Better than Pizza Rat
July 25, 2019 8:42 PM   Subscribe

 
Case closed
posted by thelonius at 8:59 PM on July 25, 2019 [8 favorites]


In-N-Out is the perfect burger chain for California. It’s good because everyone says it’s good, but when you really assess the product there’s just...nothing there.
posted by invitapriore at 9:01 PM on July 25, 2019 [14 favorites]


The secrets to In-N-Out are:

A) It's open until at least 1AM, every single day
B) The entire meal costs $7
C) Everyone is making significantly more than they would at any other store, and the service shows it.
D) The operation is built from the ground up to handle literal bus loads of people coming through the front door.
E) I've been to probably 30 different stores in 3 states, and they are all exactly the same.

Yeah, Shake Shack has booze and more options (including mustard pumps for your fries), but it costs $30 fucking dollars. Five Guys is OK, but the quality kinda varies, also much more expensive. Fat Burger was good during the glory years, but now kinda blows.

My favorite California chain is The Hamburger Habit. Very decent burger, $10 bucks or so, open until 10PM.
posted by sideshow at 9:23 PM on July 25, 2019 [65 favorites]


Now, if we want to talk hamburger chains, let's walk Whataburger. Because that is like the hamburger form of crack or something. (And they're so regional! *weeps*)
posted by hippybear at 9:23 PM on July 25, 2019 [15 favorites]


The freshness and quality versus something like McDonald's is great, but in a world with five guys, which is an improved version of in n out and probably in a big city near you, a lack of in n out in your town shouldn't leave a burger shaped hole in your heart.

The local analog here in Minneapolis is New Glarus Brewing, which only sells in Wisconsin; they won't sell in other states. They're a decent craft brew house like a thousand others. When you cross the border from Minneapolis, every gas station within 100 miles is loaded to the gills with the stuff. And maybe the rest of the state too, I don't know. They make decent beer and I always pick some up when I'm over there, but I'd never roll over to sconny just for that. But they are super hyped due to the local exclusivity.
posted by MillMan at 9:25 PM on July 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


“I’ve been to In-N-Out, just like millions of other people, and I don’t get it,” said John Hamburger, who runs Franchise Times, an industry publication.

It is with a heavy heart that I ponder how many times daily this man must hear the same two or three jokes. I imagine he must regret not having pursued that job offer in industrial varnish back just after college.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:34 PM on July 25, 2019 [71 favorites]


i mean sure in n out is okay and whataburger is fine and shake shack is pretty good once you get through the lines but when you get down to it you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a bag of dicks.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:38 PM on July 25, 2019 [102 favorites]


We have Dicks where I live! I've bought a bag of Dicks many times!
posted by hippybear at 9:41 PM on July 25, 2019 [28 favorites]


In-N-Out is only decent at best and I get it maybe once per year, but the lines are torturous and their fries are Un-American-ly bad. I can totally see someone writing it off after hearing all about it forever and then finally having it.

The Habit is my choice for neo-burger chains, but I haven't been to Five Guys because my brother said their fries are bad. He could just have been taking the piss, but it's kept me away so far. If I'm really gonna burger it up, I go to Nation's, which is really something else and the only place like it that I know of anymore.
posted by rhizome at 9:46 PM on July 25, 2019 [4 favorites]


The fries at in-n-out suck -- not intrinsically, but the style is just crap. They aim for crap fries, and they nail crap fries. The burgers are ok, but nothing too special (better than McDonald's, about the same as Wendy's, not as good as Whataburger, miles worse than Fuddrucker).
posted by smcameron at 9:47 PM on July 25, 2019 [8 favorites]


A five guys hamburger costs $7. An In-n-Out hamburger costs $2.10. I don't know why anyone puts them in the same paragraph.

In-n-Out is perfect greasy spoon hangover food. It's unadorned and it tastes good. Californians love In-n-Out because we all started eating it in high school/college when we were broke and our friends all worked there for decent pay. If you go there expecting an $7 burger you'll probably be disappointed.
posted by muddgirl at 9:50 PM on July 25, 2019 [43 favorites]


We are well and truly spoiled in Atlanta with a bunch of incredible local burger places including, but not limited to, Ms. Anne's Snack Shop (R.I.P.), Grindhouse, Holman & Finch, and Zesto. I'd like to try In-N-Out someday, but in the meantime I'm better'n good
posted by Maaik at 9:51 PM on July 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


Burger costs come from the internet. YMMV (your menu may vary).
posted by muddgirl at 9:53 PM on July 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


I used to live in California and I now live in North Carolina, which has two fast food hamburger chains that are both better and cheaper than In-n-out: Chargrill and Cook Out. Come visit and order a peanut butter + banana milkshake. In-n-out burgers are totally fine, but I think they have my absolute least favorite fast food fries. They have no flavor at all and they're always cold.
posted by JZig at 9:58 PM on July 25, 2019 [4 favorites]


in n out has good burgers in that they dont look like smushed hot garbage as do most chain burgers. they are attractive things that look like actual food.
in contrast, comparing a mcdonalds or bk burger advertisement side by side to the real product is comical- they dont even look remotely the same.

the fries though, as everyone recognizes, are gross.
posted by wibari at 9:59 PM on July 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


We are well and truly spoiled in Atlanta with a bunch of incredible local burger places including, but not limited to, Ms. Anne's Snack Shop (R.I.P.), Grindhouse, Holman & Finch, and Zesto.

I got reallllly into Yeah Burger; their salted caramel milkshakes are incredible
posted by taquito sunrise at 10:01 PM on July 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


The best thing about Five Guys is when my family gets together and my mom asks what we want to eat and my brother says “I want Five Guys” and then I make a joke that my mother doesn’t get and she ends up asking a friend what a “glory hole” is.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:02 PM on July 25, 2019 [58 favorites]


I like in n out fries. Yeah, I said it.
posted by davejay at 10:05 PM on July 25, 2019 [28 favorites]


i hate to repeat myself but i must stress that there’s no reason to get five guys when you could eat a bag of dicks instead.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:06 PM on July 25, 2019 [12 favorites]


I like in n out fries. Yeah, I said it.

Me too, especially animal style.
posted by 445supermag at 10:10 PM on July 25, 2019 [3 favorites]




when you really assess the product there’s just...nothing there.

You shut your hole pigmonster!

there’s no reason to get five guys

...yeah, OK, can confirm.
posted by aramaic at 10:11 PM on July 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


but I haven't been to Five Guys because my brother said their fries are bad. He could just have been taking the piss, but it's kept me away so far.

No, they're bad. Every time I've had them they're bad.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:12 PM on July 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


Wendy's fries are also pretty awful, truly.

A batch of McD's fries cooked exactly to spec and served totally fresh is one of the most amazing things ever. This, however, rarely happens outside of having a Regional Manager visit and time for the crew to prep.
posted by hippybear at 10:16 PM on July 25, 2019 [9 favorites]


A five guys hamburger costs $7. An In-n-Out hamburger costs $2.10. I don't know why anyone puts them in the same paragraph.

$2.40 versus $6.20, in n out patties are 1/8 lb versus 1/4 lb at five guys, five guys has more toppings. So it's not that far off. If you want the simple in n out cheeseburger, then sure.
posted by MillMan at 10:17 PM on July 25, 2019


Like millions of people, I’ve heard the same five comments about in’n’out, and I just don’t get it
posted by flaterik at 10:19 PM on July 25, 2019 [9 favorites]


I also find In-N-Out to be some of the best extremely cheap fast food around, at least the burgers (animal style). It's in the same category as Wendy's or McD's, except very simple menu and good quality. 5 Guys is not in the same ballpark, you pay way more for a way better product.
posted by PennD at 10:22 PM on July 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


i mean sure in n out is okay and whataburger is fine and shake shack is pretty good once you get through the lines but when you get down to it you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a bag of dicks.

Dick's only tastes good if it's 2 AM and you're drunk. That shit is greasy as fuck, which is where the Seattle epithet of "Go eat a greasy sack of Dick's!" gets most of it's fricative force.

You also can't customize your order at all. You get whatever burger is next under the heat lamp. Even if it's busy any burger you order is going to be at least 5-10 minutes old because that's how they do it. It's like a McDonald's with a heavy drinking problem. It might be hard working and it might treat it's employees well, but it'll turn surly on you and give you a heap of verbal abuse if you ask for extra onions or extra anything.

Don't want wilted lettuce that doesn't taste like warm sick on your Dick's Deluxe? Are you vegetarian and just want cheese and burger veggies? Too bad. Go somewhere else.

Whataburger is ok but is comparatively expensive and you might be better off going to a no name charburger joint or even a Sonic.

