Eight burgers vie for tastiest title

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By Bryce Becker, Josh Christensen, Ryan Kelleher

Graphic by Joshua Christensen

During Burger Battles, we will pit the best burger joints near Coronado against one another. There are two conferences: one for fast-food restaurants and the other for sit-down. The first round is all about the taste. The least-scoring competitors will be eliminated while the winners move on and have a chance at being crowned the best burger of Coronado.

McDonalds vs Burger King:

Neither McDonalds nor Burger King had a compellingly delicious burger, but only one can advance. Even though McDonald’s $4 Big Mac has two patties and three layers of bun, it had the saddest, most depressing quality of lettuce seen on a burger. The meat and bun of the Big Mac were dry and bland, earning it a measly four out of 10. Burger King’s $4.19 Whopper had only one massive patty but, unlike the Big Mac, didn’t suffer from depressed lettuce. The Whopper was more flavorful, marginally better than McDonalds with a five out of 10.

Wendy’s vs Carl’s Junior:

Compared to Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr. delivers the superior burger at the same price of $4.19. In the sampling of Wendy’s Dave’s Single, we gave it a six out of 10. The burger had fresh lettuce but was less flavorful than Carl’s Jr; however, it was more flavorful than both McDonalds and Burger King. Carl’s Jr’s charbroiled burger was greasier, but it also had a larger, flavorful burger with savory spices for a score of seven out of 10.  

Smashburger vs Five Guys:

Both Smashburger and Five Guys set the bar high, but Smashburger set a higher bar scoring a nine out of 10 at a lower price of $6.79 compared to Five Guys’s eight out of 10 classic hamburger. Smashburger’s smash-fried technique for sealing flavor into the burger created a juicy burger that led to squabbles over the final bite. Five Guys’s burger was flavorful and well-grilled but very heavy on the grease and (not to mention) more expensive at $8.11. Five Guys also lacked in the sauce department: Smashburger’s smash sauce, BBQ sauce, and spicy chipotle sauce all brought our mouths to flavortown. Smashburger’s additional delicious options such as sautéed crimini mushrooms and haystack onions added to the high-class delicacy that was almost ungratefully devoured by other customers.

In-N-Out vs Shake Shack:

While it might seem like placing In-N-Out in the Sit-Down Conference is an unfair advantage to Shake Shack, we decided that In-N-Out was the most suitable competitor to run with the big dogs of the “burger joint” world. Surprisingly, In-N-Out tied with Shake Shake with both restaurants earning an eight out of 10 on taste. While very different in the preparation style and tone of the burger, both were equally delicious. In-N-Out’s burger was encased in a buttery, delicious warm bun with crisp lettuce and sauce with a more fast-food style patty that was greasier but in no way detracted from the burger. Shake Shack’s burger had a tangier sauce while suffering from a less savory and juicy burger. To break the tie, we called on the ultimate arbiter of student’s choices: price. Shake Shack’s single hamburger cost $4.79 while In-N-Out’s hamburger is only $2.25, tipping the scale in In-N-Out’s favor.

The first round winners have been decided with Burger King and Carl’s Jr. advancing in the fast food conference and Smashburger and In-N-Out for the sit-down conference. The next round is a competition on cleanliness and service.