My wife and I are avid fans of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. The most recent season had a side story about Jaime trying to upgrade the food at an independent fast food drive thru. Jaime added wheat buns, convinced the owner to use better quality ground beef for the patties and fresh fruit in the shakes (and maybe fro yo instead of ice cream) along with some other changes. The food still wasn't "healthy", but it was certainly better for the human body than before the changes were made. Fast food accounts for a huge percentage of restaurants in America and small changes to make the food more fresh and/or more wholesome would certainly help the obesity epidemic. So can you think of any places that fall in this category. The parameters are fresh ingredients, mostly from-scratch cooking, wholesome food, under $10 and the restaurant follows a fast food business model. Bonus points for places that limit their carbon footprint (buying local, using compostable take-out ware etc). I'll start with a few.
Slow and Gregoire in Berkeley. Two of my favorite Berkeley restaurants. Great sandwiches using artisan breads, homemade spreads, fresh produce and local and sustainably farmed meats. These restaurants make everything from scratch, use great ingredients and still manage to offer a fast lunch under $10.
Cheeseboard Pizza Co-op. Organic veggies, housemade sauce and dough and artisan cheeses. Bonus points for being employee owned. Quality wise, in a league of it's own when it comes to grabbing a slice. It's hard to make this a quick meal because the line is usually very long, but pizza by the slice is classic fast food.
Urbann Turbann. UC Berkeley's little secret. This tiny restaurant with no real sign and small storefront is essentially an Indian Chipotle using naan or whole wheat roti instead of tortillas and loading up wraps or rice bowls (brown rice is an option) with organic produce, housemade chutneys and free range tandoori chicken or grass fed beef kabobs (plus some other fillings including vegan options).
Kasa in SF (and on their food truck). Another assembly line Indian place with curries rolled into fresh whole wheat roti (made with a good amount of butter). The rolls are accompanied with a yogurt sauce and homemade chutneys.
Show dogs in SF. While a hot dog or sausage is rarely going to be healthy, the ones at show dogs are handmade and certainly better than the nitrite/nitrate infused alternatives. Plus homemade condiments and artisan bread.