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Chris Hennes

Best Fast Food Burger

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To me, In-n-Out has all the GOOD qualities of chain fast food joint like McDonalds (quick, reasonable price, consistent) without the bad qualities (crappy food).

In-N-Out is OK. Agreed, better than the big chains. But it still has some problems. One, the cheese. It's really nasty. Almost like plastic. Two, don't order a large fries because they're only good for about 2 minutes after they come out of the fryer. If you're going to eat their fries, eat those first. Before they wilt like old parsley.

Are there any fast-food joints that make proper pomme frite? Poaching in one fryer and then frying in another?

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Still no one ranking Wendy's in the mix?

OK, I finally made it to Wendy's yesterday for lunch, and I agree with the others in this topic: of the Big 3, Wendy's clearly has the superior burger. It's not much of a contest, really. Honestly, I'm not at all sure it's not better than In'n'Out (maybe I am just overreacting to the massive and undeserved I'n'O hype, though). I think my current list goes something like this:

  1. Freddy's
  2. Smashburger
  3. Five Guys
  4. There is no number four, there is a gap here.
  5. Braum's
  6. Wendy's
  7. In'n'Out
  8. Whataburger
  9. McDonalds
  10. Burger King
  11. Sonic
  12. Carl's Jr.

Am I leaving anyone out? What are your lists?


Edited by Chris Hennes Whoops, forgot Sonic. Mostly 'cuz they are forgettable (log)

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My ranking...

Five guys

Hardees

Burger king

Whataburger

(Big gap)

Bobs Big Boy

Wendy's

Sonic

McDs

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Have you had Wendy's burger recently? It's my understanding that this "Dave's Hot and Juicy" thing is new-ish, and based on my experience I'm surprised to see them so far down your list. I've never eaten at a Bob's Big Boy, but maybe I'll check them out next time I'm in that neck of the woods. Which burger are you rating at BK, by the way? The Whopper?

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Never had a Wendy Burger I liked. I wonder if meat varies around the country.  The Wendy meat here is crappy.<br /><br />For BK I do a double whopper with cheese no pickle no onion, or a double Stacker.   Stackers seem to vary a lot in reproducibility whereas the whopper is the same time after time.<br /><br />Hardees I see rarely and it always surprises me by being so tasty. <br /><br />I forgot Jack in the box. Its in my bottom tier. So is Crystal.


Edited by gfweb (log)

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On the basis of this thread, when I found myself hungry while out and about running errands a couple of weeks ago, I cruised into the only Wendy's even remotely close to me. It was what I'd consider "late lunch time"....about 1:00 p.m.-ish. I have all of the major chains (Mickey D's, Jack in the Box, BK and Carl's/Hardees) with a mile of me, and 3 In 'N' Outs within the same radius as the Wendy's is. Along with several independent stands. All of which I patronize occasionally. Wendy's, like never.

I have to say.....now I remember why I never patronize Wendy's. The customer service was absolutely abysmal. I was the second person in line, and it took me over 10 minutes to even place my order while the woman in front of me was cell-phoning apparently her entire contact list to firm up her order, while several employees stood around looking bored. Then a soft drink was dumped on my feet when the counter person didn't seal the drink cup properly and tried to pick it up by the top (at least I didn't catch the brunt of the deluge, sadly neither did Ms. Cell Phone). That was actually the best part of the experience.

Another 10 minutes after placing my order, I had my food, and I wished I hadn't. The burger was probably the worst I've had in recent memory. It was worse than I even remember Mickey D's being, and that's saying something. The entire sandwich decomposed in my hand while I ate it, with the bun disintegrating into mush before I was even a quarter of the way through. The burger patty was thin, grey and looked steamed. I *think* there was onion, couldn't really tell in the mushy goo of the bun and tomato. The fries were limp and sort of cold, and I was charged an upcharge for the "special", berry lemonade, which as far as I could tell, just had a shot of high fructose corn syrup "berry" flavored stuff in it.

The restaurant was less than 50% full, as I said at "late-ish" lunch, and this in an area less than a couple of miles from a university, and around many retail outlets and medical offices. 'Nuff said.

No. I won't go back any time soon. I'll stick with Carl's and J in the B if I can't get to one of the independents. Or make my own.

