Whataburger (19th Street, Grand Prairie)
Ok, ok. I know many of you are tired of my Texas trip, but I can tell you this is my last entry from Texas. I have one more from Chicago then I’ll get back to Michigan. As I’ve explained to people before, I use this blog as a journal, so that’s why you see my travels. You should feel lucky I had access to catering for most of the week or there would have been a lot more posts.
I was down to my last two nights in Texas. I had a quick task to accomplish back out in Arlington after spending the day in Dallas. My co-workers weren’t really necessary to my completing this task and they both wanted to get settled in for the Sunday Night Football game they were about to watch the Lions lose. I took the drive out to Arlington, did what I needed to do, then started heading back to town. I had a couple of places by my hotel I wanted to eat at, but they were all closed for the New Year’s holiday.
I don’t normally eat fast food while traveling unless that fast food is something I can’t get in Michigan or Illinois. As soon as I landed at DFW and picked up my rental car, I noticed a chain I have heard many things about but have never actually seen. Before I got back on the plane at DFW, I had to get Whataburger.
I had a few options to pull off the highway on my way back east to Dallas from Arlington on I-30. I chose to get off in Grand Prairie where I found a Whataburger right at the interchange for I-30 and the President George Bush Turnpike. The restaurant is located on 19th Street, so once getting off the ramp, it was kind of a loop around the block to get where I was going.
Whataburger’s home is in Texas. The first restaurant was in Corpus Christi and the corporate headquarters are now in San Antonio. There are a little over 800 stores in ten states. The vast majority, 658 actually, of those stores are in Texas. All of the restaurants are in the southern United States. Rogers, Arkansas may actually be the closest Whataburger to Michigan.
This store on 19th Street looks like it has seen better days. It’s typical of an 80’s fast food restaurant and doesn’t have the famous A-frame design anywhere in the building. If you take off the signage, the brick building would look just like any of the dozens of other fast food restaurants built during the same time period.
The inside of the restaurant, again, has that typical 80/90’s fast food look. There are plastic booths with rubber padding and metal chairs pulled up to laminate table tops.
The process of ordering if just like all fast food restaurants. There’s an order counter with a kitchen behind it and the menu displayed in lighted plastic boards overhead.
What to get at Whataburger? Oooh…I know! A burger. I didn’t have time to stop for lunch so I was pretty hungry. I ordered the Triple Meat Whataburger Whatameal. I asked for the burger plain and to add on bacon. I upsized it to a large Coke and fries which brought the total to just under $10. I was handed a small plastic number and was told my meal would be brought out to me.
I filled my Coke up and sat down. Before I could get comfortable, the guy who took my order brought out a tray of food.
I started with the fries just to let the burger steam a little bit more in the paper that it was tightly wrapped in. The Whataburger fries are, again, similar to a lot of their competitors fries. They were very crispy and not overly salted. The large size was actually a little bigger than I think I was expecting because I was actually starting to feel a little full by the time I unwrapped the burger.
The debate will rage on about who has the best fast food burgers forever. I’ve talked to Texans that swear by Whataburger, Californians that will go out of their way hundreds of miles for In-N-Out, and I will stop every time I see a Hardees on one of those blue road signs. This was my chance to see what the Whataburger hype was all about.
The Triple Meat Whataburger was pretty large. I didn’t get any of the toppings or sauces, so it was all meat. I did add on bacon, but I guess you pay by the slice? There was one lonely strip of bacon sticking out between the second and third patty.
The burger was quite tasty and not overly salty like a lot of fast food burgers. It still had the the greasy taste of the griddle which is something I really look forward to when I stop for fast food. The three fairly thin burgers stacked up nicely with American cheese between them on the soft, white bread bun that I let steam in the wrapping to soften up even more.
As soon as one of my Texan friends found out I stopped at a Whataburger, he had to know if I thought it was the best fast food burger I had ever eaten. That’s a really hard declaration to make. I don’t like sauces and I don’t like toppings which is really what makes fast food chains different. I eat cheeseburgers for the meat, the cheese, and the bread, so my main point of comparison is the patties themselves. There are really only subtle differences between the various food places which usually involves salt content. I liked Whataburger and would eat there just as much as I eat at any fast food place if we were near one.