Not all fast-food places rely on microwave ovens and deep freezers. Nor is it a given that they must serve low-quality, highly processed foods.
At a growing number of chains and individually owned spots, a higher standard is starting to apply.
Here are some places to look:
Owner William "Jack" Degel helped hand-build this innovative fast-food place. Degel says meats are all-natural and produce is locally grown whenever possible. The bright "market" salad comes with a great house-made dressing. Even the ketchup is made from scratch. 671-A Glen Cove Ave., Glen Head, 516-676-7001, jacksshack.com
Much of the fresh Tex-Mex food at this national chain is responsibly raised; some vegetables are organic and grown by local farmers. Choose ingredients for your "bol," tacos, salad or burritos. Soft corn tortillas are an option when ordering tacos. 435 Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington Station, 631-423-0127 and elsewhere, chipotle.com.
This sliver of a Tex-Mex takeout spot promises that just about everything served is made on premises and from scratch. Not to be missed are the chicken fajitas featuring juicy, smoky grilled dark meat chicken, light-textured guacamole, as well as fine rice and black beans. 926 Little East Neck Rd., West Babylon, 631-321-0194.