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  #1  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:04 PM
DMark DMark is offline
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Best Burger Chain In The USA?

Another thread is slowly being hijacked about the best place to get burgers so I thought it was time.

What chain restaurant has the best Hamburgers/Cheeseburgers - and fries - in the USA?

My nominees:

There is the West Coast war between fans of Fatburger and In-N-Out. Actually, the folks living on the West Coast are lucky to have two great chains like these but I have to give the nod to In-N-Out - great burgers, best fries in the US and the prices are cheap!

Another chain here is Red Robin - fantastic burgers (but crappy fries). They are a bit pricey ($7.99 and up) but worth the price.

The only other burger chain I like is in NYC - Jackson Hole was one of my favorites when I lived there, but haven't been back in years and don't know how they are holding up.

And your nominee is?
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:13 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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My opinion is on record: Fatburger makes great burgers, but In-n-Out beats them by a mile! Fresh fries...you can see them slicing the potatoes in the back. Leaf lettuce, never frozen meat, the Secret Menu....still the best.
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  #3  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:14 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is offline
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The best chain in the Mid-Atlantic is Five Guys, hands down.
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  #4  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:16 PM
Anastasaeon Anastasaeon is offline
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Dick's Drive In. Period.
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  #5  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:23 PM
Troy McClure SF Troy McClure SF is offline
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In N Out. For national chains, Jack In THe Box beats out BK for the top spot.
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  #6  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:23 PM
psycat90 psycat90 is offline
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My vote goes to In-N-Out. Best chain burger. Doube Double Animal style and a nice thick chocolate shake. Yum.
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  #7  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:26 PM
An Arky An Arky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lute Skywatcher
The best chain in the Mid-Atlantic is Five Guys, hands down.
Ditto. Any of you MADs who haven't been there, it's worth the trip.

Sounds like In n Out might be a similar deal; I'd like to try those if I ever get out to the left coast again.
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  #8  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:37 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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No, no, no! [b]Fatburger[/i]'s burgers are superior to In-N-Out. Hands down, no doubt. And Fatburger's fries are better as well.

My votes in decreasing order:

Fatburger
In-N-Out
Wendy's
Carl's Jr.
Del Taco or Wienerschitzel
Burger King

I can't bring myself to put Jack-In-The Box or McDonalds on the 'best burger' list. But McDonalds makes a good fish sandwich, and Jack-In-The-Box has tacos that are disgusting-but-sometimes-you-just-gotta-have-'em.

Red Robin is a sit-down restaurant, and so is TGI Friday's. Good burgers, but expensive.

Best Burger Ever is from a place that no longer exists: Joy's in Barstow. Hasn't existed since the '70s. They had a gread mac'n'cheese salad to boot.

Second-best burger is also from a place that no longer exists: The Kittyhawk at Santa Monica Airport. It's now The Spitfire Grill (where the screenwriter for the film got the name -- IIRC his office was upstairs from it), and their burgers aren't as good.

But we're talking chains here, so those two don't count.
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  #9  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:37 PM
Cliffy Cliffy is offline
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I give the nod to In-N-Out despite the fact that I live in Five Guys' hometown. Five Guys is quite wonderful (although in the last year I think I've noticed a drop in quality), but it's not a patch on In-N-Out.

--Cliffy
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  #10  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:40 PM
Cliffy Cliffy is offline
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Oh, I've only been to Fatburger once and it was OK. In-N-Out is substantially better, but I recognize that I may have just hit a statistical anomaly.

If we aren't limited to chains, the best burger is the world, my hand to god, is found at the snack bar at Haines Point golf course in D.C.

--Cliffy
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  #11  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:43 PM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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No love for Fuddruckers?
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  #12  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:45 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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Fuddrucker's is on a different plane entirely. Gods themselves eat there. But they seem to be getting scarce arouns SoCal.
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  #13  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:51 PM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Fuddrucker's isn't fast food in my book. You have your fast food and you have your "other" hamburger.

