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Breakfast Sandwich Throwdown: Wendy’s vs. Whataburger

Whataburger puts those hash browns on theirs, though.EXPAND
Whataburger puts those hash browns on theirs, though.
TC Fleming

Wendy’s has breakfast now.

I suspect many people have probably gone most of their lives unclear on whether Wendy’s has breakfast. But they didn't before, and now they do.

Former World Series champion Aubrey Huff tells me we’ll all be dead inside three weeks, so I wanted to give the new menu a try before the flames send me to my final end.

Whataburger ended last year by introducing a new breakfast burger that is also on my fast-food bucket list, so what do you say I try both and let you know how to prioritize the scant hours you have left?

Wendy’s

They’re rolling out a full nine-combo menu, but for the purposes of making an easy comparison, I selected the item most similar to the Whataburger breakfast burger. That would be the classic sausage, egg and cheese sandwich.

I do not need to explain the ingredients because all of them are in the name. As far as fast-food breakfast sausage goes, this is pretty premium stuff. It is the correct amount of juicy.

The bread is what they’re calling a “breakfast roll.” It’s not ciabatta, but it has a little bit of that feel. Like the rest of the sandwich, it feels a little bit new and is overall very solid.

Whataburger

The ingredient list here is one I’m not sure I’m audacious enough to dream up on my own: bacon, egg, cheese and hash browns sitting on top of an actual beef patty.

I imagine all corporate boardrooms to be filled with grown-up versions of people who turned down pot in high school, and frankly it shocks me they green-lit this thing. It’s the fast-food item that best captures the boundless imagination of the American spirit, and I haven't even started talking about the sauce. It’s a peppercorn cream sauce, and a beautiful bluebonnet of flavor takes life across your palate the moment a drop hits your tongue.

Whataburger’s hash browns are, to me, the finest use of potatoes in the fast-food arena. I’m kicking myself for not thinking big enough to put them on a burger before, but I will open up a bacon taquito to add a couple.

So just getting those in the mix is enough for a great item. Adding the egg, bacon and sauce is just running up the score.

Wendy's is the newer contender in the breakfast game. No, really.EXPAND
Wendy's is the newer contender in the breakfast game. No, really.
TC Fleming

The Verdict

Y’all know the score. You might have to spend a little extra time in the drive-thru line, but Whataburger is well worth that wait. The Wendy’s sandwich is one of the better sausage-based items I’ve tried, but this is a Triple-A team trying to take on the World Series champs. They’re doing their best (and their first baseman isn’t tweeting unhinged apocalypse rumors, so that’s good), but it’s not going to be enough.

On a serious note, it’s definitely worth remembering that fast-food work is one of a limited number of jobs low-income folks are able to still do right now. I don’t think I’m remotely qualified to say who’s being hit hardest by the coronavirus and its accompanying economic disruption, and I don’t think it would be productive to debate a ranking of what’s really the worst situation.

But I’d think we can all agree that fast-food restaurants tend to employ people who are likely to be hurt badly by layoffs and reduced hours, especially in an environment where most of the other job options have been taken off the table. So I’m not going to call myself a hero for pounding breakfast burgers (though if you want to make me a medal, I won’t turn it down), but that’s something to consider when making your meal choices. We’re all just trying to do our best with a tough situation, but it can’t hurt to put some money in the hands of some of our neighbors who could least afford to be hit with adversity right now.

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