The First-Ever Chain Restaurant Food Festival Is Coming to Los Angeles

"Chain" is hosting the one-of-a-kind gathering of major restaurant brands, including Pizza Hut, Dunkin’, Chili’s, Panda Express and more, and will include event-exclusive menu items.

Updated on November 22, 2023

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Chain

Photo courtesy of Chain

Food festivals are all about celebrating great food. Typically, that means showcasing local hotspots or beloved chefs and restaurants with no more than a few locations to their name. Because of that, most food fests are the ideal events for trying foods you might not otherwise seek out or have access to.

But if your favorite foods happen to come from those big chain restaurants with national (or international) footprints, there’s finally a food festival for you. Chain, the dining concept started by B.J. Novak and chef Tim Hollingsworth that pays homage to chain restaurant foods, is hosting its first-ever ChainFEST. The event will bring together what could rightly be considered rivals in the corporate restaurant business for two days of unique offerings.

On November 15, ChainFest revealed exactly what kind of “re-imagined” chain restaurant items will be on the menu.

Pizza Hut’s Personal Pan Pizzas will shrink down to three-inch Pizettes in Buffalo Chicken Lover’s option and a Shroom Supreme flavor topped with truffle ricotta.

Panda Express, originator of Orange Chicken, will have morsels of its signature dish recolored in Szechuan Red, Turmeric Yellow, and Basil-Mint Green, all on the same skewer (along with original Orange, of course) for a rainbow-inspired remix. Pepsi is going from drink to dip, as Chain will serve its chicken tenders with a sweet and sour Pepsi reduction sauce.

From Chili’s, there’s The Baby Back Ribwich featuring Chain’s own whisky BBQ sauce. Jack in the Box’s tiny tacos will get upsized to Jumbo Sized Tiny Tacos and stuffed with wagyu beef and Chain’s Taco Perfecto sauce, before being fried in beef tallow. Or, in the V.I.P. lounge, try Jack’s curly fries topped with crème fraîche and osetra caviar.

Red Robin is using the occasion to bring back a version of its MadLove burger, made from a blend of dry-aged beef and bone marrow, a three-cheese tuile, candied bacon, jalapeño relish, avocados and citrus-marinated tomatoes on a potato-brioche bun. (If you dare, pair that with Red Robin’s Burgertini, as the chain’s savory cocktail will be on the menu as well.)

Sonic Drive-In will top its Coney Dog with a Fritos Pie, and spike its Cherry Limeade with Smirnoff Vodka and its Blue Hawaiian drink with Captain Morgan Rum — both of those beverages featuring pebble ice, naturally.

For dessert, the collab with Dunkin, will offer three takes on doughnuts: A spicy sriracha, maple and bacon donut with bourbon drizzle, a sweet créme brulée and caramel buttermilk donut, and a “Sippable Donut” that tops Dunkin’ Glazed Donut Cold Brew with strawberry icing-flavored cold foam and rainbow sprinkles.

“I love chain food,” Novak states. “It’s as worthy of celebration as any other type of cuisine, and it’s high time it got the respect it deserves.”

“Chain is a reflection of my background as a chef, working at those one-of-a-kind Michelin restaurants around the world while always cherishing the chain restaurants that I grew up going to,” says Hollingsworth, who’s also head chef at Los Angeles’ famed Otium and a former Chef de Cuisine at The French Laundry. “It’s a pursuit of excellence through a reimagining of the iconic, easy-eating dishes that everyone loves.”

Novak and Hollingsworth’s Chain has previously offered pop-ups and delivery-only special items that riff on classic fast food or sit-down chain staples (think upscale McRibs and Bloomin’ Onions), and even collaborated with Taco Bell on a Wagyu beef Crunchwrap Supreme and Chain-branded hot sauce.

ChainFEST will open its doors Friday, December 1 from 7 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, December 2 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. in Los Angeles, CA at Nya Studios (1541 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028). Single-day tickets cost $75 and all food and beverages are included.

Speaking of beverages, the available dishes will be paired with soft drinks from Pepsi, along with Diageo alcohol brands including Guinness, Smirnoff, Crown Royal and Captain Morgan. Postmates will also be on-site to offer delivery to those sitting in the app’s lounge at the event.

Ticket pre-sales and more information are available at

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