Five Guys is ok, but stupid expensive for a burger joint. Sure, they give you a lot of fries. Go eat a potato. For the price I'd rather go to Burgerville.

In-n-Out is the only thing I miss about California that isn't either a human or a Mission style Super Burrito.

Yeah, ok, I have opinions. It tastes like my childhood. It reminds me of going surfing with my dad or working my tail off all day and going to In-n-Out for a hearty lunch.

My dad isn't a foody and it's basically the only restaurant I've ever seen him get excited about. I remember the first time we went to one and I must have been like 10 or something, and we were figuring out what to do for lunch and it was revealed that I had, somehow, managed to not have visited an In-n-Out before then, and his reaction was like "Wait, what do you mean you've never been to In-n-Out? I am a failure. We're fixing that right now." And so we went to one of the classic drive-through only locations and ate outside as is best for an In-n-Out in California.

In-n-Out is a goddamn institution. Whataburgeer, Five Guys, Dick's, Burgerville and Sonic all wish they could be In-n-Out and their supply chain of fresh everything and ingredients that actually look like food because they are just basic ingredients that are actually food.

It's like what McDonald's should have been or likely was back in the 50s before it turned to plastic food, heat lamps, global expansionism and salting the fries with the tears of overworked, underpaid employees.

They aim for crap fries, and they nail crap fries.

the fries though, as everyone recognizes, are gross.

And you can shut your infidel mouths! Those fries are manna from heaven! They make them from real potatoes, not the frozen starchy pre-blanched parboiled Sysco crap you get anywhere else. Both Dick's and Five Guys have garbage fries. The fries at In-n-Out actually taste like food because they were whole potatoes just minutes before they went into the fryer!

Get In-n-Out fries extra crispy and add salt. Or order them animal style and get messy.
posted by loquacious at 10:23 PM on July 25, 2019 [33 favorites]


Best value is definitely Wendy's 4 for $4. And fries are second class everywhere now since transfat was banned.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:28 PM on July 25, 2019


Also pretty disappointed to find the proverbial bag of dicks contains no actual dick
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:29 PM on July 25, 2019 [9 favorites]


Five Guys is all right, but the burgers are kind of mushy gutbombs. Five Guys burgers are delicious compacted pig slop. I don't actually enjoy a Five Guys burger, I just kind of endure it and have no memory of the taste but a bad feeling in my stomach. The fries are all right -- and such large portions! -- but the real truth is that McDonalds has the best fries; admit it, coward.

Habit is my preference. The onion rings are perfection, and they will double-malt the shake if you ask.
posted by fleacircus at 10:30 PM on July 25, 2019 [4 favorites]


Five Guys is all right, but the burgers are kind of mushy gutbombs

Their standard burger is two patties, but their buns are not up to the challenge, therefore yes, they turn into mush.

Order the "junior", one patty, and the whole thing is a lot tighter.
posted by mikelieman at 10:32 PM on July 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


Seconding the defense of In-N-Out fries. They don't double-fry their fries like most fast-food chains do, which means that if you like them (and I do, they grew on me) In-N-Out is the only place where you can get them.

Also, to me they taste like high school memories, because they're super cheap and open decently late and more amenable to a bunch of teenagers dicking around than most businesses. I suspect it's the same for a lot of people who grew up in California.
posted by bring a tuba to a knife fight at 10:47 PM on July 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


Does Dick's still have peppermint ice cream? The one time I went to "Richard's on Broadway" which my friend said was the sophisticated thing to call it (while cracking up), they had peppermint ice cream in the middle of the summer, which is unheard of elsewhere. The burgers were ok, the ice cream was divine.

(The Five Guys where I live makes a better burger than the Shake Shack down the street. I want to beer loyal to Shake Shack, but Five Guys isn't a fucking madhouse of undergrads and has better tasting burgers.)
posted by Hactar at 10:49 PM on July 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


in n out has good burgers

Shut the fuck up, Donny.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:54 PM on July 25, 2019 [10 favorites]


Of course the guy who runs a publication focusing on franchises doesn't get it. In & Out isn't a franchise.
posted by Lukenlogs at 10:56 PM on July 25, 2019 [7 favorites]


In-n-out is overrated and their fries suck. If you like crunchy, mealy fries, more power to you, but if you want the crisp-on-the-outside, melt-in-your-mouth-on-the-inside ideal of fries, it can't miss the mark harder. Five Guys fries are good if they're fresh, and very good if you order them cajun-style, but if you let them sit in the bag for longer than a minute, they wilt and sog out a bit more than I'd like. I still like soggy Five Guys fries better than In-n-Out fries.

That said, growing up in the Portland, OR area, what I really miss is Mike's Drive-in. I have yet to find a place that even comes close to that experience in the Bay Area.
posted by Aleyn at 10:57 PM on July 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


I've taken to boycotting In N Out since learning that the owners are fundie Christians who donated to Trump. Also it is over-rated, very greasy and bad for digestion.

Please tell me that the owners of The Habit aren't fascist. Also, I'd welcome a Burgerville south of Oregon.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 11:07 PM on July 25, 2019 [9 favorites]


He who hasn't tried a Buttburger hasn't lived.
posted by Termite at 11:43 PM on July 25, 2019


The Habit Burger Grill is owned by the private equity firm KarpReilly. The full portfolio, if it helps suss out company leanings.

For a place with "habit" right in the title, I'm surprised there isn't a frequent-customer punch card. Surprised, not bitter.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:06 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


I live in Cook Out county and it is indeed pretty amazing fast food for the value. The real deal is the Cook Out Tray. I don't know how to do the math, I guess it's a permutation? But you pick one "entree" choice and 2 "side" choices, and a drink, for like $5.55+local tax. With all the different items you can get a lot of variety in tastes & caloric intake, plus many of the items have published, non-secret variations. I love going with other people multiple times to learn about their favorite Tray setup. For me it's a cajun chicken sandwich, cajun fries, cole slaw, and unsweet tea. But lately, for variety I've been doing 2 hot dogs Cook-Out style, ranch wrap, onion rings, unsweet tea.

Basically it's 3AM and I'm really hungry for fast food now, but if you travelers from offt (the "t' is pronounced) are ever near one, give it a shot.
posted by glonous keming at 12:21 AM on July 26, 2019


Dick’s isn’t about the quality of the meat, it’s the experience. Seattle’s shit don’t stink and we don’t do fast food. There’s literally 2 McDonald’s here and I can’t think of a Burger King.

But every once in a while...

Maybe you’ve got a car load of kids you’re bringing home from the beach. Maybe its midnight and your band just killed it at The Blue Moon. Maybe you’re drunk as shit on a bar crawl at 2 am. Somehow you’re in a Prius that pulls into that parking lot under the big glowing orange sign and you’re surrounded by your fellow Seattleites and the vibes are all good and you still get to feel smug because the beef is all grass fed and the potatoes locally sourced and the kids behind the counter are making a reasonable wage and decent benefits and getting $ for college and everyone’s just blissful and sometimes literally high fiving each other because they are about to suck down a bag of greasy Dicks.

Long live Dick.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:33 AM on July 26, 2019 [10 favorites]


No love for White Castle? Open 24 hours a day.
posted by Marky at 12:46 AM on July 26, 2019 [7 favorites]


Having tried In-N-Out when I visited Las Vegas a couple years back, my best guess is that it's so beloved because it is probably what McDonald's once was, back when it was still a new thing: a place where you choose from a small menu of freshly prepared items that are fairly inexpensive. Other places have gone on to provide much better food, but I can see the value of In-N-Out doing what 2019 considers Reasonably Good even back in, like, 1985.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:59 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


I go to Seattle once a year, for a conference at MoPop, I buy a book at the nice little bookstore on Queen Ann run by the lesbian, and read whatever it is at Dick's and it is the happiest hour in my life that year,
posted by PinkMoose at 1:27 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also Culver's is maybe the best regional chain outside of Dick's but have not been to in and out or whataburger.
posted by PinkMoose at 1:27 AM on July 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


I've taken to boycotting In N Out since learning that the owners are fundie Christians who donated to Trump.

Maybe, but it's complicated.
posted by Optamystic at 3:11 AM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


For my money P. Terry's can whip them all, including Whataburger. (Yeah, I said it! Suck it, Whataburger, your cajun fries are weird and I like my fries salty and greasy anyway!)

I was going to be all outraged that no one else had mentioned them, but then I looked it up and they're basically all in Austin, so I guess it's kind of like the Alamo Draft house and I'm gonna be fucked when I leave. But they are just about the perfect mixture of cheap vs good vs fast - - $2.50ish burger, tastes and smells like actual real, good fresh food, not a ton of menu options but everything that is there genuinely tastes good. Smallish portion sizes but I'm a small sciatrix and they're just the right size for me, which is rare.

