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The Clash of Cultures Between In-N-Out and Whataburger

In-N-Out Side By Side with Whataburger. Photo credits to Mashed Official Website.

As more and more Californians have moved to Texas in the past 10 years, the long-standing cult followings of In-N-Out and Whataburger have begun to clash. Fans of both are forced to ask the difficult question: Which burger chain reigns supreme?

In 1948, Harry Snyder opened California’s first drive-through burger stand, In-N-Out. Snyder’s ingenuity in creating the two-way speaker box changed the drive-through business and also helped his delicious product thrive. 70 years later, Snyder’s burger chain is one of the biggest in the country and incredibly successful. His infamous “Animal Style” burger and fries are iconic secret menu items consisting of mustard-cooked beef patty and your choice of hand-leafed lettuce, tomato, pickle, extra spread, and grilled onions. This trade-secret burger style keeps In-N-Out lovers coming back. In 2011 and 2013, In-N-Out expanded to the great state of Texas opening locations in Frisco and Austin. 

70 years ago, Harmon Dobson had the brave idea of serving a burger in Texas so good that it made indulgers say “What a burger!” He subsequently decided to name the first stand in Corpus Christi, “Whataburger.” Now, the familiar orange and white striped building is all over Texas, and many locations have opened in other parts of the country. Similarly to In-N-Out to Californians, Whataburger holds a dear place in many Texan’s hearts. Almost every Texan teenager has spent late nights getting Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits (Hubchubs) with their friends or having family dinner over delicious burgers. For this reason, Texans will consistently argue that Whataburger is much better than In-N-Out. 

Koby Sheldon, an Emery Weiner alumni who now goes to college in California claims, “Since I grew up in Texas, I have had Whataburger more times than I can count. But, I do love In-N-Out and I have to say that it tastes different in California than it does in Texas…If I had to choose which one I believe is better though, I would have to say Whataburger.” 

Evelyn Burt, a current Emery Senior, grew up in California, so she has a very unique connection to this endless debate. Evelyn shares, “Most people in California are obsessed with In-N-Out because of the animal-style burgers that they have, but I feel that having just one type of food that people can get is boring. I think that Whataburger is way better because they have so many more options.”  

Reflecting on the commentary of a native Californian and a native Houstonian, it is clear that Whataburger is a superior product to In-N-Out. However, this article is certainly not going to end a decades-long debate, so it will be interesting to see how this fight will persist in the future.

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