In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack

“In-N-Out or Shake Shack?” is probably the hardest question you could ask a bi-coastal person. Both are known for their burgers, shake, city roots, and obsessive fans. Over spring break, I left New York to spend a week Austin, Texas, which houses the farthest east In-N-Out and knew I had finally found my calling: to eat at both in less than 24 hours. After persuading my boyfriend (“Isn’t that a lot of food for us to eat?” he asked wrongly), I was ready to eat my way to happiness. (Disclosure: the original plan was both in one day, but our flight got to Texas after hours. Whoops!)

In-N-OutWhat we ordered: Two cheeseburgers animal style, two milkshakes, fries animal style, and sweet tea. I also got a t-shirt, because I couldn’t resistPrice: $15 (not including the t-shirt)Selection: 5/10. I’m only giving this a five because although they have a big selection, none of it is actually on the menu! Almost everything- animal style, grilled cheeses, lettuce wraps- is on the famous secret menu (listed on the website but not in-stores), so it requires some Googling before hand if you’re not going with an In-N-Out vet.Atmosphere: The In-n-Out we went to in Texas had outdoor seating which I am a huge fan of. The inside was very clean, spacious and brightly lit, and although most of the tables were full, no one seemed to every have any trouble finding one. The employees were very cheerful, and both times I went that week (don’t hate!), they opened the doors for me, and asked me how I was (granted, this could just be southern manners).Taste: 9/10 In-N-Out is famous for their super tasty and amazing animal style (a special sauce, onions and cheese). I have no idea what the special sauce is, but I would put it on everything if I could. They have shoestring fries that were nice and crispy, despite being covered in sauce (obviously I ordered everything animal style). The burger was juicy, not too tough, and perfectly cheesy. My vanilla shake was probably the best shake I’ve ever had- even my die-hard Shake Shack loving boyfriend agreed the shakes here were unreal. (It loses one point because the fries on the bottom of the container didn’t have any sauce on them at all.)Overall: I might move west just to be able to go to In-N-Out whenever I want.

Shake ShackWhat we ordered: We got a ‘Shroom burger, Smoke Shack, cheese fries, concrete, and two regular drinks.Price: $29Selection: 9/10. Their menu is very clearly labeled with what’s in everything and the calories, which I like. They also have a veggie burger option (my usual order), hot dogs, and tons of different types of drinks. The only reason they didn’t get a 10 is because they don’t carry their corn dogs all year round.Atmosphere: 2/10. We went to the Shack in Grand Central because it was the closest, although I have been to every Shack in Manhattan (and the one in DC!). The Grand Central Shack is the worst- you’re basically eating in a food court. Overall, I find that all Shake Shacks have the same problems. They’re always packed, I can never find a seat, and if I do, someone holding a buzzer is impatiently waiting for me to finish so they can steal my table. Although I like the décor, the sheer volume of people is too much for me to handle. The employees are unremarkable, if not nice.Taste: 6/10. I always LIKE Shake Shack, but I always leave with a little bit of a stomach-ache. I’m not a huge fan of the cheese sauce they use on the French fries, but I’m in love with the Shack Sauce they put on the burgers. I also prefer shoestring fries over the crinkle-cut offered, but the fries have the right balance between crunchy outside and soft inside, which I appreciate. The fact that they have potato buns is my all time favorite part of going to Shake Shack.Overall: I love Shake Shack, but I wish they were less crowded and didn’t give me stomach-aches.The Winner: In-N-Out, hands down. There’s actually space to sit down, the milkshakes are heavenly, and I’m 99% sure their special sauce is make out of magic and love. I’ll always love Shake Shack- I am a NYer after all!- but if In-N-Out every makes it to the east coast I will be first in line for an animal style cheeseburger.

In-N-Out

Shake Shack