwich experience of the bunch, many nod to the hefty creation at Brocato's Sandwich Shop -- a roadhouse-style Tampa fixture dating to 1948.
Four Cubano sizes here start with a stocky six-inch and peak with a 15-inch goliath called "Joe's Special."

Al's #1 Italian Beef (Chicago)

Maybe on the other side of the Atlantic an Italian beef sandwich is from Italy.
In the United States, they're raised in Chicago.
And, if you're a purist, from Al's #1 Italian Beef.
And if you're a real purist from Al's original 1964 "Historic Little Italy" Taylor Street location.
There are now nearly a dozen suburban knockoffs throughout the state -- as well as in California, Las Vegas and Texas.
Here, impossibly thin slices of top sirloin are cooked in their own juices with a hint of garlic and spices before being piled high on a French roll and laced with either cooked bell peppers or giardiniera, a mouth-tingling vegetable relish.
There are three outdoor tables at the original Al's, and there are hotdogs on the menu, but these are not to be fooled with.
The thing to do is lean over the counter with jus-drenched hand. Cuz dat's how it's done here.