And they understand the value of a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie, for which I will forgive a lot. Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are the best possible flavor, but far too many companies only offer the vastly inferior oatmeal raisin offering. P. Terry's by contrast elevates the status of chocolate chip oatmeal cookie to the main non-milkshake dessert option, which is really the best possible choice.

And I get to feel all affectionate about Discworld every time I see one.
posted by sciatrix at 3:46 AM on July 26, 2019 [8 favorites]


Dick's is not gourmet. Who gives a rip? In-N-Out, the one time I have been to one, made no damn sense. I am a native born and raised Northern Californian who never saw an In-N-Out until I went back for a visit several years after I left. Family told me I had to go, the lines were fairly long and the drive-thru was busy. The burger was fair; the fries were OK. The cult makes no sense. People who do not grow up with them praise them and I can not figure out why.

There is no pretense to Dick's. Food, fries, drink, and ice cream in a (small) choice of forms. Need burgers for twenty, Dick's and done. Need a tasty snack, done. Want additional onions, 5¢, get a cup with chopped onions and add them yourself. Dick's has a system. The system works. They even let you pay with credit or debit cards now. Dick's is a business that sells a measure of joy at a great rate. In-N-Out as a business is much the same but Dick's fries are better. Maybe not the crisp pomme frites exterior McDonalds has conditioned people to call fries, but they are tasty, take condiments well, and fill your belly without indigestion. The In-N-Out fries just lacked flavor outside of the salt. I would eat there again. I will always have to stop my self from stopping at Dick's. Special, fries, and a strawberry shake do not a good diet make.

Come to Seattle. Eat at Dick's.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 3:50 AM on July 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


My mother used to work near the first In-N-Out and tells me that there's no relation between what they currently serve and what they originally did, in terms of quality.

I've become extremely partial to Bill Gray's, myself.
posted by thomas j wise at 3:55 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also, that whole "it's complicated" article only states that they put references to Bible verses on the packaging and doesn't really talk at all about the Snyder's donations or anything about the profit margins.

Having been burned once by a college-age fondness for Hobby Lobby yarn and twice by observing the obsession with Chik Fila... yeah, no, I don't shop at any corporation that is that insistent on my knowing that their owners believe in Jesus. They always turn out to be incredibly hateful when you flip them over and look at the underbelly.

The corps that are run by Christians who care deeply about social issues and put their money where their mouths are to help workers and communities never seem to feel that it matters all that much that you know they're Christian (cf HEB); the ones who insist on putting it on their stuff always turn out to restrict anything remotely nice they do for others to other people who fit their idea of good Christians, and usually donate to shit that hurts queer people and people from other religions at minimum as well. Nope, I'm good thanks.
posted by sciatrix at 3:55 AM on July 26, 2019 [25 favorites]


I'm surprised Steak n' Shake hasn't come up yet. Personally, that's my pick for fast food burger and fries, although it's also the chain that I grew up with, so maybe it's just nostalgia talking.

I was definitely underwhelmed when I went to In-N-Out for the first time after hearing how amazing it is. Five Guys is similarly underwhelming and overpriced, although I've mostly eaten there when I'm at an airport, so maybe that's not fair to judge. Shake Shack is fine, but I don't go out of my way to eat there, ever. And I prefer thinner cut fries, even if objectively I think their fries are pretty good.
posted by litera scripta manet at 4:05 AM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


Actually, this thread kind of reminds me of that "objectively best pizza thread" from a few weeks ago. Maybe fast food burger preferences are like pizza preferences: You tend to imprint on whatever subpar fast food hamburger you grow up eating.
posted by litera scripta manet at 4:07 AM on July 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


I grew up on Steak n' Shake. Have ordered the same meal now for about 35 years. Unfortunately I moved away from St. Louis a few years ago, and the aren't any convenient to me. I do feel like the quality has slipped a bit. There's nothing better than a good Orange Freeze and their chili, though.

No love for White Castle?

Love? No. A sort of misguided nostalgia, and a healthy side of fear from my GI tract, perhaps.
posted by jzb at 4:15 AM on July 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


jzb: Steak n' Shake cans their chili. My mother mails me a box full of it every now and then. Maybe they ship?
posted by hototogisu at 4:20 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


in n out has good burgers

Shut the fuck up, Donny.
they're good burgers, garg
posted by Mayor West at 4:28 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


My partner and I were thinking about burgers lately and went into this thing called "The Burger's Priest" and it looked like you could get a burger, with nothing else, for like $12, and if you wanted to drink something or have fries, that would jack you up towards $20, and of course they wanted extra for the inevitably fall-apart gluten-free bun.

There is no hamburger that is worth that kind of money.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:35 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


I haven't been to Five Guys because my brother said their fries are bad.

I wish I felt this way, it would be a lot better for my diet!

On a good day, Five Guys’ fries come close enough to boardwalk fries (vinegar and all) and they’re just heaven.

In n Out fries...I couldn’t believe how bad they were!
posted by sallybrown at 4:42 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Both Dick's and Five Guys have garbage fries. The fries at In-n-Out actually taste like food because they were whole potatoes just minutes before they went into the fryer!

I hate to tell you this, but both places you claim have crap fries in fact cut fresh potatoes on site as well. Neither Five Guys nor Dick's use the shit from Sysco that you bemoan.

And look, I'm not defending them; don't know Dick's really, and Five Guys fries are super hit or miss. But, it's not fresh vs frozen.

(For the record, I have done a lot of "let's try this local chain" on road trips, and In-N-Out was a baffling disappointment and I have no earthly idea why it's famous in places it doesn't exist)
posted by tocts at 4:43 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


When I first saw THE BIG LEBOWSKI I thought In-N-Out was a made up restaurant. When I moved to California my mind was blown. It's been fifteen years, but I've still never been to one (not much of a meat eater) but I still think it's neat that it exists.
posted by brundlefly at 4:49 AM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


PTerrys in Austin is the best cheapest burger you’re gonna get anywhere like sciatrix said.

Dicks is fucking disgusting, I live across the park from “Richards on Broadway”. Every time I’ve tried to eat there holy shit I have regretted it.

Little big burger is pretty damn good but TRUFFLE FRIES ARE FUCKING GROSS.

Haven’t tried Katsu Butger yet.

Also Whataburger is good, they sold to a private equity firm though.

If you love yourself you’ll make the trek to Dairy-ette in Dallas Texas and get a cold ass root beer with your burger.
posted by nikaspark at 4:54 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yeah put me down in the "I don't get In-N-Out" camp. I've been there a few times and it's... fine. It's what McDonalds aspires to be and probably was at some point in the distant past. As road trip foods go, it's totally acceptable.

But the weird cultish obsession with the place hurts it. It's just not that good, and the expectations it sets—and doesn't live up to—are not realistic for a place selling sub-$5 hamburgers. It's good only when the quality is divided by the price, I think, or if you're really stoned.

Also, chucking raw potatoes in a fryer is a marginal way to make french fries, at best. They're fine when they're warm (I mean, it's fried potatoes, they're not going to be bad) but I'm of the opinion that a truly good fry requires the low-temp/high-temp two stage cooking, and I didn't see any evidence of this. It's why their fries are so limp. In fairness, I take the same issue with Five Guys, and arguably it's just part of the "boardwalk" style I guess. And I'll certainly eat the things if they're in front of me. But a properly par-cooked-then-flash-fried fry is IMO better overall, even if you freeze it between the par cooking and flash fry steps. I would rather have "crispy" over some nebulous "freshness", personally.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:10 AM on July 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


Do you know where I had some really good food, good enough that I remember it more than twenty years later? Mountain west-ish chain The Arctic Circle. Sadly, I've never been back in the region but if I ever do go, I'm totally in.

My young adulthood was spent as a fairly committed vegetarian and then a vegan, and even now I I rarely eat meat (Arctic Circle was an exception while traveling) , so my current favorite is the Wizard Burger at the Seward Cafe in Minneapolis - it's made of mung beans!

But seriously, I still yearn for those Arctic Circle milkshakes, and yet it seems like no one has ever heard of them.
posted by Frowner at 5:13 AM on July 26, 2019


I like In-N-Out just fine. I think it's totally overrated, but it's cheap and always fresh. It's where I always knew I could get some decent food when I was on a long drive through the Central Valley and didn't want to take my chances with the BBQ Ranch or whatever. I think animal style is gross, and I just get a regular dang cheeseburger. Didn't know there were weird Christian/maybe right-wing connections, but it's a moot point since I sadly no longer live out West anyway.