Fud's is good, but Culver's ain't bad. There's another place that's more of a gourmet hamburger, but I can't think of the name of it. I only ate there once, and it was fab.
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  #14  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:51 PM
Bearflag70 Bearflag70 is offline
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I'll nominate Sonic in addition to the above.
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  #15  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:53 PM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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...and Burger King is my favorite fast food burger (national chain).
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  #16  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:53 PM
devilsknew devilsknew is offline
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I like Rally's. Definitely, not the best burger, but it is the best burger value.

I'm from the midwest but spend time in the South, so I'm going to have to put in a vote for Sonic as the best burger. They have a big, tasty, and fresh fried burger.

Wendy's burgers are pretty good... a double or triple with cheese always satisfies my hankerin' for a hunk of, a slab, a slice, a chunk of... BEEF.

I got a thing for Big Macs, too. I have a special sauce addiction... it's the crack of the burger world.
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  #17  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:57 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devilsknew
I like Rally's. Definitely, not the best burger, but it is the best burger value.
I first had Rally's on one of my earlier trips to New Orleans. Definitely a decent value for the money. But as you say, not the best burger compared to the competition.

A couple of years before I left L.A. a Rally's opened up a block away from In-N-Out. Both were mere blocks from my home.
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  #18  
Old 12-07-2005, 12:58 PM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is offline
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I must be missing something. I was travelling out west a couple weeks ago and finally tried the much-lauded In-N-Out Burger. It's better than any chains around here (I've tried Fuddrucker's once, wasn't impressed), but nothing special. There's a place called Bartley's right near Harvard Square, good burgers (mostly named for politicians) and the atmosphere is like P.J. O'Rourke's dorm room exploded, but you could never capture that sort of thing in a chain.

Living in Seattle, are we, Anastasaeon? I'll take Burgermaster over Dick's.

And seriously, the best burger I can get these days is in my own kitchen.
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  #19  
Old 12-07-2005, 01:09 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troy McClure SF
In N Out. For national chains, Jack In THe Box beats out BK for the top spot.
I dare you to eat at the Jack at 4th and Mission and repeat that claim.

In-n-Out's only OK, and their religious overtones are an ingredient I'm not fond of. Ignoring that, I've never been able to understand the fuss over them. Yes, the food is fresh, but uninspiring, and the fries are undercooked. You shouldn't need a secret menu.

One of the best burgers I ever had was at a donut shop near the freeway. Absolute hole in the wall place with winos in the parking lot, but they were serving up a nice big burger cooked just right, covered with real cheese and thick bacon. They must have scored a great deal on premium bacon that day as all of the specials had bacon.

Wendys always seems to overcook their meat until it's crumbly. Not to crazy about their buns either - there's an odd sweetness to them.

For a dependably good anywhere burger, my pick is Burger King's Whopper. Sadly, BK's fries are horribly inferior to McDonalds.

Speaking of McD's - the Big Mac is a food entity unto itself. Not necessarily better or worse than anything else, but unique.
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  #20  
Old 12-07-2005, 01:33 PM
sj2 sj2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robot Arm
Living in Seattle, are we, Anastasaeon? I'll take Burgermaster over Dick's.

And seriously, the best burger I can get these days is in my own kitchen.
Gotta agree. I wouldn't eat Dicks if I wasn't drinking. And I am a slut for burgers.

Palmers East in Redmond has the best gut-buster farmer's burgers, btw. I think Tuesday is 1/2 price burger day too.

I guess I need to try Fatburger. But Palmers is on the way there, so it may be tough.

I do miss upstate NY sliders. Not White Castle type though...I
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  #21  
Old 12-07-2005, 01:54 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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In-N-Out.

I tried Fatburger recently, and it was ok. Better than most burger places, but not better than In-N-Out. The thing that got me was how expensive it was. I got a single burger, fries, and a shake, and it was over $9. A similar order at In-N-Out with a double double, fries, and a shake, is less than $6.
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  #22  
Old 12-07-2005, 01:55 PM
Taters Taters is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sj2
Gotta agree. I wouldn't eat Dicks if I wasn't drinking. And I am a slut for burgers.