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  1. Freddy's
  2. Smashburger
  3. Five Guys
  4. There is no number four, there is a gap here.
  5. Braum's
  6. Wendy's
  7. In'n'Out
  8. Whataburger
  9. McDonalds
  10. Burger King
  11. Sonic
  12. Carl's Jr.

Am I leaving anyone out? What are your lists?

#1 Fatburger

#2 Tommy's Original

And that's the end of my list. I'd rather pull in to a Roberto's or similar Mexican fast food joint than bother with the other hamburger chains. I will certainly try Freddy's when they open in Las Vegas. I went to Five Guys. It was OK. But it wasn't Fatburger or Tommy's by any stretch.

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I tried Fatburger once, and nothing about the experience inclined me to give it even one more try. First, the service was very slow. We didn't go during peak hours (in fact as I recall, only a other customers were in the place besides us) but it took a good 15 minutes to get our food. While that's not too long in regular time, for a "fast food" place, it's forever. Second, the burger was okay, but for the price, a disappointment. We could have spent the same amount at a local non-fast food place and gotten a much better burger, or spent half as much at Burger King and gotten something almost as good.

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#1 Fatburger

#2 Tommy's Original

It's going to be a long time before either chain makes it to Oklahoma, I'm afraid.

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I'll stick with Carl's and J in the B if I can't get to one of the independents.

It's clear that you and I do not share a taste in fast food burgers! Out of curiosity, though, which burger did you order at Wendy's?

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What's your #1, Jane?

well, my fave is home. For fast, 5 guys. Haven't had some of the others, including the Freddy's high on one list.

I LOVE a good burger

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Am I leaving anyone out?

Too much East/West coast influence here methinks.

Culvers (mentioned upthread)

Steak 'n Shake (Much praised by Roger Ebert)

Where do they rank? Above Wendys, but I can't compare to the list leaders - not enough FF burger experience...


Edited by earlgrey_44 (log)

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I'll stick with Carl's and J in the B if I can't get to one of the independents.

It's clear that you and I do not share a taste in fast food burgers! Out of curiosity, though, which burger did you order at Wendy's?

Clearly we don't ! What's that old saying about making a horse race (although that, perhaps, is a really bad analogy for a thread about hamburgers......... :wacko: ).

To be honest, Chris, I can't remember which burger I had at Wendy's. It was so underwhelming, as was the whole experience, I think I erased it from my brain as soon as I pulled my car out of the parking lot.

I am, however, wondering, if the regional differences in purveyors isn't responsible for the vast difference in opinion on good vs. bad, as I believe someone mentioned upthread. Obviously not all the majors follow the Mickey D's lead of sourcing everything from one supplier and one supplier only to ensure consistency across the country. That may explain why Wendy's in the Midwest is good to decent, while Carl's/Hardees sucks and vice versa out here. In all honesty, I don't know anyone out here who likes Wendy's and most, if not all, of the people I know, would take Carl's over the other options, save In 'N' Out.

And I should clarify.....I would choose In 'N' Out in a heartbeat over any other option. ANY other option, including some sit-down restaurants. But sometimes its not so convenient to me, and well, then Carl's does OK. J in the B does sort of OK. All the others aren't even in the game.

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Too much East/West coast influence here methinks.

Which is sort of funny, considering where I currently live, but guilty as charged. Unfortunately, the nearest Culvers to me is 150 miles away. The nearest Steak'n'Shake is only 15, I can probably swing that.

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I tried Fatburger once, and nothing about the experience inclined me to give it even one more try. First, the service was very slow. We didn't go during peak hours (in fact as I recall, only a other customers were in the place besides us) but it took a good 15 minutes to get our food. While that's not too long in regular time, for a "fast food" place, it's forever. Second, the burger was okay, but for the price, a disappointment. We could have spent the same amount at a local non-fast food place and gotten a much better burger, or spent half as much at Burger King and gotten something almost as good.

People have said that some Fatburgers are better (and worse) than others. But the two I have tried in Las Vegas have been outstanding and consistent. Their burgers are the closest any fast food burger has come to giving me a product that is as good as I can make myself. Plus, free blues and R&B in the jukebox. Considering how much bicycling I need to do to work off a fast food meal, I only have one if it's worth it.

