{the palate} good eats: five guys vs. in-n-out

April 8, 2011

(Five Guys photo by Atlanta Food Critic. Their picture was far better than mine!)

Not sure if this would be a true “versus” post because both are different kind of burger joints. But both are beloved in their own regions. West Side or East Coast?

So, before I get into it — here’s some background info:

Five Guys originated from the DC Metro area in the late 80s. Since then they’ve opened over 750 locations in North America. It is a privately owned company but there are opportunities to franchise. They use fresh ground beef, fresh-cut boardwalk-style french fries (regular + Cajun style), and they also serve kosher-style hot dogs as well. Some locations serve breakfast! They’ve got a plethora of toppings ranging from jalapeños to A1 sauce. Their menu is quite simple but supposedly you’ve got 250,000 ways to order at Five Guys.

The first In-N-Out opened in Baldwin Park, California in the late 40s. It’s a private, family owned company. Absolutely no franchises. 258 other In-N-Out locations have opened since the first and each location is only a day’s drive from the distribution center. They grind the beef chucks into patties themselves and peel/cut each potato into fries. (Talk about fresh!) They’ve also got a “secret menu.” (Here‘s a longer list with pictures! Wee!) The company is currently is “being guided” by heiress, Lynsi Martinez. She’s getting all of her shares ($475 million) by her 35th birthday. Lucky lady.

So, what’s the consensus? Between a few of my friends, it seems as though In-N-Out is the winner. (7 to 5) The friends who lived/are from the West all said In-N-Out. A few of my friends who are from the East still favored In-N-Out. Three reasons: the freshness, it’s all the way on the other side of the US, and the overall nostalgic feeling of the restaurant. So, when people from the West visit, say NYC, do they have to try White Castle? I mean, you can only get White Castle “freshly” made in the Northeast region of the US. (If you haven’t tried White Castle, which I highly doubt, don’t fret. You can get some in the freezer section of your local grocer. It tastes EXACTLY the same.)

What do I favor? While I appreciate In-N-Out’s efforts to keep the quality of their food super duper fresh, I can’t help but choose Five Guys. I know they’ve gotten criticism over their unhealthy burgers… but it’s my guilty pleasure. I love me a greasy, “man-like” burger. I always get a Little Bacon Cheeseburger with mayo, lettuce, and grilled onions with a side of Cajun fries. Okay, let’s be honest. It’s not a side. It’s a bag of greasy-ass fries. And I eat it with malt vinegar.

I mean, come on. Even the POTUS likes Five Guys. :)

So, what do you like better?! 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katrina April 8, 2011 at 10:19 am

I’m going to have to agree with you on this one…5 guys! In & Out is really good, but in my opinion, the flavor doesn’t compare to 5 guys. Maybe it’s all the grease & cajun seasoning. I’m a southern girl! Animal style fries are delicious, however, they didn’t win my heart over.

As for white castle…I get it, I guess. It’s exciting, it’s delicious…but it ain’t all that.


2 RavieNomNoms April 10, 2011 at 11:17 am

Five Guys ALL THE WAY! No lie…I first found Five Guys in Virginia when I was on vacation years and years ago and then I was lucky enough for them to build one in Delaware, close to my hometown in PA. Now that I live in CT they just built one about 10 minutes from my house and I’ll tell you what, I just cannot seem to get enough. The being able to have peanuts as an appetizer and then throw the peanut shells on the floor…and then the burgers…yum! There is no comparison in my book!


3 fooddreamer April 11, 2011 at 7:16 am

A Five Guys is opening up near us in the Boston suburbs and I can’t wait to try it! Yes, I am all for “freshness”, but sometimes greasiness is a good thing!


4 Lauren @ L-Mo Cooks April 11, 2011 at 11:56 am

I’ve never had In-N-Out, but I know that I love me some Five Guys! I have one within walking distance of my house…dangerous!


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