I HATE Five Guys though. The whole chain started around here, so for a while I had some kind of weird DC-area pride that kept me from admitting to myself how much I hated it. But I hate it. The burgers are greasy. The fries are greasy. The air in and around the store is greasy. Everything is just soggy, hot, and gross. Fucking no. I hate Five Guys so much.

I have to say, Habit is actually pretty good. But honestly, cheapness goes a long way with me. I'd certainly rather have something cheap and decent than be paying through the nose for some greasy bullshit. So while they're not the best burgers I've ever had, I've certainly had worse than In-N-Out.

Also, I never wait for the drive-through because it's always so much faster to get out and just order inside.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 5:20 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


It is with a heavy heart that I ponder how many times daily this man must hear the same two or three jokes.

"It's pronounced 'Om-ber-ZHAY!'"
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:23 AM on July 26, 2019 [13 favorites]


It's hard to tell how good the Five Guys burger is, since they pile 3 pounds of loose greasy-ass fries on top of it, for which you pay like $3 or $4 extra, which is $2 more than I want to pay for fries.

I do not go to a burger place for fries. I especially do not want to go through a french fry obstacle course to get the burger that I came in to order. Get the damn fries out of the way. Don't make me dig, or pour them out. WTF Five Guys?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:24 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


I can totally see someone writing it [In n Out] off after hearing all about it forever and then finally having it.

That would be me.


Everyone is making significantly more than they would at any other store, and the service shows it.

That was not my experience. The service, I mean.

I went to a 5 Guys in downtown Boston, and was not very impressed.


Friendy's used to have pretty good burgers, and good fries, too. I say used to, because they've closed all the restaurants anywhere near me.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:26 AM on July 26, 2019


Once every couple of years, In-N-Out open a shop in London for an afternoon. Word gets out and a stampede ensues, then as with everything else in London, people queue for hours to be slightly disappointed.

Nobody knows why they do it. There's absolutely no indication of them setting up a UK operation. They just open up for a day with a load of flown-in food, then vanish again. Bizarre.
posted by Buck Alec at 5:30 AM on July 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


My partner and I were thinking about burgers lately and went into this thing called "The Burger's Priest" and it looked like you could get a burger, with nothing else, for like $12, and if you wanted to drink something or have fries, that would jack you up towards $20, and of course they wanted extra for the inevitably fall-apart gluten-free bun.

There is no hamburger that is worth that kind of money.


I don't know about their gluten-free bun, but you don't get to talk shit about Burger's Priest because their burgers are some of the best burgers I've ever eaten and I've eaten every burger discussed in this article so far except for Whataburger. Burger's Priest is fantastic.
posted by mightygodking at 5:32 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


My first exposure to Whataburger was in the Houston airport so take this with a grain of salt, but.... my experience with Whataburger could be best described as "greasy Hardee's"
posted by thecjm at 5:35 AM on July 26, 2019


My first exposure to Whataburger was in the Houston airport

The most important rule of any chain is "the airport store never counts."
posted by mightygodking at 5:37 AM on July 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


The most important rule of any chain is "the airport store never counts."

Unless it’s a Cinnabon.
posted by notyou at 5:40 AM on July 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


I used to really, really like b.Good. The burgers were juicy, the (air) fries had a great blend of seasoning, and /almost/ everything was locally sourced from area farms and/or gardens located on the roofs of parking garages.

But then their expansion coincided with the arrival of Shake Shack and they got pigeon-holed into being the farm-to-table burger chain. They excised the few non-local things from their menu (no more diet coke! How dare!), greenwashed their menu to emphasize kale bowls (we're not a burger place, we're a kale place that happens to sell burgers), changed bakers, and really jacked up their prices. And then they got that sweetheart deal to take over the farm that previously supplied area homeless shelters.

b.Good was great when they were a local burger chain. Why'd they have to ruin it?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:43 AM on July 26, 2019


In Toronto, we had a local chain called Burger's Priest that blew everyone else out of the water. Quality meat, obviously took care to make the burgers, and they had a fun secret menu that originally spread by word of mouth but eventually showed up on their website but only if you answered a bible trivia question (the owner was not kidding about the "Priest" part of their name.

None of the new wave of US burger places had made it up to Canada at the time (we eventually got Five Guys up here) so Burger's Priest was it. And it was great.

Then he sold the chain (I think he kept the original location) to a company that owns most any Canadian chain restaurant you would have heard of (seriously they own Harvey's AND Swiss Chalet AND The Keg AND Pickle Barrel AND St-Hubert AND most every suburban Canadian sit-down chain). The quality and service at Burger's Priest dropped while they kept the premium pricing and I've quit going.
posted by thecjm at 5:45 AM on July 26, 2019


I didn't say the Burger's Priest burger was bad. I said there was no way it was worth what they were charging. There's no way a burger -- chopped fatty beef -- should cost upwards of $12.

Anyway, is Fuddruckers still a thing in the US South? I liked their burgers. They ground up the cows right there in front of you. I remember that some people didn't like them, but they were always juicy with just the right texture, and the buns didn't disintegrate. (Back when I could eat wheat.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:46 AM on July 26, 2019


We used to get in trouble for calling them Fuckrudders when I was a kid. The ones near me were gross, though.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 5:49 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


My wife and I both tend to prefer big pub-style burgers loaded with stuff, so we don't usually seek out fast food burgers. Out of the local options, though, I tend to prefer Tasty Burger.

I went to an In N Out once while I was on a business trip. The only thing I remember about that meal was that I got panhandled while I was in the restaurant, which is the only time I've had that experience.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:50 AM on July 26, 2019


I didn't say the Burger's Priest burger was bad. I said there was no way it was worth what they were charging. There's no way a burger -- chopped fatty beef -- should cost upwards of $12.

That depends on ingredients and labour costs, though. A Double Big Mac - which in terms of amount of meat and cheese is about equivalent to a standard BP double cheeseburger - costs $7.19. But the BP burger uses ground chuck steak for its patties, while the Big Mac is using... look, McDonald's honestly isn't bad when it comes to ingredients, but they're not using premium stuff. And the BP employees are earning $15/hour (or at least were before the chain was bought) because they're relatively skilled employees working at an actual grill, while McD's employees are minimum wage and cook the burgers in a specific burger-cooking machine.

Like, most diner burgers - which generally run about $8-10 - are frozen patties. They just have to be. The BP patty is better and you're paying for it.
posted by mightygodking at 6:12 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


sideshow: "The secrets to In-N-Out are:

A) The name makes teenagers giggle

posted by chavenet at 6:17 AM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


While in CA for two years, I tried 4 different In-and-outs before I gave up. Trully just bland, sad food. The fries are inevitable, and the toppings don't help.

I SEVERELY miss Jack in the Box. It's crappy fast food, but it blows In and Out away. The fries are incredible. The burgers are tasty and actually filling when compared to McD or BK. And they come in a real variety.
posted by es_de_bah at 6:22 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


In-N-Out was there during an especially difficult part of my life. I was living in San Fransisco fulfilling the terms of a graduate fellowship for a summer. My family was back in our city, so I was paying to maintain two households and every extra dollar I spent on myself was one less dollar for my family. The place I was renting was safe, but lacked a kitchen other than a mini fridge and George Foreman grill. I ate a lot of hard boiled eggs that I carefully microwaved and heated up a lot of toast on the George Foreman.

During the rare times that had a rental car I always drove straight to the In-N-Out in Milpitas and had a delicious meal for $3-$7. It always felt like a luxury I could afford. I still visit In-N-Out for my first meal when I visit California, which will be six times in the next three months. My husband doesn't really get the love, but he's not there when I happily eat my lunch and listen to podcasts in my car.
posted by Alison at 6:27 AM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


As mentioned above, I go to 5 guys when I want to blow $20 on a double bacon burger better than I make at home, The Habit when I want a bbq bacon char, and In N Out when I want to go back to my time in LA in the 80s when the nearest In N Out was on Venice...
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 6:27 AM on July 26, 2019


We don’t do much beef but when I do source good organic beef and a decent bun here in Toronto it costs me close to $6 and that’s before labour and rent. What concerns me is while my food costs go way up, fast food doesn’t. Makes me worry about their supply chain.

I didn’t know that Burger’s Priest sold out, it was great.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:36 AM on July 26, 2019


The thing is, the New York media is obsessed with In-N-Out. This is definitely another pizza rat situation. Once I left New York I got really annoyed with this sort of drivel becoming national news. Pizza rat broke when I lived in Oregon and everyone was like omg and I was like... yeah, it's a rat. With a slice of pizza. Okay. What's next, national attention to a pigeon on the A train?
posted by Automocar at 6:44 AM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


Steak n' Shake cans their chili. My mother mails me a box full of it every now and then. Maybe they ship?

