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Sorry, LA: Whataburger Is Actually The King of all Road Trip Burgers

Texas wins this one

A truly perfect burger
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

The California-Texas rivalry is a very real thing, and a bold statement from Eater LA editor Matthew Kang could only further fan the fires. According to Kang, In-N-Out is home to the best road trip burger of all time.

“It’s fresh and consistent. It’s super affordable. It’s usually pretty quick. And you don’t feel like falling asleep afterwards (something I realized was important when I started doing most of the driving for my family),” writes Kang. “In-N-Out is old faithful on the blank stretches of California’s deserts and valleys.”

According to Kang, the biggest burger battle is coastal — Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out. But that thinking fails to realize the one true king of all road-trip burgers: Texas’ own Whataburger. Open 24 hours a day and always consistently solid, there’s no denying that Whataburger is endlessly superior to In-N-Out. Here’s why:

It’s literally always open

Since opening the first Whataburger in Corpus Christi in 1950, the chain has since expanded to more than 790 locations, all of which are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In Texas, most In-N-Out locations stay open until 1 a.m., but that’s not exactly helpful when it’s 2 a.m. and there are three hours left to drive.

Building the perfect burger is possible

At In-N-Out, the options are relatively limited. Sure, those in the know can make a burger “animal-style” or ask for a lettuce-wrapped patty in lieu of the bun. But Whataburger offers 36,864 (yes, really) different ways to build a burger. Want grilled onions, jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, and barbecue sauce atop three patties on Texas toast? The orange-shirted wizards at Whataburger can make that happen. Besides, In-N-Out doesn’t even offer bacon as an option, and that’s a travesty.

It’s easy to eat in the car

In-N-Out might think that those cardboard boxes are enough to keep all that spread on “animal-style” fries contained, but they’re definitely not (not to mention the very flimsy paper that inevitably ends up stuck to the cheese oozing out of the back of that Double-Double). Meanwhile, Whataburger’s sturdier paper and gigantic bags make it easy to eat and drive — even if people probably shouldn’t.

Whataburger offers excellent burger accessories

After driving for 10 hours, sometimes a burger just isn’t enough to cut it — not even a Double-Double. That’s where Whataburger’s superstar lineup of snacks comes into play. The Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit is an obvious accompaniment to a Whataburger Jr., and there’s no denying the appeal of a freshly-fried apple pie.

Checkmate, California.