HOME > Chowhound > Chains >


In-N-Out, Fatburger, Culver's Throwdown

  • j

Last week, my travel schedule happened to work out that I was able to eat at an In-N-Out, Fatburger, and Culver's all within four days. Normally, I wouldn't have that many burger meals on the road, but it seemed like a great opportunity to compare.

I can't get any of these three where I live, so occasionally being able to have one of the three is a treat. But my own personal throwdown was fun.

All three burgers were great...regular Fatburger, Double-double animal style, and Deuxe Butterburger.

My pick....Culver's. Had a great seared crust on the outside of the patty, but still juicy inside. And the buttered toasted bun held the sandwich together well.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Unbelievable --- this has been the 10 year debate between myself (Calif born and bred) and my BF (Wisconsinite)... The only thing that we both agree on is that Fatburger doesn't even belong in the category -- it's always been a double-double vs butterburger battle.
    Thanks for taking one for the team with such a protein packed throwdown! We can finally let this rest with your tie breaking results. Culver's it is!!!

    1. I'm from Calif. and I cant speak about Butterburgers but between In n Out and
      Fatburger In n Out double double animal style wins hands down. Fatburger is good but greatly overpriced once you add anything to it. For instance a double chili cheese burger at Fatburger - a dollar for each slice of cheese(2) and a dollar for a tiny dollop of chili and you are out 3 bucks before you even start with the burger!

      1. Out of curiosity, where were the stores you ate in located? Seems to me it's a long way between the I-N-O and Culver's that are closest together, but maybe things have changed with expansions.

        6 Replies
        1. re: johnb

          I think you can hit all three in AZ

          1. re: ClockworkOrange

            You can. Two Culver's just opened here in Phoenix--one only about a block from my office. I haven't tried it yet, but it got pretty good reviews from my co-workers.

            1. re: ajs228

              Yes, now I see that from the location map. Previously the closest ones were in Colorado.

              Why not add 5 Guys to the throwdown? They are about to open a location in LAX. PHX can't be far behind. Then it would be possible to do all four in one day. Think of the possibilities.....!

              1. re: johnb

                It hurts my arteries just thinking about it. In a good way :-)

            2. re: ClockworkOrange

              Yep...in Mesa, they are all within a 2-mile radius of each other.

            3. re: johnb

              Actually, the In-N-Out and Fatburger outlets were in Las Vegas. I hit the Culver's in O-Fallon, Illinois after my flight back to St. Louis.

            4. Culver's - I like In-N-Out a lot (for fast food), but I had Culver's for the first time this weekend and the crust on the edges you mentioned were just awesome. The onion rings were also very good (In-N-Out's fries are their weakness IMO) and the service is friendly. I'm gonna have a hard time settling for a lesser fast food burger after the Deluxe @ Culver's. All hail the ButterBurger!

              1 Reply
              1. re: azhotdish

                I grew up in Milwaukee, lived in LA for a few years, now I'm back in Wisconsin. Don't get me wrong, there are few things better than watching planes land at LAX while chomping down a Double Double. But, I agree that Culver's wins the burger competition hands down. They're much juicier and have a better true beef flavor.

              2. This is seriously depressing. In and Out is like a fantasy place to me. While I rarely eat fast food, Popeyes excepted, I've read enough about In and Out to imagine if I ever went out West, I'd seek them out just to eat the Nirvana of fast food burgers.
                Taste being subjective, if there are people that think Culvers is better, I'm probably going to be disappointed.
                Culvers came to Des Moines maybe 8 years ago. I had a butter burger then. It was OK. I remember saying I would not make a special trip to ever get one.
                Last year I tried another. It was awful. Thin, dry, and tasted as if had been coated with salt. Salt was ALL I could taste.
                Around here I find B-Bops to be much better. Maybe the Nirvana of fast food burgers is right down the street from me.
                Nothing, however, compares to fresh ground beef, right off the charcoal on the deck.
                Thank God Spring is here.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Bobfrmia

                  Well, everyone is different. I have eaten Culver's twice and I don't really care for it. It was ok but really nothing special. But I LOVE In-n-Out. When you finally get to one, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

                  1. re: Bobfrmia

                    I always have been fond of B-Bop's burgers. Going down Douglas Ave in Des Moines to Porky's for a cherry Coke used to be a huge treat for me, though we never did eat there, for some reason.