They do not, as far as I know. It's been a while since I checked. However, I have half a case of the canned chili in my house currently, down from a full case earlier this year. Every year on the way home from visiting family we pass a Steak 'n Shake and stop for lunch, and I buy up whatever they have. Usually get some raised eyebrows, but I get my chili.
posted by jzb at 6:46 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


I want to go back to my time in LA in the 80s when the nearest In N Out was on Venice

You know what else is on Venice? Howard’s Famous Bacon & Avocado Burgers.
posted by Slothrup at 6:46 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Call me back when one of these chains starts serving any of the (legitimately good!) beef alternatives.

[Also, if you ever end up in an airport with a Five Guys in the morning, try a breakfast sandwich! It's a hugely satisfying grease-bomb that they actually cook fresh on the griddle]
posted by schmod at 6:47 AM on July 26, 2019


For an actual burger, I like homemade from the grill from freshly ground grassfed beef and my own fixings.

For fast food, In-N-Out is it. Pleasingly bland, industrial-charm restaurant.

I don‘t really see the two foods as comparable.
posted by The Toad at 6:53 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Call me back when one of these chains starts serving any of the (legitimately good!) beef alternatives.

If you live in San Francisco you can get an Impossible Burger Whopper.

White Castle also has the Impossible Slider.
posted by jeremias at 7:02 AM on July 26, 2019


Carl's Jr. has beyond burger patties now, and they seem to know how to cook them too.

Honestly as much as I have defended In-n-Out here, my actual California fast food craving was always Carl's. And no, it doesn't taste the same when they open outside the state. I can't explain it either.
posted by muddgirl at 7:11 AM on July 26, 2019


I went to Burger's Priest when one opened up near me - the burger was fine but vastly too expensive and the fries were rubbish but what really put me off was the creepy religious scripture on the walls.
posted by dazed_one at 7:13 AM on July 26, 2019


needs an eponysterical tag.
posted by DigDoug at 7:26 AM on July 26, 2019


No love for White Castle? Open 24 hours a day.

Growing up in Canada, I had no exposure to some of the chains people are mentioning in this thread, and in my younger days, I did sometimes make attempts to visit them when I was in the US for whatever reason. Some were better than I expected, some were worse.

Allow me to report based on my trip to White Castle in Columbus, OH, that they are definitely open 24 hours a day.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:26 AM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure what it means when someone likes In-n-Out burgers enough to grab some for the trip home to NYC, or that In-n-Out has burger versions with no sauce and veggies on the side to make things last longer.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:26 AM on July 26, 2019


Fries are almost universally terrible no matter where you get them. I don't understand the appeal. McDonalds fries *used* to be good, but that was a long long time ago. Today, the only fries worth ordering come from Rally's (or Checker's, depending on your region.) Their burgers are.. eh.. but it's worth a trip out of the way just for their fries.

Culver's is a good burger. On the pricy side, as it'll cost you $12 for a full combo (definitely pay the extra $1 to upgrade the fries to cheese curds. their fries are also pretty sad.)

Blake's Lotaburger. Green chile cheeseburger. This is a burger that will make you move to New Mexico.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:50 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


The best burgers I ever had were from Sam's Pizza in North Beach, San Francisco. I loved them so much that I evangelized them at every opportunity, to the point where Gerorgia from YLT dubbed me the "burger guy." A personal low point, to be sure.

That said, In-N-Out has a permanent spot in my burger hall of fame thanks to their consistency as well as their proximity to Guerneville, the site of many a beer-soaked canoe extravaganza.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:51 AM on July 26, 2019


I was curious to try them and see what all the fuss was about, but the last time we were in California we never got around to to it.

For fast food burgers in Ontario, A&W has become the quality leader in the last few years.
posted by ovvl at 7:54 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


For fast food burgers in Ontario, A&W has become the quality leader in the last few years

A&W has also been a leader in getting the Beyond Meat burger to market.
posted by thecjm at 7:58 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


The best (non fast food):

The Moot House, Fort Collins, Colorado. Fresh cow comes from the next town over, but they also cook it big, perfectly, and with jarlsberg cheese for some reason.

The worst overpriced fancy burger:

Some mealy thing I had at Back Forty in the East Village. Twenty bucks, the size of a hockey puck but basically tasteless and structured so as to be inedible with a non-detaching jaw.

The best fast food burger:

No really, it's still Shake Shack, and their staff and line management can effectively move through twenty people in a few minutes at lunch time. And their airport locations are exactly as good as their terrestrial, and will sell you a bottled iced coffee to carry into the weird iced coffee desserts of the West.


Worst fast food burger:

Hardee's. You'd think White Castle but there at least you know what you're getting. Hardee's cooks everything in the same grease. The burgers. The chicken. The fries. Even the ice cream tastes like the same borderline rancid grease.
posted by abulafa at 8:00 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


People, are we not going to discuss the man's name is John Hamburger?
posted by elwoodwiles at 8:01 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think I saw him under John Cheese at an orgy a decade or so ago.
posted by davelog at 8:04 AM on July 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


That's more like it.
posted by elwoodwiles at 8:08 AM on July 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


“I’ve been to In-N-Out, just like millions of other people, and I don’t get it,” said John Hamburger, who runs Franchise Times, an industry publication.

And just like that somebody has topped the short-lived previous record holder, Five Guys Arrested at Five Guys.
posted by Naberius at 8:26 AM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


And by the way, a Whataburger chocolate shake liberally dosed with Kahlua is utter ambrosia. Or at least it was the last time I had a Whataburger shake, over 20 years ago...
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:44 AM on July 26, 2019


I don't know if we should take what this guy says at face value, he kind of comes off as excessively sarcastic.
posted by mubba at 8:45 AM on July 26, 2019


Seattle’s shit don’t stink and we don’t do fast food.

Untrue. You must atone for the abomination that is Taco Time.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 8:57 AM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


In-n-Out is the only cheap burger place I've ever been to where they cook the patty correctly -- that is, brown on the outside and very slightly pink on the inside. It tastes amazing protein style, the fries are so bad that I never order them, and I hate shakes. So... improbably, In-N-Out is a fairly healthy fast food option for me. I like it for practical reasons. That's good if you live somewhere, but not very impressive if you're just visiting.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:57 AM on July 26, 2019


In-N/Out is good. Are they better than some of the other burgers mentioned in this thread? No. But they’re also less expensive, so they are a better value and, as a result, I enjoy them more than, say, Smashburger which is good but totally not worth the price.

The fries are good, too. While I will grant McDonalds fries represent the platonic ideal of fries, In-N-Out deliberately do theirs differently than everyone else and I respect that. And they’re still good.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 9:02 AM on July 26, 2019


This is basically the plot of The Hot Zone but with burgers
posted by kurumi at 9:13 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


the burgers I imprinted on as a larval octorok at the Fuji Café in SF had nice thin patties and shredded lettuce

so for me the bizarre thick clamshell lettuce slabs they put in their burgers are the only thing standing between In-N-Out and true greatness

(nobody knows how to make good French fries anymore, not anywhere)
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:14 AM on July 26, 2019


Arctic Curcle claims to have invented fry sauce and the kid’s meal, so they have that going for them.

Honestly, they were alright but when I lived in Salt Lake City, they were low on my burger place list because they didn’t do a pastrami burger (which is a big thing in SLC). When I wanted a burger, I was more inclined to go to Palace Burger, Hires Big H, or Iceberg Drive-In (all small, local chains in UT). But B&D Burgers on 13th East was my general go-to.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 9:18 AM on July 26, 2019


I once accidentally helped steal a car to go to In N Out to fetch burgers for a lot of people. I felt bad afterwards, knowing what the car smelled like when we left it.
posted by praemunire at 9:30 AM on July 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


The way this guy feels about In N Out is how I feel about Five Guys burgers: I DO NOT GET the love for them. Every one I've ever had has been bland and underwhelming.

That said, I love their fries, which taste like real potatoes-- I've been known to make a meal of Five Guys fries, a Shake Shack burger, and a soda from McDonald's (all three restaurants are in a two block radius). Frankenmeal.

But my actual favorite is Smashburger-- I just wish they were more common on the East Coast.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:33 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


I swear I've never run across "eat a bag of Dick's" anywhere other than the Internet, and I get fries and a shake from Dick's every now and then (my traveling companions like their burgers plain, so we go to Kidd Valley). I must run in a more cultured crowd than you Seattle-city-limit Mefites.

