In-N-Out Vs. Whataburger: A Petty Patty Smackdown

In the beef between Whataburger and In-N-Out fans, you win by not playing.

California import In-N-Out Burger arrived in Frisco, and people lost their minds. They waited in line for hours. They cried tears of joy. And immediately after all the "OHMAHGAWDY'ALLIT'SFINALLYHERE!" crazydust settled, it was clear that among our readers there are two serious-as-their-obviously-impending-heart-attacks fast-food burger camps: You're either Team In-N-Out or Team Whataburger.

The only way to settle this epic fast food burger debate once and for all is to ask some real-deal burger experts. So we invited three dudes who make some of the best burgers in Dallas to a fast-food-burger taste-off: Brian Luscher, chef/owner of The Grape (2808 Greenville Ave.) and winner of Texas Monthly's "2009 Best Burger in Texas"; Jack Perkins, the straight-up, ain't-taking-no-shit owner of Maple & Motor (4810 Maple Ave.) and Todd Dickerson, co-owner of Angry Dog (2723 Commerce St.) who claims never to have eaten at In-N-Out or Whataburger. (Burger virgin in the hooouuuse!).

The challenge: In-N-Out's standard double-meat versus the original Whataburger from the Texas-based chain. As the In-N-Out burger patty is only 2 ounces, we hooked them up with a double patty to keep things approximately even, meatwise. Gotta keep these burgers in the same weight class for a fair fight, right?

Grape owner Brian Luscher (left) and Angry Dog owner Todd Dickerson compare Whataburger and In-N-Out.
Sara Kerens
Grape owner Brian Luscher (left) and Angry Dog owner Todd Dickerson compare Whataburger and In-N-Out.

Location Info

Map

Maple & Motor

4810 Maple Ave.
Dallas, TX 75219

Category: Restaurant > Burgers

Region: Uptown & Oak Lawn

The Grape

2808 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: East Dallas & Lakewood

Angry Dog

2726 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75226

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Downtown & Deep Ellum

Details

First up was In-N-Out's double meat burger and fries. Dickerson's first ever bite into an In-N-Out burger elicited a "Who pooped?" face, but his verbal response was much nicer: "It's not ... terrible." Luscher, who'd never had the In-N-Out burger either, said, "I can see at 2 a.m., sitting in your car, windows down in California, this thing showing up screaming hot, right off the grill — it's not awful."

When I brought the In-N-Out burger to Perkins, I noted that we had received approximately one million napkins with these burgers. "Worst part is that these are so dry you probably won't need one napkin," he replied. One bite and Perkins was already done. "Yeah, not juicy at all," he said. "You couldn't cook this 2-ounce patty medium rare if you wanted to. But I like the whole disk of onion on there." When asked which celebrity the In-N-Out burger best resembled, Perkins replied, "Probably Michael J. Fox. Clean-cut. Not spectacular, just solid. I like it — but I don't want to sleep with it."

Next up: the Whataburger. Dickerson's first bite of a Whataburger went well. "Whataburger is definitely better." He added, "I can go ahead and say Texans are smarter than Californians." I asked him which drive-through he'd prefer to go through if he had to pick one. "If we were closed and The Grape was closed and Snuffer's was closed and Chip's was still in business ... then Whataburger wouldn't be a bad alternative."

I told him it was OK to try the fries, and that's when Dickerson blew my mind. "I don't eat anything fried." Brainsplosion. Wha ... Who ... How's it possible to be co-owner of fried-pickle heaven and never eat anything fried? I can see rotating through the menu every day Super Size Me style, but to abstain from fry-age? He never took one fry bite.

Perkins' comments on the Whataburger were similar to Dickerson's, only he didn't wait to finish chewing before he spoke: "Er, yer. Merch better." He added, "This is easier to handle. Toasted bun is way better. Fresher tomato. Pickles are on there. That's nice." I asked him which celebrity this burger brought to mind. "Rosanna Arquette, you know, from Desperately Seeking Susan." (For you Youngs, get out your Chicks Old Dudes Think Are Hot Translator and it'll tell you "old school Rosanna Arquette" is "2011 Madonna" or "Amy Poehler.") "Maybe not put together that well, but there's something about it that makes you want it," Perkins said. "It's a nice total package."