I am not an In 'N' Out fan. Problems include their cheese (probably the worst cheese of all fast food joints), the fries that have the shelf life of a mayfly (but that is a problem with MOST fast food joints), and their proselytizing on their wrappers. (Granted, it is the most low-key proselytizing ever. But still.)

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I gotta get to Freddy's. I think Fatburger is coming to Dallas. But not sure when. Of course, it's possible that it's here and I just didn't get the memo.

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Too much East/West coast influence here methinks.

Which is sort of funny, considering where I currently live, but guilty as charged. Unfortunately, the nearest Culvers to me is 150 miles away. The nearest Steak'n'Shake is only 15, I can probably swing that.

Yeah, I got a chuckle out of that too, still, not too much discussion of those midwestern stalwarts.

I noticed last week that a Smashburger opened about 10 miles from me. Perhaps I'll visit soon to conduct a benchmarking exercise. Purely for scientific reasons of course.

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Freddy's, Whataburger, Culvers, Smashburger? Wha? Are my West Coast roots showing yet?

Here are my rankings...

1) In-N-Out (because I'm from the SGV, birthplace of In-N-Out)

2) Nations (a Bay Area Chain)

3) The Habit

4) Jack In The Box

5) Fatburger

6) Carl's Jr.

7) Burger King

8) Wendy's

9) McDonalds

10) Sonic (love their chili cheese tots though)

I figured that if Five Guys is in the mix, I could throw Nations and The Habit in there too. We do have a Five Guys here, but I refuse to set foot in there because of their use of peanut oil (long story)

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Since I last posted, I noticed that Five Guys has invaded the area as well as Smashburger. More opportunity for future "research".

Finally got the opportunity to compare Smashburger to the regional faves Steak n' Shake and Culvers. Tried the classic w/o the american cheese (me no likey American cheese) with their shoestring frites.

As the name implies, SB is of the school that smooshes a blob of beef on the griddle to frizzle it thin and well-done, as opposed to the "throw a patty on and flip it" approach. This puts them in the same camp as Culvers and SnS as far as griddle technique goes, afaik.

I think the burger edges out both Culvers and SnS, though not by a whole lot.SB seasons their beef nicely and the Smash sauce helps the flavor too. Culvers comes very close in style and in the high quality of garnishes, but they have no special condiments and undersalt their beef. If your going to get fries at Smashburger, skip the forgettable plain fries. Didn't try the rosemary fries or sweet potato fries but they've got to be better. SnS does a better job with the shoestrings, though they are maddeningly inconsistent. Neither matches Culvers nice, consistent, fat crinkle fries, IMHO, but that's my french fry prejudice.

So, Smashburger fans, if you espy a Culvers or a Steak n' Shake, know that they at least play in the same ballpark. Any Culvers or Steak n' Shake owners out there, the competition is gaining on you.


Edited by earlgrey_44 (log)

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But only at Culver's can you get fried cheese curds, a crucial consideration.

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When I am in Arizona I go for the Jumbo Jack @ Jack in the Box. No JitB here in Jersey. I also like Carl's Jr.

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Still no one ranking Wendy's in the mix?

OK, I finally made it to Wendy's yesterday for lunch, and I agree with the others in this topic: of the Big 3, Wendy's clearly has the superior burger. It's not much of a contest, really. Honestly, I'm not at all sure it's not better than In'n'Out (maybe I am just overreacting to the massive and undeserved I'n'O hype, though). I think my current list goes something like this:

  1. Freddy's
  2. Smashburger
  3. Five Guys
  4. There is no number four, there is a gap here.
  5. Braum's
  6. Wendy's
  7. In'n'Out
  8. Whataburger
  9. McDonalds
  10. Burger King
  11. Sonic
  12. Carl's Jr.

Am I leaving anyone out? What are your lists?

FatBurger

Here's the best I could come up with, their locator is down, one may be nearby?:

http://locationslocal.com/ULG9/Fatburger/Thomas+OK/

More Fatburger locations can be found nearby in Custer City, Oakwood, Putnam, Weatherford, Hydro, Arapaho, Watonga, Clinton and Greenfield

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