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…