Luscher barely (and extremely reluctantly) preferred the In-N-Out burger to the Whataburger, saying of the In-N-Out burger: "My uncle and my grandfather owned a burger joint in Chicago. This conjures the most fond memories of that greasy burger griddle. It's seasoned more aggressively than the Whataburger." Nostalgia aside, though, he doesn't see why chain fans are so into their faves. "My buddy goes apeshit over the Whataburger," he said. "I don't get it." When I asked which drive-through he'd prefer, Luscher shook his head. "Go to Burger House, Keller's, come try ours." How would he describe the In-N-Out burger in one word? "Meh," he said, which I totally count as a word whether or not the OED has accepted it yet.

Luscher and Perkins agreed that the Whataburger fries were better. At one point, Perkins twisted an In-N-Out French fry into a fry corkscrew."You shouldn't be able to do that with a fry," he said. "Fresh-cut fries are just a bad idea — they end up bland and limp." I looked at the Whataburger fries a little worried, since they looked twistable too. Perkins tasted one and was visibly disappointed. "These Whataburger fries actually aren't much better. But they are better." And that's based on? "Based on I'm from Texas, dammit."

And so, in our highly scientific battle of Team Whataburger versus Team In-N-Out, that's two votes for Team Whataburger (Perkins and Dickerson) and one really reluctant vote for Team In-N-Out (Luscher).

All three guys were good sports, but were clearly on Team Local Burger if they had to pick a true winner. If you're on that team too, congrats. It'd be great if nobody in Dallas ate at chain drive-throughs, but the reality is that most of Dallas' fast food double drive-throughs are so packed the joints have to put traffic cones in the street every lunch and dinner hour just to manage the herds.

I was so proud of Dallas when the In-N-Out on Central Expressway opened and it wasn't jammed like Frisco's. I was chest-bumping City Hall, butt-slapping SMU, high-fiving Reunion Tower. And then lunchtime hit on its first Monday after opening and the place was packed. Dammit, Fourth Fattest City. I'm not saying don't eat a burger, but when you eat one, please make sure it's a good one.

Don't kid yourself into thinking you're saving yourself any money sitting in line at In-N-Out for 30 minutes with your Yukon in park. At Maple & Motor or Angry Dog, you save the gas and you can get a regular burger combo for less than nine bucks. Plus, you get flat-screens and the promise of delicious beer. Sure, you could buy three Whataburger combos for the price of one burger combo at The Grape, but that's like choosing to kiss your aunt three times instead of kissing Megan Fox once. If you have 30 minutes to wait in line at In-N-Out, you have time to patronize a local establishment that serves up a much better product. Make time, Dallas. Make time.

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140 comments
jmaywc00
jmaywc00

Whataburger= old lettuce,limp tomatoes and frozen beef on a grease burger. The floors are greasy..its just a reg. fast food joint. Period.

jmaywc00
jmaywc00

Whataburger has nothing on In-n-out.


Whataburger- there "restaurants" are your typical fast food joint. The didnig area is questionable, the employees are what you would expect and I have NEVER gotten fresh produce form Whataburger. Theres nothing fresh about it.


In-n-Out- The dining area is completely clean, the employees are REALLY energetic,positive and seem like they care about what they are doing. The tomatoes and lettuce are FRESH and he beef is never frozen.


In-n-Out  by a LOONG mile.

oklahomasooner2
oklahomasooner2

To the person who called all texans "rednecks", you have proven yourself as an ignorant jackass, therefore your comment is invalid. Whataburger is not only located in Texas, it is located in nearly all of the southern half of the U.S. such as : Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. I would say you're pretty outnumbered in opinion by " us rednecks."

scarecrow0901
scarecrow0901

I'm sorry, but this is a biased article. Whataburger is better than In-N-Out??? Are you kidding me???? You Texans are the stupidest people I've ever seen! Nothing that any of you say or write is worth hearing or reading. To those that just accidentally come across this article, take it from me. These California-hating texan rednecks will try to fill your head with all this nonsense Texas propaganda and none of it is true. Never ever listen to the Texas media. Anywho, back on topic. Whataburger is overpriced crap. Definitely not worth the prices they charge. In-N-Out, you'll get a better quality burger for a much cheaper price.

killer189
killer189

Being from Ohio and trying both...whataburger had the better burger.  It was larger and juicier than the INO burger I had.  I will say this, 5 Guys beats BOTH of them hands down when it comes to burgers AND fries.

gonzalez_d30
gonzalez_d30

wow, you guys are ridiculous overreacting to the results.

