The burger battle brews



Hailing from the East Coast, I can say that we East Coasters share one universal question: Why don’t we have an In-N-Out yet? This has plagued former California residents and tourists alike, who have sought solace in everything from backyard barbeques to the Golden Arches and its “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.”

Nothing is the same, but one challenger has risen.

Enter Five Guys, the burger joint that started in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and has become one of the fastest-growing restaurant chains in the United States over the last decade.

On the surface, it shares a lot in common with its West Coast counterpart. Both restaurants stress 100 percent high-quality, all-beef patties. Both claim to use potatoes shipped straight from the farm and cut in-house for their fries. And both stress the importance of using no freezers or microwaves. Put simply, they both stake claims as kings of quality.

There are distinct differences between the two, though. At In-N-Out you can order a milkshake. At Five Guys you can order a hot dog. In-N-Out fries are thin and crispy. Five Guys boasts thick-cut fries.

The key is that both restaurants deliver on their promises and leave their customers satisfied. But which is better? As someone who ate at both places yesterday, here is my brief opinion.

In-N-Out wins after 11 p.m. With many of its competitors closed, it attracts large crowds well past midnight because it offers quality, affordable food that will squash late-night hunger. Its atmosphere is lively and its workers are welcoming even after 1 a.m.

Five Guys wins every other hour of the day. Bold statement? Consider the 250,000 ways to order a burger at Five Guys. That is customization that In-N-Out can’t touch. Five Guys’ burgers are thicker and juicier, while every individual fry packs a load of potato into each crisp, delicious bite cooked in 100 percent peanut oil. Not to mention there is the option for Cajun fries. As someone who used to be caught up in the allure of In-N-Out while living on the East Coast, I have experienced the differences and the clear choice is Five Guys.

Disagree with my opinion? Feel free to voice yours by tweeting me @kkarn7 or emailing If I get enough responses, I will write a full article and do a deeper, more thorough investigation into this polarizing burger frenzy.