> The way this guy feels about In N Out is how I feel about Five Guys burgers: I DO NOT GET the love for them. Every one I've ever had has been bland and underwhelming

It's how I feel about both of them. I don't get the fuss, at all.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:38 AM on July 26, 2019


Kidd Valley is a legit date night restaurant.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:41 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


> Kidd Valley is a legit date night restaurant

The one I usually go to is also a place for homeless people to freshen up. In short, Seattle is a land of contrasts.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:44 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Burger's Priest is literally just a carbon copy of Shake Shack.

Seattle’s shit don’t stink and we don’t do fast food.

-he types from his laptop at Starbucks...
posted by Grither at 10:00 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Oh, and the best burger in the world is a tie between Minetta Tavern's Black Label burger (tho it's like $400 or something) and the burger at Brindle Room on 10th and A.
posted by Grither at 10:01 AM on July 26, 2019


My fave cheeseburger of all time is from the Foster Freeze on University Ave in Berkeley. Just that one, other Fosters Freeze pale in comparison.

In-and-out is whatever. Around here I have no quibble with Five Guys because I like peanuts, but I haven't eaten there in years and have heard it's gone downhill.
posted by aspersioncast at 10:04 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


in-N-out is a drive through and should only be compared to other drive thru restaurants.

By that standard, it's miles ahead of any other option. Stop comparing In-N-Out to non drive-thru chains.

The lines are long, yes, but it's incredible how fast they move people through. The service is amazing, everything is clean, you'll never get sick, and the provide mats for eating in the car, plus stickers for kids.
posted by chaz at 10:06 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


so instead of going out for burgers I get the costco patties and coat them in Montreal steak seasoning and cook 'em up medium rare then slap them on a plate and add lots of salt and mild cheddar and mayo and KC style BBQ sauce and catsup and Frank's hot sauce and pickle spears and nothing else (because food sensitivities) eat them with a fork then lick the plate and just REVEL in the assault flavours of commingled with protein and fat.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:07 AM on July 26, 2019


Oh, and the best burger in the world is a tie between Minetta Tavern...the burger at Brindle Room on 10th and A.
Brindle Room is hit or miss. When they opened this was amazing but several disappointing brunches with mealy (not perfectly charred so the flavors get overwhelmed by the grease) burgers made me move on to other options.posted by abulafa at 10:23 AM on July 26, 2019


Was the intention of the name to invoke thoughts of intercourse? Because it does every time .
posted by waving at 10:26 AM on July 26, 2019


Meh, you all need to go to Royale on 10th and C. Just an amazingly delicious consistent burger for more than a decade, out of a tiny bar kitchen.
posted by praemunire at 10:26 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


TW: snark.

"Lots of people like In-n-Out burgers. I don't."

Not an essay I care to read, but I care even less to read which burgers y'all like or don't like. When it comes to burgers (and pizza and essentially any other food group) to each their* own.

(* still trying to learn the standards for pronoun usage.)
posted by MorgansAmoebas at 10:27 AM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


None of you have lived until you've eaten Swenson's. I feel badly for all of you. I really do.
posted by slogger at 10:41 AM on July 26, 2019


In N Out really is an institution in Southern California - the lines are insane, like they have an extra person walking around outside to take the orders. Everywhere else it's just a hamburger chain. My only problem with them is that they only serve hamburgers and fries and nothing else, so once a year seems about right when the stars align and everyone wants a burger and nothing else.

Steak and Shake is all right, but you have to tip as they have fast-food food at restaurant speed - the worst of both worlds. Wendy's 4 for $4 beats the pants off In N Out for price, and the variety is better.
posted by The_Vegetables at 10:43 AM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Lynsi Snyder, majority owner of In-and-Out, is a fascinating figure, and I haven’t seen any news stories about her personally or the company donating to Trump. The company donates about equally to Republican and Democratic candidates according to their statements. If anyone has knowledge otherwise I’d love to hear about it. Sincerely.

Also their fries are nothing special, it’s the milkshakes that are awesome.
posted by bq at 10:44 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


The only thing notable about In-N-Out fries is that they are safely gluten-free - nothing goes into their fryer except fresh-cut potatoes.
posted by davelog at 10:45 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


5 Guys fries are indeed shit. You have to order the Cajun fries. They're tasty.

There is no saving In N Out fries. They are unquestionably the worst fries.
posted by dobbs at 10:50 AM on July 26, 2019


I get the costco patties and coat them in Montreal steak seasoning and cook 'em up medium rare then slap them on a plate and add lots of salt and mild cheddar and mayo and KC style BBQ sauce and catsup and Frank's hot sauce and pickle spears and nothing else

too late
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:51 AM on July 26, 2019 [7 favorites]


In-n-Out - very good burger, very bad fries. Extra points for Lebowskiness and "secret" menu stuff.

Five Guys - much, much better than any of the big fast food chains, but not worth $40 for me and my kids to eat there. Great fries. Extra points for peanuts.

Whataburger - Exemplary fast food. Good fries, good burgers, better than any national chain. Extra points for good consistent design and Texas bravado.

Steak N Shake - Ok burgers, good super-thin fries. Great chili, great shakes. Uniformly terrible service. Extra points for beans in cute little jugs.

P-Terry's - I was pleased to see some other Ausholes got here before me to mention P. Terry's. They're a platonic ideal of old fashioned griddle-fried burgers. Everything fresh and high quality, make it simple and do it perfectly. Their burgers couldn't be better (if you like that kind of burger!), their fries are good but depend upon you a little bit to eat them while they are hot. Their BREAKFAST stuff is unbelievably good - the breakfast potato chunks are magnificent, better than their fries. Extra points for their uniquely built (or deeply rebuilt) googie/jetsons/moderne buildings and hand-lettered signs.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:11 AM on July 26, 2019


Zesto

Where they (used to at least) serve fries in a large drink cup. Represent!
posted by thelonius at 11:17 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm not a big fast food consumer and never ate at In N Out or Dick's even when I lived on the west coast but if you ever find yourself in Scandinavia and need some cheap calories whilst on the road skip the godawful Swedish pizza and find thyself a Max. Decent burgers, excellent fries and lots of vegetarian options.
posted by St. Oops at 11:20 AM on July 26, 2019


Brindle Room is hit or miss.

Oh no! I actually haven't been in a while, that is disappointing to hear.

And I will have to check out Royale, thanks for the rec, praemunire!
posted by Grither at 11:26 AM on July 26, 2019


My current favorite Boston-area fast food burger is WUBurger in Woburn (They also had one in Inman Square for a bit, but it closed). Excellent flat-top style thin patties with a great crust. The fries are just average. They also sell ice cream (the near-ubquitous Richardson's).
posted by briank at 11:55 AM on July 26, 2019


> Kidd Valley is a legit date night restaurant

The one I usually go to is also a place for homeless people to freshen up. In short, Seattle is a land of contrasts.


You’re up in Shoreline, no? My band stopped into that one up on Aurora for a quick bite after loading in for a show at Darrell’s and noped the hell out of there. The one and only time I actually was afraid I’d get shot in Seattle getting into the middle of someone’s bad drug deal.

Shoreline is lovely and Darrell’s is a civic treasure and there are many fantastic Korean restaurants nearby I have since learned
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:02 PM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


That is in fact the Kidd Valley I was talking about. I mean, yes, I see your point, but... uh... well OK maybe it's time to meditate on my parenting skills, BRB.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:09 PM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


I never understand when people go apeshit for things like In-N-Out or Shake Shack or Chick-fil-A. I mean yes, it's a good burger or chicken sandwich or whatever, but it's still just a burger or a chicken sandwich. There's a ceiling for how good these things can possibly be.
posted by panama joe at 12:17 PM on July 26, 2019


Kidd Valley burger dip! There was a similar place in Bellevue called Gullivers, I think it was a one-off but very similar menu and food to Kidd Valley.

RIP Two Bells in Belltown, best burgers I ever had.

Have you been to the Dicks on lower Queen Anne, the one that used to be a Herfy's? It's one of the cleanest Dicks I've ever seen! (I stole that joke from a friend who said it earnestly without realizing the obvious double entendre).

