The Checkers/Rally's Sandwich Lineup, Ranked

If you've been pondering what came first, Checkers or Rally's, fret no more; we're here to answer this question once and for all. Rally's started selling burgers in 1984, followed by Checkers in 1986. Then, the two owners did some kind of secret handshake that probably involved wiggly fingers in 1999 and united into one lean, mean, retro fast food drive-thru machine. 

So surely, when it comes to the art of making tasty sandwiches, the brain power of two fast-food brands has created a lineup of undeniably delectable eats. Tragically, even post-merger, not every sandwich at Checkers/Rally's is greasy bliss personified. And since we at Mashed are always advocating for spreading knowledge, we're going to lay some more Checkers/Rally's truths on you.

We took it upon ourselves to taste and rank 10 sandwiches from the double trouble chain's sandwich menu. We assessed their prices (which vary by region and are accurate as of June 2023) and judged these sandwiches by the follow-through of their ingredients and their overall taste from worst to best. Here are the results.

10. All American Cheeseburger

We get it. Hamburgers, in all their greasy glory, are unabashedly American. But while there are many burgers out there that make us chant "U.S.A., U.S.A.," Checkers/Rally's All American cheeseburger is not one of them. At $1.59 per sad burger, this is the cheapest item on this famed duo-turned-solo act's menu. However, no matter how patriotic C&R tries to make you think this sandwich is, like many things in America, it is awful.

Coming with a seasoned patty, cheese, pickles, ketchup, and mustard, when we tried this star-spangled burger we were met with more bread than patty. That combined with the fact the alleged starring condiments, mustard and ketchup, are concentrated toward the middle of the sandwich make this hamburger painfully dry. Oh, and while we were met with a mouthful of mustard and pickles at the center, we barely tasted any ketchup. In the end, the most positive thing this sandwich has going for it is that it's superior to McDonald's regular hamburger at a similar price point – which isn't really an incredible feat, to begin with.

9. Cheese Champ

When you first read the name of this Checkers/Rally's menu item, you, like us, may have assumed it was a grilled cheese. But the Cheese Champ is not a grilled cheese, and tragically, we don't think a grilled cheese from this fast-food chain would have been much better. 

Costing $4.79 a cheese-coated pop, C&R's self-proclaimed king of cheese is said to consist of a beef patty, topped with copious amounts of cheese (duh), tomato, red onion, lettuce, pickles, mustard, and mayo. Shockingly enough, it's actually this sandwich's surplus of cheese that takes away from its overall taste. The thing is, the chain's American cheese is really, really cheap. We didn't notice the plastic nature of the cheese in the other sandwiches on this list because it was masterfully toned down to complement and meld with the other ingredients. However, since it completely coats the company's self-proclaimed cheesy Olympian, we were overwhelmed by the nature of the cheese's true taste.

That is to say, even though the tomato and pickles are pretty much MIA in this sandwich, its plentiful onions, ketchup, and lettuce cause the Cheese Champ to have a lot more going for it taste-wise than its All-American friend. However, its greatest selling point also smothers all of those good flavors with a cruel and cheap dairy pillow.

8. Double Fry Lover's Burger

Checkers/Rally's is a fry-forward institution. In a move that can only be described as a true hallmark of American convenience, the chain brought its burgers and fries together in one fell sandwich by creating the Double Fry Lover's burger. At $3.69 per burger, this half-and-half fast-food creation is advertised as featuring two beef patties topped with cheese, dill pickles, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and Checkers/Rally's legendary seasoned fries. Unfortunately, we found the Double Fry Lover's burger was not the best of either world.

Like many other sandwiches on this list, the majority of this burger's fixings were located in the middle. But while the ketchup, mustard, and mayo mixed into an enjoyable sauce at the burger's center, the fries didn't really do anything for it. First of all, we don't know if it was due to the moistness of the patty, but this famed side was soggy. Also, because there was so much meat in this sandwich, the flavor of the fries was totally overwhelmed and contributed nothing to the eating experience. 

If Checkers/Rally's is listening, our solution is to either cut down on the meat or add more of the usually delicious fries between the two patties. As it is now, like the parents of Romeo and Juliet thought of their children, we believe the fries and meat in the Double Fry Lover's burger need to be kept far away from each other.

7. Crispy Fish Sandwich

Checkers/Rally's crispy fish sandwich just returned to the brand's menu this April and will only be around for a limited time. However, we will not be advocating to make this chain's take on the fishy classic a permanent menu item. When compared to all the other fish sandwiches in the fast-food sea, the taste of Checkers/Rally's crispy fish sandwich is the edible embodiment of the phrase "meh, good enough."

Costing $2.89 a pop, the sandwich features a crunchy fish patty slathered in tartar sauce and loaded with lettuce. The fish filet itself, while not as crispy as our sweet Checkers/Rally's likes to think it is, is a decent size and of fairly good quality. The tartar sauce and lettuce are present throughout the sandwich and the lettuce even offers a bit of satisfying crunch to our fishy friend. However, this crispy-ish fish sandwich just didn't have a lot of flavor going for it. So while it outdoes the Double Fry Lover's burger for having all its advertised flavors accounted for, it's just not really a tasty sandwich.

6. Spicy Chicken Sandwich

The spicy chicken sandwich came before Checkers/Rally's debuted its now beloved chicken sandwich staple, the Mother Cruncher, in 2020. However, we're not sure if it will outlive its younger, less spicy chicken peer.

