Says Alton Brown, host of Food Network's Iron Chef America and Good Eats programs, as well as an accomplished food author,
The hamburger is definitive, greasy but oddly clean-tasting at the same time and the sauce actually is 'special.' And the shake tastes the way shakes tasted back when I was a kid. It makes me tear up just thinkin' about it.
Tyler Florence, host of Food Network's Tyler's Ultimate, as well as Food 911 and How to Boil Water, says,
I dare anyone to tell me their burgers aren't as good as any you'll fine [sic] anywhere, from fast food to fine dining.
Chef David Myers of Los Angeles restaurants Sona, Boule and Comme Ça; as well as host of Shopping With Chefs on Fine Living Network, summed up In-N-Out thusly:
It's fast, it's hot, there are code words — what's not to enjoy?
Thomas Keller of Napa Valley's famed French Laundry calls In-N-Out Burger "the perfect example of classic American fast food," and says, "It satisfies my craving for meat, crisp fries, and their special sauce."
Nate Appleman of San Francisco restaurants A16 and SPQR calls it "a rite of passage for all visitors to California."
Charlie Palmer, namesake of the Charlie Palmer Steak restaurant chain says,
The places are incredibly clean. I'm impressed as hell by that. And
whatever's in that sauce is tasty.
Chefs Joey Campanaro, Paul Bartolotta, and Guy Fieri also cited In-N-Out as favorite fast food. If you've been there, it's not hard to imagine why.
In addition to In-N-Out Burger, some of the restaurants and chains named in Esquire's survey include Chipotle Mexican Grill, Ted's Hot Dogs, Mighty Taco, Dairy Queen, Wow Bao, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Jack in the Box, Taco Cabana, and Whataburger. Note that many of the restaurants named in the survey are regional and not nationwide. (Road trip!)
So what sort of fast food - local or national - does everyone prefer? Come on, don't be shy. I won't judge you for liking Jack in the Box's Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger.
Check out the survey at http://www.esquire.com/the-side/feature/fast-food-reviews-0909.