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Root Beer and Burger Chain A&W Is Planning a Big Comeback

Plus, Amazon is buying Whole Foods, and more of this week’s essential food news

A&W Restaurants

A classic American fast-food chain is making a comeback

Depending on your age, reading the name “A&W” will either spark a wave of fast-food nostalgia or a blank stare. For the uninitiated, though, A&W is one of the oldest chains in America, pre-dating even McDonald’s. This week, it was reported that 2017 will be the first year in over a decade that A&W will open more stores than it closes. (For what it’s worth, the A&W brand is still going strong over in Canada.)

Fast food in 2017 is basically one big series of PR stunts. KFC is sending a chicken sandwich into space for some reason. Taco Bell is slowly remaking its entire menu out of fried chicken. Wendy’s is basically just a meme-dispensing Twitter account that also happens to sell burgers. In light of all this, maybe a return to the root beer-fueled world of A&W is just what America needs.

Kelly McMillan/Twitter

This is what happens when a Wendy’s starts a sign war with a neighboring tea shop

This week in Lubbock, Texas, Wendy’s and Pure Water Ice & Tea Company showed us the real-life equivalent of brands tweeting shady things at each other, and the internet ate it up. There are too many signs to list here, so click to see them all.

Amazon just added Whole Foods to cart and checked out

This is a huge deal: Not only is Whole Foods apparently worth a stupidly large amount of money ($13.7 billion, to be exact), but grocery stores around the country are sweating nervously right now. No one is exactly sure what this merger will look like in the long run, but it’s a pretty safe bet that delivery — an industry that Amazon straight-up dominates — will be a big piece of the puzzle.

Will we be dictating grocery orders to Alexa and receiving drone-delivered packages of guacamole and asparagus water? Who can say? But I, for one, welcome our new organic, non-GMOverlords.

Photo: Locol Oakland

Locol, the young, socially conscious California fast-food brand, is closing its Oakland location

“But wait, I don’t live in the Bay area — why should I care if this place closes?” is a pretty fair reaction. This closure is about more than just one restaurant (which the New York Times controversially awarded zero stars in January). Locol’s mission to feed the neighborhoods it serves with affordable, wholesome food and $1 coffee was one that had (and continues to have) potential to impact how America eats.

Lorde, minus the onion rings: Taylor Hill/Getty

Pop star Lorde has been moonlighting as a secret onion ring critic

Look, this might have been a secret viral PR stunt, but it’s hard to care because it’s just so sweet. Basically, Lorde was running a secret Instagram account (that’s since been shut down) that chronicled the various onion rings she ate around the world.

The newly-outed critic has two tips for serving up the best possible plate of onion rings: lightly pickle your onions first, and use a wet batter instead of crumbing. It’s good advice.

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