Fast Food Review: Whataburger

Some things are classic for a reason. Led Zeppelin II is a great example of this. Unfortunately some people feel it necessary to skip over classics such as this in favor of more obscure songs and records. That is until they finally listen to the album in it’s entirety. This is the Led Zeppelin IV of burgers, the Whataburger.

whataburger

Previously I would always look past the Whataburger as being too simple to satisfy my palate. I would always opt instead for the BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich or something else in the vein. So, when I entered the orange and white A frame restaurant, I had generally low expectations. Perhaps it was because of those not so great expectations, I was highly impressed by the burger I was served (it was number 29, if you were wondering).

The burger itself has a pretty nice size about it, dwarfing the Wendy’s Double Stack (read our review) and barely looking up to the fast food juggernaut, the Whopper. My positive impressions were only mimicked with it’s taste. The Whataburger website cites the burger as consisting of “100% pure American beef with mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and onions” and each of those ingredients are almost perfect in their placement.  That’s another good thing about this burger that most either don’t have or don’t realize, it just handles well. It’s stacked with (surprisingly) fresh toppings but it’s not overflowing like a clumsily filled teacup. The toppings almost burst with flavor that compliment the meat and bun perfectly…that is, except the onions. They just seem to be idle extras in the scene of the burger. Onions in burgers usually jump out upon biting into them, but they just seemed blase in this.

Really, the only complaint I would have with the Whataburger is that the meat itself is dry. This is of course covered up with all of the toppings and condiments, so it never really turns into a big issue. The only time it would really matter is if you get unlucky enough to have a sloppily constructed sandwich.  I regret being so unoriginal in my dressing of the burger. For the most part I don’t even like jalapeno peppers or bacon all that much, but I feel that if they were placed with moderation in the midst of the other toppings, I would have been a believer. Perhaps dressed with some pepperjack cheese to really amplify the present flavors. I also rue not taking my chance to try the famous “Fancy Ketchup” that Whataburger boasts about on my burger, but honestly it didn’t need the extra class.

I previously mentioned that I had low expectations for this meal. That being, I’d still like to give the classic Whataburger full credit for being a great hamburger. At $2.20 it’s far cheaper than my normal Whataburger sandwich of choice. If pressed for money, I would definitely opt for the number 1 at the register. Heck I would even blindly recommend the double or triple variation if they build on the great taste of their foundations. It goes back the the Led Zeppelin analogy. The Whataburger has the simple, straightforward (and satisfying) flavor and that makes it really appealing. If simplicity is key, then the door is now unlocked.

Pros: Well constructed, very fresh lettuce and tomatoes, and a good size.

Cons: Flavorless onions and dry meat.

Taste: 8.00/10
Value: 7.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.50/10
Price: $2.20

Overall GrubGrade: 8.00/10

More Info: Whataburger.com
Nutrition Facts:
Weight - 323 grams
Calories - 620
Total Fat - 30 grams
Saturated Fat - 10 grams
Cholesterol - 65 milligrams
Sodium - 1262 milligrams
Carbs - 58 grams
Dietary Fiber - 2 grams
Sugars - 13 grams
Protein - 26 grams

16 comments on “Fast Food Review: Whataburger

  1. brad says:

    Hey, Bill, nice review! Mustard is always adequate.

  2. IBeAnonymous says:

    Whataburger is ALWAYS good. I go there on late night runs all the time and it is always amazing! Try the Triple Meat with Double Cheese (you can get triple cheese if you want, but I find that to be too cheesy), make it a meal, and whatasize it! You will die happy!

  3. I’ve never ever been but they did with the Central division in the Grub Battle Royal so they must be good.

    Great review and welcome to the crew! ….but let me get this straight….no cheese? Just a hamburger? You know I don’t think I’ve ever eaten just a hamburger….I know I should but it’s tough to refuse the chee!

  4. rob says:

    What impressed me about the local store (before they pulled out of Florida) was the service, they were sincerely interested in making the customer happy.

  5. Bill Goodman says:

    Thank ya very much for the warm welcome!

