If you eat like an animal

If you eat like an animal, you might enjoy one of the tastiest burgers in all the land.

The question, and I’d love for you to weigh in, is whether that burger exists in the fresh, blue and white confines of the Wisconsin-born Culvers, or the bright yellow and red drive-thru of the California-born In -N-Out.

What say you (if you’re brave enough to vote)?

I have enjoyed both burgers and, while I am very loyal to the Culver family and so partial to their chocolate shake with bananas and raspberries that they really should call it “the Laura”, I am torn as to which joint has the best burger.

That’s because I learned how to eat an In-N-Out burger like an animal. But, shhhh, it’s a secret.

If you order your burger “animal style” at In-N-Out, you get it smeared with mustard before it’s grilled, then topped with cheese, pickles, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and extra special sauce. I have to say, that mustard-before-grilling thing does amp up the flavor and I’m going to start doing that on the burgers I grill at home.

I’m not sure what a Culver’s employee would say if you ordered a burger “animal style” but I do know he or she would respond politely. I don’t think I’ve ever had a rude encounter at Culvers and I have been there more times than I’d care to count.

I’ve only had one In-N-Out experience, but no one was rude so maybe that’s a draw too.

Established way back in 1948 by Harry and Esther Snyder, In-N-Out gets the edge on longevity. This note from a few months that same year should give them an edge in innovation as well.

“Working in his garage at night after long days of cooking burgers, Harry pursues his vision of enabling guests to order and receive their meals without leaving their cars. The introduction of his unique two-way speaker box lets In-N-Out offer true drive-thru service worthy of its name.”

Harry passed away in 1973 after building his idea into an 18-restaurant chain. His two sons Rich and Guy took over and built In-N-Out into a 200+ franchise spanning four states. Guy’s daughter Lynsi now runs the chain, which boasts more than 300 restaurants in six states.

Culvers is also still mostly family owned (though they sold a minority share to an investor group in 2018). Founded by Craig and Leah Culver, along with his parents George and Ruth, in 1984, Culvers built its brand on fresh ingredients, “butter burgers” and frozen custard. The company franchised in 1990 (owners are still required to work in the restaurant), added their famous deep fried cheese curds seven years later and launched a “Thank You Farmers” campaign in 2003 that spawned billboards and barn art all over Wisconsin.

Today, there are 700 Culvers in over 25 states.

I have decided I can’t cast my ballot until I conduct a more thorough review. For instance, I would like to order as close to a double/double animal style burger as I can at Culvers and see how it stacks up.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.

In the meantime, let me know what you think…

This is the double/double animal style burger I ordered from In-N-Out and I have to say, it was delicious.
This is a double cheeseburger from Culvers.
And this is Vinnie, a proud Wisconsinite, enjoying his first double/double animal style.
This is Ed, a proud Californian, enjoying his first Butter Burger.
But Culvers has the cheese curds, which are delicious.
And the shakes. This is not “the Laura,” which I highly recommend, but I really don’t think you can go wrong with any type of Culvers frozen custard shake.
If you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.

9 thoughts on “If you eat like an animal

  1. Sorry Laura, but I am more into chicken burgers, or salmon. I eat so much chicken, and fish, I am surprised I have not started to grow feathers or sprout fins!

  2. Laura I eat like a animal in COLVER NOT AT CULVER . Looks like a great burger except for lent today Got to go with fish. NICK FROM COLVER

    1. I like Colver even more than Culvers. You’re right about Lent. Culvers has really good fish too.

  3. I was on a call with my youngest last night when he said, “excuse me, Mom,” I need to place a food order. He proceeded to say “triple burger animal style, fries well done animal style and chocolate shake.” I knew he’d recently driven from Boulder to Denver to wait in line to order from the area’s first I&O. After six hours he was told to try again at a future date. He returned soon thereafter with success, and several times since. On his most recent visit home he was sporting a tshirt emblazoned with I&O Denver. So last night we chatted a bit about his order while he waited for its fulfillment. Alas, I must have been his good luck charm, because when he got to the pick-up window, the kind person giving him his order said they accidentally made an extra shake so it was his on the house. Needless to say, as a guy In his early 20s, working limited hours and living in high-rent Boulder, he was happy. I celebrated with him and offered to let him enjoy his order from the comfort of his drivers seat while parked in the I&O parking lot. I asked just one question before we said our goodbyes. “What is animal style and why ‘well done’ fries?” I learned a lot before he dove into his meal without his mom on the line! Next time I visit him, this I&O virgin will be with him in his vehicle at that same place— and I’ll report back with my vote! Thanks for the fun story Laura.

    1. Fantastic! I also love Boulder.What a beautiful place to live. I hope you get to visit soon!

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