Oh yeah…it’s the LONG awaited return of my “VS” series and this one is a BIGGIE! In the world of hamburgers, there is quite a long line of burger joints that will CLAIM to be the best in the world. However in MY experience, there are really 2 chains that have the market cornered as far as tasty burgers are concerned and they are west coast staple “In & Out” and the new kid on the block, “Five Guys” from Virginia.
Although Five Guys isn’t actually a “new” restaurant (the original opened in 1986), it wasn’t until lately that it has begun to infiltrate every city in the United States. With it’s free-for-all toppings and an endless bag of fries, Five Guys is easily the most FILLING lunch out there. It literally makes my stomach hurt from all the goodness and is an extremely messy experience with ketchup & mayo & pickles & sauce & whatever else I can think to include on it dripping down the sides! Good stuff!
On the west side of our country is the reigning king of burgerland…In & Out. Founded in 1948 by Harry & Esther Snyder, there are a little over 200 restaurants in the United States with none of them reaching past Arizona (although now they are apparently expanding to Texas). The reason behind this is that they don’t want any of the restaurants to be more than a day away from the distribution center. This keeps the meat fresh and the customers coming back. Adding to the appeal, In & Out is one of the few businesses in the country that actually pays its employees a decent pay rate that is not mandated by the state. So it also has the employee happiness thing going for it as well.
So now…which is better? Well…for MY money…I’d take In & Out for a few reasons. First off…eating at Five Guys, while a delicious experience, is painful. I honestly cannot finish a double and a bag of fries without having to be wheeled out of the place. And that’s what they do to me. According to a study in Men’s Health magazine, Five Guys is one of the most calorie-filled eating experiences in the country. A double is over 700 calories and their french fries, while DELICIOUS, are the 4th most unhealthy food in the country. In their defense though…anyone caught eating an entire order of fries (which I have done) is an idiot. Honestly, a small fry at Five Guys is really an order for 3 people. So I can’t blame the restaurant for my inability to pull the plug. What they DO have going for them are the toppings and the grease. Seriously…its like heaven eating a big, fat greasy burger…especially after a few drinks…and Five Guys is a perfect late night snack…for anyone under the age of 35.
In & Out is perfect for me. Perfect portions. Perfect taste. Perfectly fresh. And whenever I am on the west coast, I eat there. And so do most of the people I travel with. Will it be such a delicacy once they make their way to the east coast? Maybe…maybe not. But for now…In & Out wins the burger battle until further notice!