June 22nd, 2010
The Great Fast Food Debate: In-N-Out vs. Whataburger
It’s no secret that I love burgers. Growing up, my dad’s favorite meal was a burger and we had at least one night a week where our family enjoyed burgers for dinner. I have them in my DNA. With the news that In-N-Out is setting up shop in Dallas there have been a whole lot of people debating over which chain restaurant has a better burger, Whataburger or In-N-Out? Me, I’m on the fence, as I like both places, but I’ve taken a little time to write out a few things at each place that I am not a fan of.
The different tastes for the different styles of burgers varies greatly from person to person so I will preface this whole debate with what I enjoy; A nice char on a not too thick patty, preferably cooked to medium rare. The toppings on my burgers can be anything except ketchup and mayonnaise. I have no preference on the bun type, though I do enjoy when they toast it.
Just from that above description, you can see why I am drawn to Whataburger. Whataburger toasts their buns, almost every burger comes with mustard unless you ask for something different and they do get a nice char on the patty itself. In-N-Out is no slouch to me either, in fact, I really like their burgers. They cook the meat a little better than Whataburger but there are quirks that kind of get to me. For one, the sauce is on the bottom of the burger along with the tomato and lettuce (if you don’t exclude them from your order). This is just strange to someone who is used to having mustard on the top bun. Granted, the flavors the sauce gives off may not be changed by the fact that it’s on the bottom, but it is a curious place for sauce. The other thing that troubles me about In-N-Out is the meat patty’s texture. It’s not that it feels off or bad, it is just different than what I am used to eating and what is even more strange is that it hasn’t been that way at every location. I do enjoy a visit to In-N-Out every time I am in California and wish there was one in Houston to satisfy my cravings for their spread.
This is not to say that Whataburger is without flaw. They are notorious for smashing the top bun down onto the rest of the toppings, leaving you with a flat, soggy mess. Whataburger, in my opinion, also has an issue with its bacon. It is way too crispy when compared to the rest of the burger and the eater is usually left with a bunch of bacon-bits after taking the first bite. Lastly, Whataburger is usually consistent in their ability to get food to customers while it is still hot, but there have been a few times where it’s come out stone cold. Whataburger fills a niche spot for me. They are great when I’m on the road and there is not a DQ anywhere in sight and I need a burger, Dr. Pepper, and some hot fries.
I think everyone has their preference, for instance, Paul has an unhealthy obsession with McDonald’s which, in and of itself is inexcusable, but he’s Pauldo and we let it slide (for now). In all honesty, both In-N-Out and Whataburger make good burgers that will do in a pinch, but when I’m looking for a really tasty burger, I’ll make the drive to Christian’s Totem, Hubcap Grill, Lankford Grocery, Sam’s Deli Diner or Sparkle’s Hamburger Spot before giving any chain a second thought.
Where do you stand, Loopsters?