Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chains >
Jan 23, 2009 07:50 AM

Burger Face-Off

I just returned from a trip to California where I sampled a single cheeseburger at two different In-N-Out shops, a burger which is often wistfully compared, particularly by west coast transplants, to Five Guys burgers. For me, it was no contest. Five Guys wins hands down.

The In-N-Out patty was more regular and more compact, like it came out of a press. Five Guys is irregular, looks, and feels hand molded. The Five Guys bun tasted better and held the sandwich better than In-N-Out. The In-N-Out burger came wrapped in paper and needed it to stay together while eating. I didn't care for the In-N-Out sauce (I don't like mayo on a burger and that's the base) so I ordered the second one without sauce. I got a fully look, but they complied.

For me, it was no contest. This one goes to Five Guys, though I think that if I was taking a west coast visitor on a burger tour here, I'd have to take him to both Five Guys and Ray's.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I was also unimpressed with In-N-Out. The burger was dry and the bun was smeared with grease. I took a couple bites and threw the rest away.

    Five Guys - they seem to vary a great deal. (Maybe it's the same with In-N-Out and Ijust picked a bad one?) The one on Security Blvd. is pretty good while the one in Laurel is not so good, in my experience.

    Is the new Fatburger in Columbia supposed to be like In-N-Out? If it is, then thanks for saving me the trip and the calories!

    3 Replies
    1. re: little audrey

      Fatburger is big, compared to In-N-Out. They're not similar but I wasn't all that impressed with what I ate. My big complaint about In-N-Out is that its burger is tiny (not even 1/4 lb). The menu lacked options and I had to wait 15 minutes (I was in Carlsbad over Thanksgiving week) after ordering to get my burger. I was just so disappointed...

      1. re: Ericandblueboy

        On the limited menu thing, that's one of the cachets for In-N-Out - the "secret" menu.

        Google the following:
        in n out secret menu

        Disclaimer: I've never been and can't comment on the quality of the food.

      2. re: little audrey

        Five Guys in Dobbin area of Columbia was good the time I went.

      3. I think In N Out is a good burger for the price. Fatburger is good but vastly overpriced when you add cheese and or chili. In N Out's single burger is overwhelmed by the other ingredients, lettuce, bun etc, to really appreciate an In N Out burger you need to get a double double(double meat and double cheese) it is still under 3 bucks. If you get is animal style it has even more flavor, they add pickles, grill the onions, extra sauce, and fry the patties with a smear of mustard - same price.

        1. There is no freezer in any In-N-Out. All ingredients are fresh. even the potatoes, which then turn into fries.

          The limited amount of ingredients make various combinations possible:
          -Burger patty (one size), fresh buns, lettuce (torn in store), tomatoes (sliced in store), onions (raw or grilled) sauce, catsup, mustard, pickles, yellow peppers. (Mustard, pickles and the yellow pepper are not listed as ingredients on the menu and are part of the "secret" menu)
          -fries (one size)
          -shakes (one size, three flavors)

          It is good. It is inexpensive. It is what we have out here. Always a line inside and at the drive through.

          The meat absolutely should not have been dry. There is a wait because nothing is started to cook ahead of time, only once orders have been placed.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cathy

            Shakes come in two sizes. Large isn't on the menu but is available. You can also get combinations on all the drinks including shakes. A neopolitan can be had if you ask for it.

          2. I've been fascinated by comparisons of Five Guys to In-N-Out. In fact, I've started a thread somewhere on this site asking people who have been to both which they prefer. I live in N.J. where we have a lot of good burger joints. White Rose is outstanding. About 2 years ago Five Guys came into Jersey. I've read on sites like this that quality may vary from location to location, but the three I've been to are consistently excellent. A Five Guys opened in my hometown so that is the one I go to now about once a month.

            I happen to love their burgers and fries. The burgers, while well done, are nice and juicy. I get mine with ketchup, mayo, pickles, and lettuce. Many people call Five Guys the East Coast's answer to In-N-Out. I've never been to In-N-Out so I can't make a comparison. It seems that most opinions I've read seem to favor In-N-Out. Most people that I know personally and some whose opinions I respect seem to favor Five Guys.

            Interesting topic. I hope that In-N-Out opens here in N.J. so that I can finally compare the 2 for myself. Fatburger has opened a location here and so has Sonic. Maybe In-N-Out will be next.

            4 Replies
            1. re: hotdoglover

              Just swing by In-'N-Out on your next trip to the west coast.

              1. re: hotdoglover

                where in nj is fatburger? the only one i know of is in the boratas.
                i think fuddruckers is the best burger in nj. i used to like ruby tuesday triple prime .

                  1. re: hotdoglover

                    I believe the Jersey City Fatburger has closed shop.....there's one in Rockaway though.

              2. I'm right there with you, MikeR. I think Five Guys wins over In-N-Out, and I detest that mayo sauce they slather over the burger at In-N-Out. Interesting observation: I am from the west coast and I prefer Five Guys, as does my brother (also from the WC). However, my fiance and several other people I know who are from the East Coast prefer In-N-Out. Perhaps it's more of a 'grass is greener' phenomenon?