I'm sorry to all you Californians but whataburger dominates in n out any day. in n out fries are so overrated they are not as good as they say they are. Just because they're cooked in front of you doesn't mean they're good. The burgers are actually really dry and in size and taste don't compare to whataburger. Whataburger is fresh %100 beef never frozen burgers that are the absolute best.

Whataburger hands down anyday everyday.

Kellie
Kellie

Wow!!! By reading these comments I'll just stick to Freddys's burgers in Frisco (121/Preston) or Mooyah. Both rock the house... I refuse to eat at WhatA'pricey'Burger and have yet to try the In-n-out... The line is always way too long and I get the juiciest burger every time I go to Freddy's. The double burger with cheese and fries are the best!!! Oh and their custard is just as good!!! Kellie M.

JMA
JMA

I ventured to San Diego about a year ago, and had two things in mind: the San Diego Zoo and In-N-Out. One was awesome and it included lots of neat animals. The other was the most disappointing hamburger I've ever tasted.

Dry. Misshapen. Soggy fries. Decent cheese but if that's what I want I'll make a grilled cheese sandwich.

Maybe it was all the hype and hoopla from my SoCal friends. Maybe it's because I was raised on a great burger chain like Whataburger and prefer a more traditional burger to the exotic off-menu stuff at In-N-Out (which is also annoying... seriously, is there some sort of cool factor in having off-menu items? This is a burger joint, not a cigar lounge). But to me there is no comparison. Whataburger every time.

kevin
kevin

I completely disagree 100%, What-A-Burger isn't even in the same ballpark as In-N-Out Burger. The fries comment is the most offensive, In-N-Out literally cuts and fries the potatoes in front of you. It's not even close...

Casey
Casey

I have a feeling Texas standards aren't up to Californian standards when it comes to In N' Out. "Texans are clearly smarter than Californians"....I think you accidentally replaced the word fatter with smarter because you are most definitely not smarter than Californians, we actually teach evolution out here.

agent2609
agent2609

If you think Whataburger tastes better than a fresh In-n-Out burger you need your taste buds thoroughly checked out by a doctor cuz something is seriously wrong with you. That's like comparing a double double to big Mac.

Clearly the author is slightly retarded.

Beaugadsby
Beaugadsby

This was a waste of my time to read. In-in-Out is way better. Fresh never frozen beef taken from the best cuts by butchers at In-In-Out... Simple menu in an always clean environment. And a company who cares about their employees.

Peter Chon
Peter Chon

Who the hell tells the tasters what they're having before they taste? This is exactly why you have a blind taste test, not "this is shitty california IN-N-OUT and this is TEXAS's finest."

afijaymz
afijaymz

I sort of think it's a regional thing... I've had both and I wasn't super-impressed with Whataburger (although, it WAS a decent burger). I still think In-N-Out is my favorite burger, even amongst some of the gourmet burger joints. And I LOVE the fries.

Again, I think it's all about regional tastes and what you grew up with. Five Guys is huge on the East coast and all the transplants raved about it when it started opening up over here in Southern California. I've tried Five Guys a few times and am seriously unimpressed. I might choose Carl's Jr. over Five Guys. But those from the East coast rave about them.

Grossed Out
Grossed Out

In-n-Out is pretty 'piss out your asshole' gross. It's only moderately less greasy than White Castle, but I'd rather have White Castle where at least there isn't this reality distortion field surrounding it and we all know it's garbage you shouldn't be eating.

NoOneUKnow
NoOneUKnow

This article means nothing to me. Having a few posh Texas restaurantuers taste a fast food burger makes no sense. Get Hank, Billy Bob and Randy to give me a real consensus. Not a dude who doesn't even eat fried food, some old guy making a reference to a 1990's sitcom, and another guy who has never eaten at either place before in his life...?? WTF?

I've never had Whatabu...but INO is fantastic and it is ANYTHING but dry. I think I'll be going there for lunch today...and I'll enjoy it in the CA sun.

Jon
Jon

Disagree! Whataburger looked like a typical greasy squished fast food although theyre shakes are better. I don't know what you guys got in Texas but in California it's short lines and best freshest fastfood burger for your dollar

Robie
Robie

What a shock. Three competitors slam two rival burger joints.

