Over Christmas I had the pleasure of traveling to Southern California to visit my girlfriend’s family. Everyone was pleasant, the weather was (mostly) agreeable, and traffic was surprisingly light. One of the restaurants we visited was In-N-Out Burger.
For the uninitiated, In-N-Out is a fast food joint that only sells burgers and fries. It does this job reasonably well; the sandwiches are fresher than Mickey Ds, the fries are cut on premises. It’s a nice enough little place.
But it’s far inferior to Five Guys. I’m sorry, it just is. I understand that you SoCal types grew up with In-N-Out, and you love it, and it plays a key role in a very funny scene in “The Big Lebowski.” Really, I do. I get it. But let’s be honest: the burgers are slightly tarted up, fresher versions of the McDonald’s double cheeseburger. The patties are flat and slightly over cooked. It’s good, but not great.
Five Guys, however, is great. The burgers are thicker and juicier; they’re delightfully messy; they’re infinitely customizable. When cooked properly, the fries are better–a thicker cut, better seasoning. There are those free peanuts when you walk in the door. It’s just a better overall experience. I don’t understand why recalcitrant Southern California transplants refuse to acknowledge this fact. It’s barely even up for debate. Perhaps Mr. Poulos or Mr. Friersdorf can explain…
(Sidenote: Fuddruckers is the most overrated burger joint in the history of man. Expensive (relative to the two chains just mentioned), always overcooked, and with that awful Roy Rogers-esque fixin’s bar. Just terrible. I don’t understand why anyone would go there.)