Jumping straight from COVID lockdowns and restrictions to high costs and staffing shortages has meant a brutal three years for restaurants. Chains and local eateries both struggled to adapt to a takeout and delivery only world. Now with restrictions lifted and a better economic outlook for 2023, several big chains are prepping huge expansions that could likely create a few more options for Upstate NY diners.

Some restaurants have already confirmed an expanded presence to start the year: Dave’s Hot Chicken from California and Georgia-based Chick-fil-A already confirmed much-hyped multiple locations opening for the chains. Per Eat This Not That, don’t be surprised to see any of these five pop up in Upstate.

Shake Shack

Shake Shack To Raise Prices As Inflation Continues To Rise
Getty Images

Shake Shack already has a semi-presence here in Upstate New York. If you’ve been to Saratoga Race Course, you’ve probably seen their setup. But that’s seasonal and you have to pay to get in. Now Upstate could get a full-time, brick-and-mortar Shake Shack in 2023. The NYC-native chain plans on adding 70 new restaurants to their brand this year.

Shake Shack Burger Chain Considers I.P.O.
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A Checkers Restaurant

The drive-thru/walk-up burger chain (sometimes known as Rally’s regionally) already has 48 locations in New York state. Why should Buffalo, NYC, and Long Island have all the fun? They want to expand by 75 stores this year. It’s easy to imagine Upstate picking up its first.

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Pandora Summer Crush
Jonathan Leibson

Remember Quiznos? The toasted sandwich joint used to be all over Upstate, but got beat down and counted out over the last decade. Apparently, corporate’s made a lot of changes and is pushing for a Renaissance, including a few dozen new restaurants. After permanently closing all New York locations, 2023 could be the comeback year for fans. (Please bring back this ad, too.)

Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers

Food at Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers
Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers

The Northeast is just about the only region this vintage-inspired burger and hot dog chain hasn’t set up in yet, but they’re knocking on the door. Pennsylvania and New Jersey already have Freddy’s. With the chain wanting 40 to 50 more stores to put them over the 500 mark in 2023, Upstate seems like a good way to enter the area.

Marco’s Pizza

Inside a Marco's Pizza
Veronica Vild via Marco's Pizza

This may be more of a long-shot considering we’re certainly not hurting for pizza places in New York. This Ohio-based chain is the fastest growing pizza chain in America right now, with 1,000 pizzerias in 33 states. They want to hit 1,500 by year’s end. Their ambitions might give them their first New York state location in Upstate.

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