In the early 90s after two years working with specialized skills in a specialized industry for the same employer I was still making $1.75 less per hour than the starting wage at Dick's.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 12:42 PM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


> hippybear:
"We have Dicks where I live! I've bought a bag of Dicks many times!"
This needed to be quoted. I snickered like an adolescent and I hope you will, too. Thanks, hippybear
posted by theora55 at 12:43 PM on July 26, 2019


Rest assured, theora55, it gets plenty of mileage. The traditional Seattle Hello is factually "Go eat a bag of Dick's".
posted by loquacious at 12:50 PM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Srsly, 100+ comments, and no one is pointing out the guy's name is John Hamburger who runs Franchise Times.
“I’ve been to In-N-Out, just like millions of other people, and I don’t get it,” said John Hamburger, who runs Franchise Times, an industry publication.
What Internet am I on?
posted by theora55 at 12:52 PM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


There's a lot of flexible variations, too, like "Last night I got so drunk I fell asleep in a pile of Dick's" or "I woke up with Dick's in my mouth. and this means volumes to any Capitol Hill barfly that things got stupid and sideways. If you can imagine a variation it's probably been used.
posted by loquacious at 12:53 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'd want to break the D on the sign, because apparently I'm an adolescent.
posted by theora55 at 12:53 PM on July 26, 2019


Pssst theora55 it came up a few times
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:56 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


I go to Trueburger in the East Bay just for their fries sometimes. Their burger is pretty good too, although too expensive for what it is.
posted by invitapriore at 12:58 PM on July 26, 2019


I say this to reassure, not reprimand.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:58 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ya know what else came up a few times? Dick's.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:06 PM on July 26, 2019 [6 favorites]


Since the Seattle contingent has wrested comment direction towards Dick's (and justly so, though I'm still more partial to Burgerville in my heart-of-burger-loving-hearts), I want to reveal the secret that's not mine-alone but of which I'm a strong booster of in party conversation.

Waffle-Dick's. This makes even day-after Dick's better than fresh, and makes a fresh bag of Dick's trancendental.

1. Bag of Dick's. Doctor them if you like, this is very optional and very not necessary. If you're feeling decadent, rub them in butter or some other oil.
2. Waffle iron, hot and ready.
3. Combine until crispy.

You basically get a waffled grilled-cheese with burger-filling, and the bun gets a wonderful texture to it.
Image of result

Try it and report back.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:13 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


> ricochet biscuit:
"“I’ve been to In-N-Out, just like millions of other people, and I don’t get it,” said John Hamburger, who runs Franchise Times, an industry publication.

It is with a heavy heart that I ponder how many times daily this man must hear the same two or three jokes. I imagine he must regret not having pursued that job offer in industrial varnish back just after college."


I apologize, Ricochet Biscuit, and hang my head in shame.
posted by theora55 at 1:20 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


“I’ve been to In-N-Out, just like millions of other people, and I don’t get it,” said John Hamburger, who runs Franchise Times, an industry publication.

Very rare to see such a meaty quote in this context; lettuce never forget how well done it was. I mean, amongst these quotes, Hamburger is a king.
posted by hijinx at 1:26 PM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


I loved Steak n' Shake before I could even spell my own name, but in 4th grade we moved to Wichita and I couldn't have it any more. Imagine my surprise as an adult to find that the burger and fries that defined my early childhood had been surpassed by those available from Freddy's Frozen Custard. I've performed similar comparisons every time we try a popular burger chain, and Freddy's keeps coming out on top.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 1:51 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


I find myself visiting Sonic more frequently than any other fast food place because a) they are the closest to my apartment; b) the Sonic app is a delight to use and allows deep customization of every item on the menu, allowing me to not only add onions to my chili cheese dog but also reconfigure my cheeseburger with no tomatoes and extra pickles at no charge; c) I’m kind of addicted to their cherry limeade, which, once again, the app allows me to order with no ice so I get a brimming vat of the stuff; and d) fuck yeah tater tots.

If I want quality I make the trip out to the ‘burbs and eat at Whataburger.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:54 PM on July 26, 2019


I'm married to a Californian, so have had my fair share of In-N-Out over the years. My outsider's opinion is that it's simply a well-executed fast food burger. Nothing more, nothing less. It's good. Since it's not available here in Iowa, I think it gets wrapped up with nostalgia for home when my wife thinks of it. It's the same way that I feel about supper clubs in NE Iowa and Wisconsin. There's no disputing that the prime rib is good, but to outsiders, they're just restaurants that old people go to.

That said, every single time I drive past the In-N-Out on Turnpike in Santa Barbara, the drive-through line is completely full. It doesn't matter what time of day it is; it's always busy. Clearly, they're doing something right.
posted by TrialByMedia at 2:02 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


how I feel about Five Guys burgers: I DO NOT GET the love for them.

Oh, no, Catherine Cleary, The Irish Times restaurant critic really didn't get the love for them, either (and also doesn't mention that it's a chain/overseas franchise).
posted by ambrosen at 2:07 PM on July 26, 2019


As a newly minted Seattle-ite, I have to ask, what's the deal with Dicks? I tried it, a dry warmed over burger and sad, soggy fries. I didn't even want to finish it. I don't love In-n-Out but it's head and shoulders over Dicks. And then there's Taco Time, what gives? How is it still open much less expanding?
posted by doctor_negative at 2:20 PM on July 26, 2019


Thanks to Todd "Top Secret Recipes" Wilbur, you can make a Double Double clone and taste for yourself. Along with others here, I strongly recommend Animal Style as the purest example of In-N-Out craft. I have made Wilbur's Popeye's Chicken and Chik-fil-A clones and can vouch for their near-equivalence.
posted by zaixfeep at 2:24 PM on July 26, 2019


Yep, I came here to say: Steak 'n Shake! Frisco Melt, no Frisco sauce, extra pickles and tomato, double fries, and an orange freeze.

But that's not actually the best order, which would include the sadly discontinued lime freeze. I grew up right by a Steak 'n Shake and that's still the shake of my dreams.

Second choice, Lion's Choice, regular roast beef combo, no butter on the bun, large fries, au jus, and a large orange freeze.

Third choice, Wendy's, Son of Baconator, no mayo, extra pickles and tomato, chocolate Frosty, and you have to try dipping the fries in the Frosty at least once.

Fourth choice, McDonald's, No. 2, two cheeseburgers, no onions, extra pickles, large fry, and I guess a medium Diet Coke.

Wow, I am so hungry now.
posted by limeonaire at 3:01 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Dick’s is good and all but the best burgers in Seattle are at Little Woody’s. If you haven’t been you should try them. Well priced too!
posted by PugAchev at 3:13 PM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


I started eating In and Out burgers back in the 80s. It used to be "a thing" to get their bumper stickers that read, simply, "In and Out Burger" and erase the B and R in burger. It was high school, what can I say? I moved to the east coast and pined for In and Out. Then we moved to Texas and so did In and Out. I was just so thrilled. I lined up in the crazy, insane line, waited forever, got my burger (heaven just as good as I remembered), took my first bite of fries... "YEEEECCCHHH!!!!" How could I have forgotten a fry that gross?! I don't think I did forget. I'm certain the fries used to be much better. So, well, the upshot was I wasn't devested when we moved from Texas to New Mexico. I do miss PTerrys a bit though.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:33 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


So many comments in and nobody’s mentioned Portillo’s?!? They do a chocolate shake with chocolate cake blended in!
posted by Comrade_robot at 3:36 PM on July 26, 2019


> Dick’s is good and all but the best burgers in Seattle are at Little Woody’s. If you haven’t been you should try them. Well priced too!

And you can get a teeny milkshake just for dipping fries. Please let this become standard.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:53 PM on July 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Culver's or GTFO
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:11 PM on July 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


I really like Five Guys fries, but I guess it depends on what you want out of a fry. If you like crispy julienne fries like McDonalds or Steak & Shake, I could see how Five Guys would disappoint. They’re not crispy and they’re heavy, very potato-ey. I Iike both kinds of fries, and I always order the junior burger, which doesn’t overwhelm the bun like the full-size one can.

If you’re going for a gooey cheesy burger with multiple toppings, you really have to go with a pretzel bun, but that hasn’t filtered down to the chains yet, if it ever will.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:13 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


The best fast food fries are from Carl's Jr in my opinion.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 5:19 PM on July 26, 2019


Anyway, is Fuddruckers still a thing in the US South? I liked their burgers.

Not in the South, but I was coincidentally at a Fuddrucker’s only a few days ago. They had an iteration on the Juicy Lucy that wasn’t bad. Not as good as the Lucys everywhere else that promotes having one, of course, but for a fast-casual restaurant it was perfectly acceptable.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:20 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


praenimure, thank you for reminding me! I lived around the corner from Royale for five years and you're right - highly consistent and delicious. I did have a couple off experiences but 90% of the time perfect.
posted by abulafa at 5:44 PM on July 26, 2019


I’m just here to favorite all the comments about Dick’s.