                    1. re: spellweaver16

                      If you ever had, you would know the reason.
                      Their signature item was pork tenderloins. They had a dozen or so varieties, based on toppings. The loins themselves were prefab, compressed, pork like substance. That's not to say they were terrible, you just didn't appreciate them as a pork tenderloin.

                      1. re: Bobfrmia

                        Like most of the pork tenderloins in Iowa? lol I didn't even like pork tenderloins until I tried one that didn't come from a Sysco box. Our local restaurant up the street was running a special on them one Saturday night and it changed my perception forever. The meat had a grain, and it was so tender! It rocked my world.

                    2. re: Bobfrmia

                      Don't put InO on too much of a pedestal. I did that and was rather underwhelmed. I thought it was a good FF burger but really nothing that special. Perhaps I was convinced it would be more by the fanboi's


                    3. Okay, first of all, I agree with the poster above who said that Fatburger doesn't even belong in the same category - it's a good burger, but not great. I have been eating In-N-Out for a long time, and have always loved it. I've never had Culver's - until tonight. I decided to make the drive up from Nashville to Bowling Green, Kentucky to the closest location and give it a shot.

                      I got a Double Butter Burger with cheese. One thing that I will say about the burger is that it definitely has a very unique taste. I have never had a burger that tasted quite like it. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily a good thing. Someone above mentioned that the burger patty is incredibly salty, and I think that's the main thing that stood out to me - how salty it was. Now I love salty, but this may have been too salty even for me. Overall, it was a pretty good, obviously freshly made burger. But I still don't think it compares to In-N-Out. In-N-Out is head and shoulders above Fatburger and Culver's in my book.

                      HAVING SAID THAT...I think on a good day, Five Guys is better than all three!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jamiecarroll

                        I wish Culver's would come to the D.C. area. Somehow those "good days" that everybody talks about never coincide with my visits to the ubiquitous Five Guys outlets.

                      2. I live in Scottsdale, AZ and we have all three. I must say that when I lived in California I thought Fatburger wins, but think that the quality has gone downhill. Until recently I was a devout In-n-Out fan and then Culver's opened here, and I think the Culver's Deluxe (without tomatoes) is the best fast food burger I've found.

                        I've yet to try a Five Guys and would really like to. I'm also a HUGE White Castles fan but they don't have them here and, besides, it's really a different type of burger.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ejs1492

                          I think with Fatburger, you need to get the burger with the fried egg on top. Then it is neck and neck with the double double from In-n-Out in my opinion. Actually, I like the fries at Fatburger MUCH better also, so that influences my overall opinion when comparing the two places. I can't wait to check out Culver's, there is a new one a couple of miles from my house! Is there something wrong with the tomatoes at Culver's or do you just not like them in general?

                        2. Fatburger is good, but they have closed down all the local restaurants in Colorado Springs, where I live.

                          Culvers is good as well, but my new favorite is a new chain (at least in Colorado Springs) called Freddies. Damn! They have those patties that get thin and crispy at the edges! I loves me some Freddies!

                          Also, from a Colorado Springs perspective, RedTop is an AWESOME hamburger, but it is Colorado Springs only, and appears to be a dying brand.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: pblanton

                            For the occasional fast food burger, I'm a big Culver's fan for the same reasons mentioned above. There's not one nearby for which I'm glad. Today I found myself starving after missing lunch around 2:45 and saw Freddy's on the side of the road. I remembered this post and stopped by for my first time and ordered the smallest cheeseburger on the menu with extra pickles. Wow... really good... like Culver's, the veggies were cool and fresh tasting and the beef was a tad crispy with the cheese completely melted. Very good, indeed.

                            1. re: pblanton

                              Not to change the subject, but what happened to kcmn 1530 radio station in the Springs? Tron was/is the best DJ in the USA. I listened to it a couple hours a day on the internet, all of a sudden gone!