5 Foods You Should Never Order to Go

It’s a fact of life: certain foods travel much better than others. It’s never fun to realize that the meal you ordered for delivery simply didn’t hold up in transit and is beyond repair, so we’ve gathered 11 foods that you should think twice before ordering to go.

There are plenty of foods that hold up pretty well even a couple days later, ones that can be stuck in the microwave or tossed in a hot pan and brought back to some semblance of their initial form. Spaghetti and meatballs, for example, holds up just fine, and curry tastes even better after a day or two of letting the flavors co-mingle. Meat shouldn’t really be microwaved, but if you nuke some leftover chicken for a little while it’ll be okay. But for certain foods, it’s just not going to happen.

Here’s a rule of thumb: If it’s crispy, crunchy, cheesy, or breakfast-y, it’s not going to hold up. Even if it’s rushed from the kitchen directly to your house, by the time it gets there it’s not going to be nearly as tasty as it once was. This is because food exposed to the conditions of transit — steaming inside its container, cooling, congealing –simply do not make for good eats, as Alton would say. It’ll still be edible, sure, but far from ideal.

So read on to learn about 11 foods that you really shouldn’t order to go, and why. If you’re going to eat these, eat them in a restaurant. And if you’ve got leftovers, feed them to the dog.

  • 1
    Once a fry goes soggy, there’s nothing that can bring it back from the dead save for another visit to the deep-fryer. Fries taken to-go rarely maintain their crispiness during the ride home, and ones kept overnight in the fridge are essentially inedible. Sure, you can pop them in a hot oven for a few minutes, but the end results are definitely “last resort” fries.
  • 2
    Pancakes or Waffles
    Breakfast foods need to be eaten when they’re hot and steaming. Pancakes and waffles, in particular, are made with a buttery batter so that when fresh they have a pleasing crisp to the outside that really doesn’t stand the test of time. They go stale as soon as they start to cool down; pair that with steaming inside a to-go box and you’ve got a recipe for an unsatisfying breakfast.
  • 3
    Pre-Dressed Salad
    Salads begin to wilt the moment dressing is applied, and it seems as if pre-made salads are always so overdressed that there’s a puddle of dressing on the bottom as well. Ask for the dressing on the side and wait to dress it until you’re ready to eat it. But don’t wait too long; pre-chopped lettuce will wilt in your fridge quicker than you think.
  • 4
    Fried Chicken
    There are few foods more delicious than fried chicken right out of the fryer. But as soon as you put it into a to-go box the hot chicken will begin to steam itself, and by the time you get it home not only will the breading be soggy, it’ll be starting to fall off as well. At this point, there’s only one thing to do: put it in the fridge and eat it cold.
  • 5
    French Dip
    A word of advice: don’t attempt to reheat a wet sandwich. There’s no way to do it without completely sogging out the bottom bun to the point where it’s inedible mush. If you’ve got a sliced beef sandwich, like a French Dip or a beef on weck, you’ll be overcooking the meat while you reheat it as well. If you must get it to go, sacrifice the bread and re-assemble it on a new roll when it comes to time to eat it.