Palmers East in Redmond has the best gut-buster farmer's burgers, btw. I think Tuesday is 1/2 price burger day too.

I guess I need to try Fatburger. But Palmers is on the way there, so it may be tough.

I do miss upstate NY sliders. Not White Castle type though...I
The best burgers used to come from EarthQuakes. They also had the best onion rings. Unfortunately, they're not a chain and had to close down when the land was bought for a strip mall. They still have a stand out at the Puyallup fair, but somehow, they've changed and the burgers aren't the same.

As far as chains go, it has to be Red Robin. At least for the burgers.
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  #23  
Old 12-07-2005, 02:04 PM
DrLoveGun DrLoveGun is offline
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I'd have to say Kirk's Steak Burgers. Of course it's just a chain of 3 in the Bay Area. But they are mighty tasty
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  #24  
Old 12-07-2005, 02:23 PM
lieu lieu is offline
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What-A-Burgers exist across the south from Georgia to Arizona and I prefer to Fuddrucker, Jack, etc. They have special burgers every so often like jalapeno and A-1 burgers but their double w/ cheese is pretty hard to beat.
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  #25  
Old 12-07-2005, 02:30 PM
bradministrator bradministrator is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robot Arm
the atmosphere is like P.J. O'Rourke's dorm room exploded
That is the most intriguing and also mystifying description I've ever read.

5 Guys makes a good hamburger, but I fail to see why doing so should take 15 minutes when I'm the only person in the place.
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  #26  
Old 12-07-2005, 02:54 PM
Moirai Moirai is offline
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FatBurger!!!

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  #27  
Old 12-07-2005, 02:58 PM
Airblairxxx Airblairxxx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrLoveGun
I'd have to say Kirk's Steak Burgers. Of course it's just a chain of 3 in the Bay Area. But they are mighty tasty
Mmm . . . Kirk's. I shouldn't be looking at threads like this before lunch.

For you current and former residents of Los Angeles, truly the hamburger capitol of the country--nay, the world--I submit: Tommy's. I don't quite comprehend why there are so many restaurants in LA with variations of that name, like Tomy's, Big Tommy's, Original Tommy's, Tomi's, etc., but the location in Westwood--really just a hexagonal orange hut--served up beef manna from heaven for a drunk student staggering home from the bars at 2am.
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  #28  
Old 12-07-2005, 03:05 PM
CandidGamera CandidGamera is offline
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Most of these chains, I don't have.

I do have Hardee's (AKA Carls, Jr); Burger King, Wendy's; McDonald's.

Hardee's has the best burger. Their thickburgers are awesome beyond words. I just can't eat their every day, though, because I'd die. They're probably my second favorite place of the four, and they do have lovely curly fries.

Wendy's is probably the second best burger, and my favorite place of the four. Good burgers, good fries, great chicken nuggets, and Frostys!

McDonald's burgers will always have a special place in my heart, bland as they are. I honestly don't care for their fries, and only buy them if there's a Monopoly promotion on.

Burger King I like least, because while the first half of the burger is okay, the second half always tastes like licking a grill. Again, don't care for their fries.
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  #29  
Old 12-07-2005, 03:15 PM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus
But they seem to be getting scarce arouns SoCal.
Maybe, but you still have Tommy's (I miss Tommy's) and Hamburger Hamlet .
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  #30  
Old 12-07-2005, 03:16 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJsGirl
FatBurger!!!

Thank you!

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  #31  
Old 12-07-2005, 03:19 PM
Interrobang!? Interrobang!? is offline
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Another Seattleite who's fond of Dick's burgers, though they're not amazing. They're a good, simple, McDonald's-style burger, but better. The best burger in town comes from a two-store chain, Red Mill Burgers. And Kidd Valley isn't bad. I never much cared for Burgermaster, though.