    On my next visit, I’ll probably opt for the triple with double cheese like you suggested. It sounds delicious. I would’ve gotten cheese on the one I reviewed, but… I kinda forgot. I was in a rush because I was really hungry.

    There’s always next time, though!

  6. Raiders757 says:

    That’s a trip, I had forgotten all about these guys. We have a What-a-Burger that’s been in my area(Va.) for decades. I’ve heard they aren’t associated with the chain, and they don’t show up on the Whataburger site. The burgers look the same and taste great though. There is one in Newport News and two in Richmond. The one in Newport News has been there since my father was a young man. I haven’t been there since I was in my early 20′s. It was all carry out, and the burgers were some of the best in the area. Can’t say how good they are now. I do remember the burgers being juicy, the onions being finely chopped and really good as well. Ten times better than anything BK, Wendy’s, McD’s, or Hardee’s can throw out. I need ot carry my butt down there in the near future.

    The only difference seems to be how they spell their name and the color of their stores. Trippin’.

  7. Welcome to the gang Bill! :D That was a great review! Sorry the meat was dry. :P At least the lettuce and the tomato were fresh (mmmm tomato). Definitely get cheese next time :). Again welcome can’t wait to read your next review!

  8. Heather says:

    Welcome to the GrubGrade team Bill! Great review. I wish I had a Whataburger near me. Sometimes just the basics are enough.

  9. Rarara says:

    I think the “dryness” is a restaurant-to-restaurant thing. I’ve had rather juicy Whataburger patties in some places, but dry in others. And sometimes within the same location. But as with most fast food giants, going during the lunch rush tends to cut down on this inconsistancy.

  10. drpep says:

    I’ve heard the What-a-burger in Virginia had been taken to court by the bigger What-a-burger chain.
    There are also Whataburgers around Concord, NC that are not related to the orange and white one or the VA one.

  11. machinesquad says:

    I discovered Whataburger when I was in Texas on business last year. I made the mistake of trying the triple meat triple cheese. I just about died. The double meat double cheese is about all I can handle and man alive is it ever good. However, of all the whataburgers I’ve had, I don’t I’ve ever had a problem with the meat being dry.

  12. burgermaniac says:

    After reading all the reviews for Whataburger I had to stop when in Dallas recently. I have to say that I was GREATLY disappointed. Soggy fries that tasted like day old fish filets, a dry tasteless burger with tomatoes that were still green and a soggy bun. Maybe just hit the wrong one but based on that visit it doesn’t hold a candle to In-n-Out Burger. In fact, it didn’t hold a candle to McD’s.

  13. Elmo says:

    In Texas people are obsessed with Whataburger. It’s like a religion here. If you speak ill of it people get seriously pissed off. I don’t like it though. The burgers are fine but don’t like anything else on the menu. The produce is horrid. The great thing about it is you can get it any way you want, as in grilled onions, grilled jalapenos, wheat bun, Texas Toast, whatever. Doing all that makes it a lot better. But no matter how I dress it up it tastes boring. I tend to keep it to myself though because I don’t want to be chased by a lynch mob for criticizing everyone’s beloved Whataburger.

  14. Elmo says:

    Oh, and the best thing: their ketchup. I don’t know where they get it, but it’s much, MUCH better than any other ketchup I’ve ever had.

  15. Ryan says:

    For $2.20, the value is pretty stellar. It’s a big burger.

  16. Albiem says:

    I am a Texan and I do love Whataburger! Having tried burgers from most other burger chains, I find there is nothing like a Whataburger. I have never had a bad meal there in over 40 years. Dry meat is due mostly to over-cooking (which is to be expected when someone new is at the grill). On many occasions, I have been served a burger so expertly done and so beautiful to look at that it’s almost a sin to eat it. I can’t speak for Whataburger restaurants outside of Texas but here, we do take burgers seriously. Whataburger is miles ahead of McDonald’s, Wendy’s or Burger King. There is simply no comparison. It just goes to show that keeping things simple always makes things better.