Which Restaurants Accept EBT In California?

The Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program is one that has helped several people in need of some financial assistance. Food is a basic need, and when you sign up for a California EBT card, you can buy the food that you need even if you have a low income. 


But which restaurants in California accept EBT? The answer is that there are several! Below we’ll dive into some concrete restaurant options, in addition to info you should know about the EBT program in California.  


What Should You Know About the EBT Program?


The EBT program is called CalFresh in California. Once approved, you will get a debit card that on the outside is indistinguishable from any other card. 


You will be able to use this card at grocery stores, convenience stores, farmer’s markets, and select restaurants. There are a variety of chains and mom and pop restaurants all over California that will accept your EBT card. It’s important to do your research in advance. 


Many will have a sign outside that say they accept EBT. Others will advertise it on their website. When you research these restaurants in advance it’ll help you figure out where you can use your EBT card when dining out. 


You’ll want to apply for the CalFresh program to make sure that you get an EBT card so that you can use the full benefits. Here are a few categories of restaurants that you’ll need to know about.  


Fast Food Restaurants


Fast food restaurants are some of the best resources for EBT options in California. Being able to grab a quick bite to eat between your kids’ online school is easy when you find some go-to fast food joints.  


Some of these are national chains that accept EBT at every location, while others are regional or leave the option to each particular franchise location on whether or not they accept EBT. Here are some fast food options in California that are verified to accept EBT. 


1. Carl’s Jr. 


If you’re a burger lover, Carl’s Jr. is where it’s at. They have locations all over California, from Southern California to the Bay Area and beyond. 


Some of the tasty options they have include the Famous Star with Cheese, Western bacon cheeseburger, The Big Carl, and the 1/3 pound Thickburger. They have delicious natural cut french fries, Crisscut fries, and onion rings. People also love Carl’s Jr. for the chicken tenders and chicken sandwiches. 


Nationwide, Carl’s Jr. also renowned for its breakfast options. They have some of the best sausage biscuits that you’ll find, in addition to bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits, and the breakfast burger.  


2. Fat Burger


Fat Burger is a burger paradise that California is known for. Several people who vacation to California make sure that they check out Fat Burger before they fly home. 


This is a great fast food option because you’re getting high-quality ingredients that are flavorful, along with plenty of toppings and styles to try out. The burgers are hand-pressed and aren’t frozen like other burger places. 


The original Fatburger weighs a 1/3 pound, and comes with a toasted bun and plenty of flavor. Where Fat Burger really shines is its toppings. You can add things like bacon, eggs, onion rings, chili, barbecue sauce, and others. 


The french fries are made with real potatoes, are hand-cut and fried to perfection. Fat Burger also uses 100% real ice cream for all of their milkshakes.  


3. El Pollo Loco


El Pollo Loco really shines when it comes to convenience while still being healthier than other fast food choices. They serve fire-grilled chicken and have a menu rich with several options. 


They have family dinners with whole pieces of chicken and sides like broccoli, beans, and rice. This makes it a great option to use your EBT card while pulling up to the drive-through and quickly and conveniently feeding your whole family. 


El Pollo Loco also serves chicken tacos, burritos, nachos, and Pollo Fit Bowls.  


Casual Sit Down Restaurants


You can also stop into some casual sit down restaurants when you want to get a bite to eat. Here are some spots that accept EBT: 


1. Denny’s


Denny’s is an American classic restaurant that is known for its 24-hour breakfast. You’ll be able to choose between their array of pancake options that will tickle your tastebuds. 


The buttermilk pancakes are the favorite, but you can also look into some exquisite options like the chocolate pancake breakfast topped with bananas, cinnamon roll pancake breakfast, and double berry pancake breakfast. 


They are also known for their “Slam” breakfasts, which come with lots of tasty staple options. Some of these include the French Toast Slam, All-American Slam, Hearty Breakfast Slam, and Build Your Own Grand Slam. 


Denny’s has an array of omelets, crepes, and plenty of lunch and dinner items, such as Philly cheesesteak subs, 100% beef burgers, and chicken fingers.  


2. Golden Corral 


Hitting a buffet is an excellent, cost-effective option for the whole family. People will get to pile their plates with everything that you could possibly imagine, from fried chicken, lasagna, fresh sliced ham, and healthy greens, to Asian fried rice, pizza, and macaroni and cheese. 


Golden Corral has several beverage options and an impressive array of desserts. Being able to use your EBT card at such a massive buffet restaurant gives you the biggest bang for your buck. 


3. Subway


If you’re a sandwich lover, you will be pleased to know that Subway accepts EBT. You can mix and match your sandwich options and build what you want from scratch. 


People that go to Subway can choose the different types of bread, sauces, toppings, and so much more. You can casually sit down inside of a Subway restaurant with you and your family.  


Plenty of Smoothie and Specialty Shops


There are lots of specialty restaurants in California that accept EBT. Here are a few that you may want to check out:


1. Jamba Juice


People that love juices and smoothies of all kinds will appreciate what Jamba Juice has to offer. It’s a healthy selection that can help you and your family get all of the nutrients that you need. 


Whether you strictly want fruit smoothies or smoothies mixed with fruits and vegetables, it’ll allow you to get big doses of nutrients.  


You will be able to get plenty of fiber in your diet and lower your cholesterol when you get juice options with leafy green vegetables. These smoothies can also help you to stock up on Calcium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A. There are a number of boost options that you can look into when you want more protein, immunity, or other benefits. 


2. Fuego 360


Fuego 360 is a restaurant that sells chicken that is slow-roasted for hours at a time. The chicken is succulent and falls off the bone. 


You can choose between 1/4 chicken and 1/2 chicken options of white meat and dark meat. These chicken options come with side items like beans, rice, macaroni and queso, and mixed greens. 


Top the meal off with some pita bread, or a corn or flour tortilla.  


3. Whole Foods Market


Whole Foods Market will give you access to some of the healthiest foods that you’ll find, which also happen to be packed with flavor. With many locally sourced and fresh options, Whole Foods Market is sure to have something for every palate.


When you take in loads of green vegetables you will improve your blood flow, bolster your brain health, and build a healthier heart. Whole Foods Market is also a great place to shop if you want to stock up on healthy bulk foods.


Whole Food Market also has a partnership with Amazon that lets you use your Prime membership for in-store discounts and online deliveries.  


Always Find Out Which Restaurants Accept EBT in California


Now that you know a bit more about which restaurants accept EBT, you’ll be better able to explore your options. No matter what kind of tastes you are in the mood for, you’ll be able to tickle your fancy by trying these California restaurants.  


Come back to learn more about the CalFresh Program eligibility and application process and other programs that can help you out. 


If you qualify for EBT, you may also qualify for free Lifeline phone service.