The best chain in the region is [b]Burgerville[/b[ (warning: Flash-happy site), which uses local beef and cheese in their burgers. Unfortunately, the closest franchise is in Centralia, which is a couple of hours away. We almost always stop if we're going to Portland, though -- the Pepper Bacon Tillamook Cheeseburger is excellent.

And they've got great milkshakes. They bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right.
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  #32  
Old 12-07-2005, 04:05 PM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is offline
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Burgerville! That was the name of the place I was trying to remember. My girlfriend last year raved about that place from her days living in Portland. I was out there last summer doing the Seattle-to-Portland bike ride, and after riding all day I passed the Burgerville in Centralia. I had a spaghetti dinner waiting for me about a mile away, so I didn't stop. But this may be my favorite burger place just based on the smell alone. And unless you've done it, you don't know how hungry you can be after riding a bicycle 100 miles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradministrator
That is the most intriguing and also mystifying description I've ever read.
The walls at Bartley's are absolutely covered with anarcho-political stuff; including, but not limited to, the following:

A "this is your brain on drugs, this is your brain with a side of bacon, etc." poster,
A magazine ad from the 50's for Chesterfield cigarettes, with Ronald Reagan,
Postcards with Bill and Hillary Clinton in leather bondage gear (probably a photoshop job, but I wouldn't swear to it).

I couldn't think of a better way to describe it.
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  #33  
Old 12-07-2005, 04:31 PM
Darryl Lict Darryl Lict is offline
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OK, where's the love for Tommy's, the greatest greasiest heart attack inducing bit of ambrosia on the planet. I pretty much consider In 'n Out and Tommy's to be different products (hamburger versus chiliburger) and I think they are both at the top of their respective game. Fatburger ain't bad, but I never get the jonzing for them that I do for Tommy's. I was once wandering around LA trying to figure out where the Tommy's was and pulled over and asked a stranger, who promptly pulled out a business card with all the locations listed on it!
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  #34  
Old 12-07-2005, 04:34 PM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Lict
OK, where's the love for Tommy's, the greatest greasiest heart attack inducing bit of ambrosia on the planet.
Pssst. Look four posts up.
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  #35  
Old 12-07-2005, 04:43 PM
Darryl Lict Darryl Lict is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam yax
Pssst. Look four posts up.
Crap, guess I can't read. Glad you agree with me though.
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  #36  
Old 12-07-2005, 04:46 PM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is online now
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My favorite inexpensive fast-food burger would be Checkers.

Is Five Guys fast food or table service? I've never been to one; I'm not sure if I've ever seen one.
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  #37  
Old 12-07-2005, 04:57 PM
Kyyrewyyoae Kyyrewyyoae is offline
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I'll second What-a-burger and Sonic, and suggest Steak n' Shake and Backyard Burger.
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  #38  
Old 12-07-2005, 05:02 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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My last trip to an In-N-Out was really disappointing. The burger was cold. Sorry, but a chain that serves me a cold burger isn't getting many points.

White Castle's burgers are terribly addictive, so I'll go with them for my U.S. pick. In Canada, it's definitely Harvey's.
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  #39  
Old 12-07-2005, 05:07 PM
Queen Bruin Queen Bruin is offline
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In-N-Out. Everyone knows, it's what a hamburger is all about.
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  #40  
Old 12-07-2005, 05:07 PM
Troy McClure SF Troy McClure SF is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotpasswords
I dare you to eat at the Jack at 4th and Mission and repeat that claim.
I did once, about five years ago. Gave a handful of change to the cutest homeless woman I've ever seen out front. Food was fine, IIRC.
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  #41  
Old 12-07-2005, 05:13 PM
Yeticus Rex Yeticus Rex is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotpasswords
In-n-Out's only OK, and their religious overtones are an ingredient I'm not fond of.
I thought the overtone was sexual?

