Burger Wars: Is Fatburger Better than In N' Out?
While most Angelenos will urge their visitors to try a meal at In N' Out (the best to capture that classic sunshiney L.A. drive-through burger experience), they often forget about the other local fast-food burger phenomenon: Fatburger. Both establishments boast excellent burgers and a fool-proof menu, but there are some major (and delicious) differences that make it almost impossible to decide which is better (kind of like the Pink's versus Skooby's debate -- but that, dear reader, must wait for another time).
Fatburger just as much the juicy slice of L.A. history that In N' Out is: the first of the spreading chain was opened in 1952 by Lovey Yancey and Charles Simpson at 31st Street and Western Avenue (In N' Out got its start in Baldwin Park in 1948); the decor and free-wheeling spirit were inspired by Yancey's home-cooking style and love of r&b, soul, and rock n' roll music. They've franchised out much further than In N' Out, and you can now enjoy Fatburgers in New Jersey, Florida, and Texas - but I'll bet that nothing comes close to a Kingburger with Skinny fries, topped with an egg and chili, enjoyed at your closest SoCal location. You can't franchise freshness, my friends.
Everyone knows about In N' Out's "secret" menu (you probably had a friend in college who ordered 6x6's and 8x8's, I did, and his name was Josh Brooks and he had been an undergrad at UCLA for nine years, but that is also another story), but Fatburger really brings is with the add-ons: chili, fried eggs, bacon (cheaters), pickles, and a lavish helping of pickle relish, which bring a tangy crispness to each bite of burger.
But how strange is it that one particular geographical area led to such different interpretations of the burger? In N' Out chooses to garnish its burgers with grilled onion, cheese, and that inimitable special sauce -- pink, speckled with their own relish, and absolutely luscious once it mixes with the juices of an well-grilled all-beef patty. We are surrounded by an embarassment of hamburger riches, people. Don't even breathe the word Tommy's. Just don't. Not now.