The Random Asshole
The Random Asshole

Both In-N-Out and Whataburger are good but is In-N-Out good enough to wait on line for 30+ minutes? Absolutely NOT. I see an In-N-Out with a mile long line next to a Whataburger with a 2 car line, I'm getting a Whataburger, it's as simple as that. I can't believe the insanely stupid people waiting that long for a fast food burger. Plus, it really pisses me off that In-N-Out covertly hides Biblical scripture on there products.

bb
bb

For a fast-food burger I think Whataburger beats In & Out. The fact Whataburger is open 24 hrs, not just the drive thru, but the dining area as well is a big plus. The meat is good quality, the vegetables fresh and it is a good size hamburger. I remember a decade ago when Carl's Jr. was the next big fad from CA. If In & Out is so good, they should sell their burgers for $10, hire and interior decorator and call themselves Twisted California Root Burgers.

Marcus Victor Carter
Marcus Victor Carter

Keller's Hamburger @ NW Hwy. Great Burger and an Ice Cold Beer. Excellent.

ShadowsOfKnight
ShadowsOfKnight

I've lived in Texas my whole life and I can't believe Whataburger is even in this conversation. Worst fast food burger with the exception of McDonalds. I would easily put Burger King, Wendy's, a half a dozen other burger joints above Whataburger. Bread is awful. Dry and tasteless. Meat is OK but definitely nothing special.

Livebait1
Livebait1

no; there was no way those homers would give any props to the in n out double double...i lived in dallas, i live in san diego; i've had a whataburger exactly once, and that was enough...at best a whataburger is ordinary...

in n out fries are unique, you either like the style or u don't...

David
David

Whataburger!! What-ever!

whitman1
whitman1

You can get taquitos at Whataburger. End of discussion.

jake
jake

Not one person has mentioned Burger Street? Best burger place with a drive through, hands down.

lukesassypants
lukesassypants

I have not been to the burger joints run by these 3 guys yet but certainly will when I am in their neighborhoods, their input was valuable and appreciated. I have been to Whataburger (real good burger and good fries), In-N-Out (vastly overrated burger and lousy fries), Five Guys (mediocre burgers and pretty good fries), Burger House (overly seaoned burger and fries) and Snuffers (great burgers the Green Chile and the Jalapeno bottlecap and great fries). The best fast food burger place was mentioned in the article, it is Kellers. Go get a number 5 and some tater tots, and while you are there, grab a cold one. Sassy carhops, war veterans and motorcyles give this place an atmosphere that is hard to find anywhere, and the price is right!

Loved the article, particularly the aunt/Megan Fox comparison. Right on.

waylonjenninz
waylonjenninz

I can't believe it's even discussed. It's not even close, it's not even the same game! I have to think that these judges were not objective; that their identification as Texans and love for their state and their fear of outsiders clouded their objectivity. In n out is far superior. Compared to Whataburger??? That is a joke.

Beachykeeenn
Beachykeeenn

born n raised right here in dallasi m guna tell ya'll the truth...best burgersby far in texas are at HUNKYS no place else..!!!PERIOD..!!in n out sux.....whataburger has gone bad to the bone..!!!!

Guy from Cali living in TX
Guy from Cali living in TX

In and Out burgers are not made to be eaten as "to-go" food. Their shelf life is VERY limited. In fact, being from California and having both in many drunk and sober situations, In and Out fries win hands down. The problem with this article is that the judges didn't eat at the actual establishment. In think for a fair comparison, they need to visit each place and eat the food hot. An In and Out fry fresh will never twist as the judge was able to do.

Daniel
Daniel

"that's like choosing to kiss your aunt three times instead of kissing Megan Fox once."

Greatness, Alice.

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

Whataburger is disgusting, plain and simple. I haven't had one in over a decade for a reason.

scarecrow0901
scarecrow0901

Aww! Are you butthurt that I called you people rednecks? Well, that's all you are to me! Just a bunch of propaganda-spreading rednecks, brainwashing everyone into thinking that Texas is so much better than everyone else. In no means did you prove my argument to be invalid. Just because I called you a bunch of rednecks does not mean my argument is invalid. Face it, that's how the world views Texas. I appreciate you stating "in opinion" before talking about being outnumbered, but that means nothing to me. This is still a biased article. That's all I'm gonna say, because I don't feel like arguing with someone over the internet, of all places a Texas news website, over fast food.