Eh, don't matter........In-N-Out! In-N-Out! That's what a hamburger's all about!
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  #42  
Old 12-07-2005, 05:50 PM
Tevildo Tevildo is offline
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As a mere tourist, my vote is also for [b]In-n-Out[b]. Despite the giggle-inducing name.

The best non-chain burgers in the world are, of course, those served by Brett's of Oxford between 1983 and 1991.
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  #43  
Old 12-07-2005, 05:57 PM
Gangster Octopus Gangster Octopus is offline
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Fatburger and White Castle.

Cease all discussion, the truth has been told.
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  #44  
Old 12-07-2005, 06:37 PM
Hey, It's That Guy! Hey, It's That Guy! is offline
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Table service or not, nothing beats Fuddrucker's or even comes close. Hell, you can buy fresh ground beef at the butcher shop, grill it in your back yard, and it still won't be as good as a Fuddrucker's burger. There is no contest, and I feel bad for anyone who doesn't have one locally to try it. If you do have a Fudd's and don't like it, I doubt I can change your mind, but I don't see how any other burger can compare.

As a Florida boy, I've never had In 'n' Out or Fatburger, but I'd love to try them both. I think Sonic is my favorite fast food burger (plus they have tater tots and awesome desserts and drinks), Wendy's can be very good, but I'm not fond of Burger King or Checkers (aka Rally's) at all. Very rarely I'll develop a craving that can only be sated by McDonald's, but they're not even in the same league as the other fast food burgers. Not even the same ballpark.
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  #45  
Old 12-07-2005, 06:47 PM
Airblairxxx Airblairxxx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam yax
Pssst. Look four posts up.

Even better, look two posts above yours.


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  #46  
Old 12-07-2005, 06:58 PM
Jake Jake is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
My last trip to an In-N-Out was really disappointing. The burger was cold. Sorry, but a chain that serves me a cold burger isn't getting many points.

White Castle's burgers are terribly addictive, so I'll go with them for my U.S. pick. In Canada, it's definitely Harvey's.
Yep. I'll go with the sliders. Takes at least a dozen or more though, to fill me up.
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  #47  
Old 12-07-2005, 07:04 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Does anyone like Flaky Jake's? Are they even around anymore? Good burgers, and I liked the dijon mustard. Not fast-food, but not really a proper restaurant.
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  #48  
Old 12-07-2005, 07:09 PM
Cliffy Cliffy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RTFirefly
Is Five Guys fast food or table service? I've never been to one; I'm not sure if I've ever seen one.
It's like fast food in that you have to take your food from the counter to the table yourself, but it is by no means fast, as the burgers are put on the grill when you order them. However, they provide a giant bag of peanuts by the counter for snacking while you wait for your food. And the fries are usually sublime.

Thinking about it further, I realize that I made a mistake earlier when I voted for In-N-Out. I guess it's only because I haven't been back to the land of my birth for many years, but the actual best chain burgers in the world are at Swenson's Drive-In. Unfortunately, you have to be in Akron to get them.

Hamburger Station also has wonderful burgers.

--Cliffy
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  #49  
Old 12-07-2005, 07:17 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A.
Does anyone like Flaky Jake's? Are they even around anymore? Good burgers, and I liked the dijon mustard. Not fast-food, but not really a proper restaurant.
I think Flakey Jake's went under years ago. I remember them. Not Fuddrucker's by any means, but pretty good nonetheless. They had a great red pepper relish.
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  #50  
Old 12-07-2005, 07:37 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Seems there was one at Pico & Sepulveda...

(Pico and Sepulveda
La Breaaaaaaaa
Tar pits! (Tar Pits!)
La Jolla, Pacoima
La Breaaaaaaaa
Tar Pits! (Tar Pits!)
You can keep Alvarado, Santa Monica, even Beverly Drive.
Vine may be fine, but for me...
)

Sorry. Got distracted. Anyway, I think there used to be one at Pico & Sepulveda only it closed. The last one I went to was in Orange County next to one of the freeways. It was on Ball, I think.
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