FACE OFF: Is Whataburger actually good, Texan?

Amanda Gonzalez & Rosemond Crown

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Whataburger is the most Texan thing, next to the Lone Star itself

By Amanda Gonzalez

God blessed Texas with lots of things, including bluebonnets, George Strait, Matthew McConaughey and good ol’ Whataburger.

Established in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1950, Whataburger represents everything people love about the Lone Star State. Whataburger is the place to be on a Friday night after a high-school football game. Whether you made the game-winning touchdown, marched with the band at halftime or cheered from the sidelines, Whataburger is a big part of small town greatness.

Whataburger is the place to be after a late night out with friends as a way to keep the night alive. Whataburger is the place to be in the middle of the night when you need a break from a long intrastate drive.

Most importantly, Whataburger is the place to be when you arrive to Texas – whether it be your college city or home town. Although it’s not the only fast-food restaurant that is open 24/7, it’s the only one that feels like it’s made with love. The A.1. Thick & Hearty Burger, Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich, Patty Melt and Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit are all gifts from above.

The menu in general is more versatile than P. Terry’s or other burger shacks with features that include savory cinnamon rolls and sweet milkshakes. And the breakfast menu is in full throttle from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. Whataburger is also known for promoting education and organizing many charity events throughout the year, where customers have their names decorated on the wall for donating.

It’s no secret that other fast-food chains like In-N-Out Burger think they can compete with the Texas staple. But they are deeply mistaken, as so many memes point out. And regarding social media, the Whataburger Twitter account is just as memorable as the food.

From portrait pictures of food to Whataburger-themed promposals, the marketing team at Whataburger does an amazing job. How many fast-food chains can say they have their own ketchup brand available in stores? Or pancake mix?

And let’s not forget the iconic order numbers. I don’t know why people steal them, but we do. It’s a thing. Whether you’re stealing your jersey number or lucky number, it’s part of the Whataburger tradition.

My freshman year, a friend of mine from Louisiana decorated his dorm room with about 25 Whataburger numbers. Bottom line, the food, social media tactics and lasting traditions are not overrated. And the big orange W under the Texas sky is something special.

Whataburger marked by mediocrity, little else

By Rosemond Crown

It is an understatement to say that Texans are proud of all things Texas, from their football teams to the humongous state universities to Beyonce. But with all of their Texas pride, they might want to avoid excessive pride in Whataburger.

While distinct orange and white frontages are ubiquitous across Texas’ vast landscape and hill-country, the truth is that the fast food chain is mediocre — at best.

For starters, let’s examine the visual aesthetic of the Whataburger brand. The combination of orange and white is extremely tacky and obnoxious; doctors would almost certainly find that the color scheme is bad for digestion.

And the wavy “W” roof, while it is unique and iconic, does nothing but attempt to sell the idea that the food is somehow also unique- which it is not.

Texas is home to many amazing cuisines ranging from different cultures and Whataburger just does not fit in. The bun that holds together their burgers and sandwiches often is not toasted. The cold white bread does nothing to add to the flavor of the burgers and sandwiches. It almost seems as though the sole purpose of having buns at all is to qualify the food items as a sandwiches or burgers.

The meat at Whataburger, while thick and hearty, is overwhelming. While the concept of too much meat might be confusing to Texans, it is a real issue. When I bite into a burger I want to taste an even distribution of bread, meat, veggies and ketchup.

But at Whataburger, I feel as though I’m biting into a whole cow. And maybe if the meat was flavorful, I wouldn’t mind as much, but it’s as tasteless and bland as the decor. It doesn’t taste smokey. The burgers leak heavily with oil and grease and resemble nothing so much as a heart attack in a bag.

The honey butter chicken biscuits that so many people love are not that special. The chicken strips taste just like any other chicken strips, thrown in a dry biscuit and dipped in honey.

It seems like Texans think they have to like Whataburger in order to be Texas-proud. But if they come out of the Texas pride spell, they’ll be able to admit that Whataburger is: nothing special.

The only thing unique about Whataburger is that it’s only found in Texas…except it’s not. Breaking News: Whataburger has locations in 10 states including Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and, of course, Texas.

So there. The food is not special and Texas is not special for having a monopoly on the food chain.