5 Books About Iconic Restaurants In The U.S.A.

Looking for a new bookish trend to digest? The founding stories of America’s iconic restaurants will fulfill your curiosity craving.

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Though restaurants have existed at least since the 13th century, the United States has contributed greatly to their modern legacy. From dine-ins to fast-food chains swathing across continents of the world, there’s no doubt that the U.S.A. has left a wide impression on the dining experience of humanity.

Though you may frequently order from some of the mentions below, it’s likely you’ve never considered how they came to be in the first place. Who were the founders? What were their lives like? What caused them to leave a mark on the food service industry?

In celebration of Iconic American Restaurants Day, we bring you five books that shed light on the amazing, and sometimes notorious, histories of these famous eateries.


Colonel Sanders and the American Dream – Josh Ozersky

The name Colonel Sanders is familiar throughout the world of American cuisine. Unlike many food brand mascots, there existed a real man behind the facade. Raised poor, he took charge of his family’s financial security and sought the American Dream by entering the world of convenience stores. When the interstate threatened his livelihood, he went finger-deep into the world of cooking chicken. If you’re interested in warm, spicy meat on a bone and a true American rags-to-riches story, then this book is a must-read.


McDonald’s: Behind The Arches – John F. Love

It’s among the most popular restaurants in the world and a favorite dietary scapegoat. But, despite popular belief, McDonald’s has positioned itself at the forefront of the food revolution. It’s no longer just burgers and fries, having grown into a multi-restaurant empire of the likes no one has seen before or since. Behind The Arches provides a unique big-picture story of this culinary icon, whose influence has reached far past the realm of the U.S.A.


Around the Corner to Around the World: A Dozen Lessons I Learned Running Dunkin Donuts – Robert Rosenberg

We’ve all heard the slogan, “America Runs On Dunkin,” but one food does not simply become the primary breakfast fuel for a continent-spanning country and beyond. In these pages, you’ll experience the life and lessons of the founder’s son and second CEO of Dunkin Donuts. On top of that, you’ll get an inside look at the growth of one of the biggest food franchises in the world.


Onward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life without Losing Its Soul – Howard Schultz

The road to success is one with pretty vistas, as well as deep plummets. It’s unimaginable that Starbucks–the beloved coffee franchise that (let’s be honest) we all rely on nearly dissipated amid the economic catastrophe of 2008. Luckily for it and all of us, CEO Howard Schultz ensured its survival. Regale yourself with this epic tale of how perseverance and upheld company values saved your favorite caffeine supplier.


Dave’s Way – Dave Thomas

Wendy might be the face of Wendy’s, but the hardworking genius behind the franchise was a man by the name of Dave Thomas. As with Colonel Sanders, he came from a humble background, starting as a busboy, the very bottom level of the restaurant business. Eventually, he created something far greater than what most restauranteurs dream of: Wendy’s became a franchise, as well as a foothold for Dave Thomas’s philanthropic nature. Dave’s Way is not just a book about entrepreneurial success; it’s an example of a human life well spent.

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