Dick’s is a friend’s 8th birthday party and it’s better than Chuck E Cheese because you don’t like pizza and they just keep bringing out the fries. Dick’s is cutting class your sophomore year at Garfield with your friend who just got a car (and maybe dollar rice at Yasuko’s on the way back if you haven’t had enough carbs). Dick’s is dropped fries leaving grease spots on your dress in the backseat of a dirty cab after prom. Dick’s is replenishing the calories you burned after a night of dancing (and sweating) to the Murder City Devils at RKCNDY. Dick’s is a quick, cheap hit of protein and sugar lying on the grass at Cal Anderson Park while you cram for your sociology final at Seattle Central. Dick’s is the gut bomb you need to soak up that ill-advised fourth Jack and Coke you had at Linda’s at 1 am. Dick’s is My Posse’s on Broadway, and legit running into Sir Mix-a-Lot there.

Dick’s tastes like Seattle used to feel.

uhhhh I may have some feelings about this subject
posted by skycrashesdown at 6:08 PM on July 26, 2019 [8 favorites]


Go get a simple burger at the Ruby's on Lankershim in North Hollywood. You might be very pleasantly surprised. I was. Twice. Both times I went there.
posted by davejay at 7:07 PM on July 26, 2019


I'm with Mr. Hamburger, even though I grew up in California (alternating North and South). It's... adequate. Forgettable. I run into Californians around here who sometimes say how much they wish there was a In-N-Out here, and I think, why? Go to Frisko Freeze. No seriously, if you ever accidentally go to Tacoma, at least go to Frisko Freeze

I think it's more of a California shibboleth than an actual love. People love to demonstrate how Californian they are by claiming to love In-N-Out. Oh, I know, not you though. But that's what I'm thinking when you say it, because I know In-N-Out.
posted by ctmf at 7:27 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oh, and rhizome, totally with you on Nation's. I remember it fondly as the best burger ever. Unfortunately I'm not sure I trust that memory, because the times I went there were always after a night of drinking, when a lot of things are the best ______ ever.
posted by ctmf at 7:32 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yes, your preferences are the correct preferences, and anyone who disagrees is just deluding themselves.
posted by muddgirl at 7:35 PM on July 26, 2019 [6 favorites]


It's hyperbole
posted by ctmf at 7:41 PM on July 26, 2019


It's a typical Washingtonian attitude, though, no worries :)
posted by muddgirl at 7:43 PM on July 26, 2019


1) Seattle is not responsible for Taco Time, that is Eugene, Oregon's fault. The family split that created Taco Time Northwest only gave us a sub-species of the initial beast. And as far as I can tell their success is based on the principle of the deep-fried burrito. So I guess we have a lot of Southerners and Scots descended eaters in the area.

2) Dick's is does not provide the burger par excellence. We have a number of places fighting to do that in the region, (I quite like Uneeda Burger), but Dick's is about value for money. Everyone needs a quick, easy, good for what you paid snack or meal from time to time. Dick's does that. In-N-Out does that. Five Guys does not do that. Also Dick's is open late enough that they are pretty much the only easy choice for folk who get off work at midnight
posted by Ignorantsavage at 8:26 PM on July 26, 2019


Nobody has mentioned Fatburger.

I mean.
posted by goofyfoot at 8:27 PM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think there’s definitely not enough whataburger love here, especially if we’re comparing regional chains that are a source of state pride. It’s an amazing burger, even though I usually get the whatachicken sandwich (no tomatoes, add cheese). The only thing is that it’s a little expensive so when I was in college it was where I went on payday. I can definitely tell how much my income has increased by how often I can go to whataburger now. When I lived in Atlanta, the closest whataburger is in Birmingham Alabama, about 3 hours away. It was always the first stop on the way back to Texas. I’ve been to Birmingham quite a few times but I’ve only seen the whataburger. The two best things about whataburger are:

1) they serve breakfast from 11pm to 11am, if you are near a whataburger between these times I implore you to get the honey butter chicken biscuit, does what it says on the tin.

2) I can get white gravy there for dipping my fries in *homer drooling.gif*

(Also they have a spicy ketchup that’s apparently to die for but I haven’t had it because I don’t do spicy. )
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:52 PM on July 26, 2019


What makes In-N-Out "special" to me is that it's the probably first burger I had that wasn't from McDonald's, Burger King, or the school cafeteria. And compared to burgers from those places, In-N-Out was delicious. And I know everyone in this topic will point to better places, some that are even within California. But back before the Internet, it was much harder to hear about any of those places. Especially if you just moved to California from another country like my family.

And I think my experience is not totally unique. This is a guess, but I think some recent arrivals to California were probably like how my parents were in that when they thought of "burgers" they thought of something from McDonald's. The Golden Arches is all over the world and did a a good job selling that association and introducing people to fast food. And also probably because of McDonald's, In-N-Out would then seem familiar and less intimidating to my parents when we actually went there for the first time. It's also got a super simple menu with numbered combos (which is important if English isn't your first language). It's competitive prices with other fast food also helped. Even the logo of In-N-Out kind of looks like McDonald's.
posted by FJT at 9:06 PM on July 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


Yep, I came here to say: Steak 'n Shake! Frisco Melt, no Frisco sauce, extra pickles and tomato, double fries, and an orange freeze.

But that's not actually the best order, which would include the sadly discontinued lime freeze. I grew up right by a Steak 'n Shake and that's still the shake of my dreams.

Second choice, Lion's Choice, regular roast beef combo, no butter on the bun, large fries, au jus, and a large orange freeze.

Third choice, Wendy's, Son of Baconator, no mayo, extra pickles and tomato, chocolate Frosty, and you have to try dipping the fries in the Frosty at least once.

Fourth choice, McDonald's, No. 2, two cheeseburgers, no onions, extra pickles, large fry, and I guess a medium Diet Coke.

Wow, I am so hungry now.


I should amend this. Somewhere around No. 3 or 4 would be a Shack burger from Shake Shack and also a burger from In-N-Out and also of course Whataburger. I just don't know that I think any of them are better than Wendy's, though Whataburger was pretty great. Five Guys is definitely below McDonald's on my list, though, and Burger King is last, because that fake seared flavor is awful.
posted by limeonaire at 9:29 PM on July 26, 2019


There used to be a Hot 'n Now across the river from where I grew up, in Port Huron Michigan; I always assumed it was a rip-off of In-N-Out, given that neither name actually promises you much of a culinary experience.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:51 AM on July 27, 2019


For better burgers in Seattle (don't get me wrong I love Dicks), head south. Burger Express in Federal Way is the best. Tons of different burgers on the menu, all customizable, with a boatload of fries included in the price.

Or try Pick-Quick. There's one off 4th Ave. in Seattle's SODO, and one in Auburn, but the original walkup location is on Highway 99 in Fife (get off at the Port Of Tacoma exit, turn north, turn right). Totally worth the standing in line on a warm summer night.
posted by lhauser at 10:11 AM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Jack's Burger House in Dallas has the best seasoning on their burgers and fries I've ever had. It's a mixture of garlic flavor with pepper and something else. Makes a burger with classic thin patties so satisfying. I can only think of 3 locations even within DFW though.
posted by bookman117 at 10:19 AM on July 27, 2019


Because Portland's gotta be Portland, the competition here is over.

Burgerville wins over Little Big Burger, because they are the only unionized burger joint. (Little Big Burger just voted down their organizing petition.)

How are the unions doing at In N' Out? (My experience is, INO is SLOW. Not fast food at all. Don't ever go there if you're in a hurry.)
posted by msalt at 12:48 PM on July 27, 2019


Re-upping Blake’s Lotaburger, Santa Fe area’s finest cheap burger
posted by ccaajj aka chrispy at 12:49 PM on July 27, 2019


I think there’s definitely not enough whataburger love here

I’ve never had the burger or fries at Whataburger because I’m never able to stop myself from ordering the honey chicken biscuit when I’m there. And the last time in was in TX I was so stuffed full of brisket and chili and queso that I couldn’t even bring myself to go to WB.
posted by sallybrown at 12:51 PM on July 27, 2019


I first tried In 'n Out shortly after I moved to California. I was volunteering on the Balclutha directly across the street from the one on Fisherman's Wharf. I ate lunch there every single Saturday.

Later, it became my guilty pleasure. I would go through the drive-through at one on the peninsula about once a month and wolf down the whole meal in the parking lot. (I abstained from a shake in the interest of keeping it healthy.)

Now the closest one is 246 miles away and I haven't yet felt the desire to drive that far for a burger.
posted by bendy at 9:52 PM on July 28, 2019


ok now that the thread is old and the riffraff are gone I will share a secret

order your In-N-Out hamburger with no cheese and mustard instead of their proprietary spread

it is better that way

no fries, fries just slow you down
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:55 AM on July 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


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