Why In-N-Out is better than Shake Shack

burgerSo there’s something about Shake Shack in New York that makes people silly–makes them pay ten bucks for a fast-food burger plus fries, makes them break diets and makes them say crazy things like, “Shake Shack is way better than In-N-Out.”

Hold up.

When a New Yorker says this, I tell myself they clearly don’t know better. When a Californian says it, they are either suffering from ageusia or they’ve gone mad.

To be fair, I’ve had a long happy marriage with In-N-Out, Shake Shack is just a new fling, something to fill the void when my beloved burger is not around. And Shake Shack burgers are pretty decent, I’ve tried the standard ShackBurger and the tastier SmokeShack–cheeseburger with applewood smoked bacon, cherry peppers and “Shack sauce.” But here’s the thing, and this is a pretty bold statement coming from me, even with bacon, bacon, this burger doesn’t top In-N-Out.

In-N-Out is clean and fresh and lovely. The burger is juicy, especially with the two-patty Double Double (the only way to go) and there’s no need for fancy toppings.

Let me break In-N-Out down.

The meat: Well seasoned and fresh
The fries: Real potatoes pressed through a fry machine right in front of you that aren’t greasy and still taste very much like potatoes
The toppings: Cheese, lettuce, (no tomato for me), special sauce (a thousand island-y concoction) and most importantly, grilled onions
The experience: Good, wholesome fun and a satisfied tummy all for $6-ish.
The aftermath: When you’re done you think, I can’t wait to eat that again. Actually, should I get another burger now?

And Shake Shack.

The meat: Well seasoned, bit of a grease fest
The fries: Good if you get them slathered with cheese and have an all-out binge
The toppings: There’s bacon and portobello mushrooms, peppers and onions–you pick
The experience: It’s fun while it lasts, but after, you pay
The aftermath: When you’re done you think, I need a break from burgers. Salad tomorrow.

In-N-Out has been making burger magic since 1948 and Shake Shack started out slanging meat from a Madison Square Park hotdog cart in 2004. The California joint has had much more time to perfect its creation but I can’t knock Shake Shack for blowing New York’s mind and turning into a full-blown franchise.

I can’t make up anyone’s mind about which burger is better. But I can. And it’s In-N-Out.