The saddish news that Friendly's may not be long for this world got some of us nostalgic for the provincial middlebrow franchises of our youth. The Massachusetts-based chain may be having trouble cutting it, but that doesn't mean there isn't lots of room for other actually-not-bad chains in town. Considering the instant lines at the recent outposts of Chicago's Potbelly sandwich shops, we know there is a hunger for these fattening joints. Here are five chain restaurants that we wouldn't mind having a little closer to home in NYC.

Steak n' Shake: This chain is the stuff that many a midwestern boy's dreams are made of. It is hard to explain the charms of this fast casual chain, but my goodness do its fans adore it—its following in the midwest is not too dissimilar to In 'N Out's following on the West coast. Just ask Roger Ebert who has made his devotion to the chain quite well known over the years, once writing:

If I were on Death Row, my last meal would be from Steak 'n Shake. If I were to take President Obama and his family to dinner and the choice were up to me, it would be Steak 'n Shake--and they would be delighted. If the Pope were to ask where he could get a good plate of spaghetti in America, I would reply, "Your Holiness, have you tried the Chili Mac or the Chili 3-Ways?"

You see what we mean? Sadly if you want to get yourself a steakburger right now, you have to drive all the way across Pennsylvania. But it doesn't have to be so. Let's fix this people. Update: Looks like they are on it.

Culver's: Our mouths water just thinking about this chain's delicious ButterBurgers (thick and fresh ground beef sandwiched between two lightly toasted and buttered buns) but it has other charms too, including delicious frozen custards. Since really, there are a lot of New Yorkers who would be much better off if they'd just chill out and relax with with some real Wisconsin dairy. Sadly, the closest Culver's to us is in Ohio. Unless somebody wants to bring one here (though sadly we aren't in their current "development market").

Waffle House: Yeah, IHOPs are nice and all (even with bouncers) but sometimes what you really want at three in the morning is a really good waffle, and this mostly Southern chain lives up to its name. Right now though, you have to drive go all the way to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to get scattered, smothered and covered. Unacceptable!

Sonic: This chain isn't that far from opening up inside the city, but it isn't here yet. Which makes the fact that we have to watch endless commercials for it on TV all the more irritating. Just open one up in the city all ready! Because, as one Gothamist staffer puts it: "their milkshakes are amazing—they're the kind of thick ones you can turn upside and it doesn't go anywhere." And people? They are always looking for new franchises.

Dairy Queen: Like Sonic, there are quite a few DQ locations outside of the borders of our fair metropolis...but none actually here. And while "their blizzards are the bomb" (actual quote from Gothamist HQ) they aren't quite so good that they are worth braving the PATH to Jersey City. So come on, entrepreneurs, open one here already.