This chicken sandwich comes in at $2.99 and reportedly features a spiced-up chicken patty slathered in lettuce and mayo. Yes, the chicken patty itself is a good size and has been seasoned to perfection. But no, we don't care what Checkers/Rally's says, this sandwich is not crispy and no amount of good spicy flavor can make up for its less-than-crunchy texture. Also, the minimal mayo content may not overwhelm the taste but the condiment also doesn't add to it. The same can be said for the lettuce. That is to say, the makings of a spectacular meal lie in Checkers/Rally's spicy chicken sandwich. Yet, its lack of crunchiness and general mid-level flavor prevents it from being able to hang with the chicken sandwich cool kids.

5. The Classic Mother Cruncher

Even though Checkers/Rally's still proudly advertises the Classic Mother Cruncher as new on its website as of June 2023, as we mentioned, this poultry puppy and its BBQ-inspired offshoot have been around since 2020. However, while we can fault C&R for doing the equivalent of a soccer mom calling her child 24 months rather than 2 years old, its newest take on a classic chicken sandwich's claim to crunchiness is something we cannot critique.

Priced at $4.99 a pop, the Classic Mother Cruncher is described as being rolled in "super crunchy breading" and is allegedly piled high with mayo, pickles, lettuce, and tomato. We don't know what kind of stuff Checkers/Rally's has been up to in its laboratory, but its mad science experiment to put the crisp back in crispy chicken somehow works.

This chicken sandwich's patty is well-sized and crazily crunchy. However, that's all the sandwich has going for it. Beyond its great texture and quality white meat, the Mother Cruncher's minimal mayo, tomato, and barely good enough lettuce make it an okay flavored sandwich overall. So although it beats out its spicier companion, it's still not worthy of the top four Checkers/Rally's sandwiches.

4. The Smoky BBQ Bacon Buford

Like most fast-food joints, Checkers/Rally's has a signature burger named Buford. Although our friend Buford has been dressed up bistro and Chedda style, the smoky BBQ bacon version of the sandwich is a permanent menu item. Foodies, this is a good thing.

At $6.59 a sandwich, this BBQ burger includes Swiss cheese between Buford's signature double patties and contains bacon, mayo, tomato, onion, and pickles smothered in sweet and smoky BBQ sauce. And we must say, the sweet and smoky BBQ sauce is magical. This stuff really does make the sandwich taste like it was grilled over charcoal, and there's just enough of it to add a great flavor to the burger without taking over the other ingredients.

However, despite its great sauce, this burger has a catch. By featuring two burger patties, the sheer amount of beef in this sandwich makes it impossible to fully taste the bacon after the first bite, let alone the lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles, So, without being able to savor everything that could make this burger delicious and bacon-y, the smoky BBQ bacon Buford must lie in the fourth-place beef grave it dug itself.

3. Big Buford

Meet the OG. Why is it called Big Buford? No one's really sure. In fact, whole Reddit threads have been made to try to uncover the Checkers/Rally's burger's origin story to no avail. However, we do not need to know its history (Was it named after someone or does Checkers/Rally's just like alliteration?). Either way, we are certain that Big Buford is a really good burger.

Advertised as featuring two sizable burger patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onions, pickles, mustard, ketchup, and mayo, these components combine to make your taste buds do a little jig. Yes, the Big Buford has a lot of beef, but it's beautifully balanced out by the other ingredients. Yet, while they are present throughout the sandwich, the veggie toppings are still more minimal than we'd like. And the creamy mustard and mayo are piled on pretty heavily. Costing $5.79 per delicious burger, the flavors of our top two Checkers/Rally's sandwiches still prevail over the chain's old reliable.

2. Bacon BBQ Mother Cruncher Chicken Sandwich

And so we come to Checkers/Rally's second bacon BBQ creation, the Bacon BBQ Mother Cruncher. This bacon and poultry slice of heaven and our choice for the chain's second-best sandwich costs $6.19 per gloriously BBQ-flavored pop. The Bacon BBQ Mother Cruncher surpasses its less successful Buford version for a few reasons, but most importantly because the amount of beef in this sandwich doesn't prevent you from fully enjoying the bacon.

Instead of battling for flavor superiority, this eat's extra crunchy chicken proves a perfect flavor companion to its copious amounts of bacon, while its crispy patty adds a truly tantalizing texture to the meal. Thanks to its more minimal meat action, the smokehouse BBQ sauce and bacon are also really able to shine in an entree that converted us to worship in the temple of bacon-topped fried chicken. However (isn't there always a however?), while this sandwich's flavor is top-notch, the surplus of BBQ sauce did make the bread and chicken soggier than we can advocate for. That's why it couldn't top our number-one pick.

1. Baconzilla

Please put down the pitchforks. Yes, we dissed the BBQ bacon Buford for its surplus of meat. Beef on beef on beef is no good we cried. But the Baconzilla is stronger, better, faster, and tastier — and the best Checkers/Rally's burger creation we have ever put in our mouths. At $6.49, this burger is brimming with American cheese and slathered with ketchup and mayo. Even though it's packing two burger patties, the Baconzilla has enough crispy bacon to balance out the beef madness. In fact, this sandwich has a perfect balance of, well, everything.

The ketchup and mayo mixed together on top of this burger are bountiful enough to add flavor but minimal enough to avoid bogging the burger down. And there's just enough cheese to add to Baconzilla's flavor rather than subtracting from it. Yes, this sandwich doesn't have bells and whistles like the BBQ lineup's secret sauce or the Mother Cruncher's special crunchy breading, but, zap this baby full of an ideal amount of condiments, meat, and cheese and dig in. Its simple perfection has us naming Baconzilla the best sandwich at Checkers/Rally's.