How well do you know your hamburgers? By no means am I a burger geek or anything, but I give in to the craving like everyone else. Some might say a burger is a burger is a burger–but not true! They all definitely taste different, and a lot of them look different, right? What good is a burger brand if it can’t distinguish itself from the rest of the herd?
So here are a few major ones. Sorry, I can’t list them all, and I can’t let you taste them. But there are clues everywhere–so look (and read) closely. And if you can get through this write-up without immediately going out to get a burger for lunch, then you’re a better person than I am.
The burger shown above isn’t really a traditional fast food chain, which is why it looks so spectacular! But it’s not like a sit down restaurant either. It’s classified as “high end fast casual”. Whaa? They rose to fame in 2006 when they got a shout on the Oprah TV show, and there have been many such “gourmet custom built” burger places since then. These guys pride themselves in establishing a counter culture to the burger mainstream by offering Korean BBQ, lamb, carne asada and crab, among other innovative ingredients on their menu.
Founded and headquartered in San Diego, California, this company pioneered the 2-way intercom at its drive-thru restaurants, when customers would give their orders by talking directly at the mascot’s face. Although this signature burger put them on the map, they actually sell more tacos than burgers, even though they’re not known for Mexican fast food. Which burger giant is this?
You cannot do a list on hamburgers without this one–especially if you’re from the West Coast. Their fame and notoriety has reached mythical proportions in the East, where my son, who goes to college in Boston, says his friends ask him about this legendary burger as soon as they find out he’s from California. Best known for their fresh cut fries and a “secret menu” that most people know about, this chain also pays their employees well. Managers have been known to make into six figures–did you know that?
This one is almost too easy because no other hamburger looks like this. The idea behind the uniquely shaped patties is that the corners stick out from under the bun to show the quality of the meat. Makes sense, right? This famous chain has the third most locations in the world and became the first to introduce the salad bar. If you’re old enough, you might remember their hit commercials in the 80s, which featured an elderly lady who kept complaining about her burger, “Where’s the beef?”
As a classic American success story, it’s hard not to love how this popular hamburger chain grew from a single hot dog cart, started by a husband and wife in Los Angeles. That cart multiplied into 4 carts, then became a full service restaurant, which grew to 24 restaurants, and today operates in over 1300 locations all over the world. “If it doesn’t get all over the place, it doesn’t belong in your face.” Ring a bell?
There’s too much to tell about this famous hamburger, so the more I say, the easier it gets to figure it out. So let’s just quote the famous astronomer Carl Sagan on this one, who used to day, “A galaxy is composed of gas and dust and stars–billions upon billions of stars.” Get it?
Here is the last great hamburger stand, which started as a 3-stool stand in Los Angeles that catered to celebrities who would come in at late night hours to get the best burgers in town. The name was the founder’s idea, who “wanted to get across the idea of a big burger with everything on it–a meal in itself.”
In terms of global franchises, this burger chain is second to the real King. Still, that’s no small accomplishment, as there were a whopping 15,000+ locations worldwide as of last year. In fact, their most famous ad campaigns featured direct challenges to the number one guy, much like the way Pepsi went to war with Coke. And they were the first to start product tie-ins when they collaborated with a “Star Wars drinking glass” promotion back in 1977. Now they all do it.
Just For FunsiesThis is the never ending debate, right? To see how these guys smackdown the best of the West Coast and East Coast, check out this Thrillist article and read how they duke it out.
“Mmm, this is a tasty burger!”And finally, can you guess this one? This is the most famous movie burger in Hollywood. Never has a hamburger played such a pivotal role in one of the all-time classic scenes. A cult classic. Hint: that thumb belongs to one bad m*ther f***er.
credits: McDonalds (thriftyfun.com) Wendys (businessinsider.com) Burger King (smaakit.co.za) Jack-in-the-Box (tasty-eating.blogspot.com) ShakeShack vs. In&Out (thrillist.com) other images by @ironchefmom and Bert Tanimoto