oklahomasooner2
oklahomasooner2

Because you called all texans "rednecks", you have proven yourself as an ignorant jackass, therefore your comment is invalid. Whataburger is not only located in Texas, it is located in nearly all of the southern half of the U.S. such as : Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. I would say you're pretty outnumbered in opinion by " us rednecks."

wobbuffet
wobbuffet

@gonzalez_d30  dude...INO is never frozen. Everything is trucked in every morning fresh. Those fries are not just cooked right there where we can see them, they're cut right there. Not from a bag. True they're good for with 10 min of cooking...but thats cos they're not coated with typical fast food crap to keep them looking fresh. 

mikeyg
mikeyg

@JMA You're trippin man. What the hell are you talking about cigar lounges for? If you're tripping about Animal Style Fries then just shut up.  Shut up and sit down because you know you're probably from Texas and just pissed that none of you're joints offer this great dish. In-n-Out trumps Whataburger anyday. Retard

Megan
Megan

Just because they cut and fry the potatoes in front of you doesn't make them good. It's entertaining but you don't live on entertainment as nourishment do you?

Megan
Megan

Casey, you sound more ignorant than Texans. Yes, the schools do teach evolution and not all Texans are fatter. And sorry, I think I'd rather deal with fat people than women who tan so much they look like leather couches. Ew

Jaibird13
Jaibird13

@Peter Chon, did you read it? Are you sure? They didn't pitch it as Texas' finest at all. The consensus was actually more like "they both suck, but one is less dry and has less squishy fries". 

Whataburger didn't exactly take it by a landslide. A blind taste test clearly would have been more objective, and you would have a point if In-N-Out's burgers weren't known to be on the dry side. 

Personally, I don't have a preference either way. I do, however, find the misplaced outrage pretty funny. 

wobbuffet
wobbuffet

@Grossed Out  OMG White Castle is poison. ya wanna talk about piss out your ass gross? that shit was nasty. 

mikeyg
mikeyg

@Grossed Out Fuck you. Stupid ass.

mikeyg
mikeyg

@The Random Asshole Hey man, that just sucks for you chumps out in Texas, you chose to live in perhaps the crappiest state in America. Finally a few smart people (very few far and wide in your state) decided to grace this wasteland with some of the best burgers you can find. And people hate the burgers some much in Texas that they'll wait in 30/40 minute lines, bless their hearts. There are only 2 cars trying to get a Whataburger because they don't want to eat at the shitty joint or remember that's what they're buying. 

And screw you, don't turn your cup upside down fuckface. You're supposed to drink it from the top.

mikeyg
mikeyg

@bb Who gives a flying fuck about being open 24 hours? You're such a dumbshit, just go buy yourself a Whatburger and wipe your ass with it.

mikeyg
mikeyg

@whitman1 I hope you're being funny. Because if you're not I'd probably say a lot of hurtful shit.

doesitmatter
doesitmatter

@scarecrow0901 Oh my god ahahaha, Texans are rednecks? What a typical thing a amateur person can say! No one thinks they are any better than anyone. But if Texans do think they're better, what makes you think that they're wrong and you are right? God, you choose to attack Texans on a article about fast food! Can this human race be any more pathetic? Yes, yes it can apparently haha.

mikeyg
mikeyg

@Megan Are you kidding? People don't give a damn about watching their potatoes cut. They care about them being good. And In-n-Out has much better fries without a doubt. The difference is that their fries are fresh and cut right before they're fried, not arriving to the store frozen in a plastic bag like at Whataburger.

Along with burgers, Whataburger isn't even close. Not by a mile. These reviewers in the article are morons. They obviously make crappy burgers at their own joints if they think Whataburger is better than In-n-Out.

mikeyg
mikeyg

@Megan And no one is more ignorant than Texans. C'mon.

mikeyg
mikeyg

@MeganAre you kidding? People don't give a damn about watching their potatoes cut. They care about them being good. And In-n-Out has much better fries without a doubt. The difference is that their fries are fresh and cut right before they're fried, not arriving to the store frozen in a plastic bag like at Whataburger.

Along with burgers, Whataburger isn't even close. Not by a mile. These reviewers in the article are morons. They obviously make crappy burgers at their own joints if they think Whataburger is better than In-n-Out.

wobbuffet
wobbuffet

@mikeyg  lol that WB they mention has only 2 cars cos it sucks. 

 
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