I love hamburgers, and at some point in my life I must have received some sort of immunity against documentaries that reveal the disgusting elements of fast food – the shows simply have no affect on me.

In Virginia I had my first Red Robin burger. Whoever thought of putting an egg on a burger is a genius (although I did have an Outback Burger in England with so many toppings – including an egg – that you couldn’t wrap your mouth around it). I love Red Robin.

I had my first Five Guys after I ran the Tough Mudder last November: the unprecedented state of tired and hungry that I had reached meant that those burgers will always hold a special place in my heart.

Then, westward bound, and the further we went, the greater the concentration of In-N-Out burger joints. Eating one of their burgers was on Maile’s to-do list, and in San Francisco we finally got to try one.

People are passionate about their burgers. Today we’re going to settle it once and for all.

Who makes the best burger?

1. The Meat

Red Robin: Perfect size, thick and juicy.
Five Guys: Not sure if the burger itself can taste any better (once again: think “just ran 12 miles”)
In-N-Out: A few rungs above McDonalds?

Winner: Five Guys (1)

2. The Bun

Red Robin: Standard sesame seed. Above average.
Five Guys: Can’t remember it. Not a good sign.
In-N-Out: Slightly toasted.

Winner: In-N-Out (1). Marshmallows, sesames, croutons: everything’s better toasted.

3. The Fixins

Red Robin: Egg and just about anything else you could ever want
Five Guys: Can’t remember it (beginning to think my lack of memory has to do with my physical state at the time)
In-N-Out: According to the menu (more on that later), not too many options

Winner: Red Robin (1)

4. The Fries

Red Robin: Gloriously thick potato fries, AND they supply that Cajun-y spice.
Five Guys: That whole memory thing.
In-N-Out: Not impressed.

Winner: Red Robin (2)

5. The Drink

Red Robin: Amazing chocolate shake.
Five Guys: Amazing…Dr. Pepper?
In-N-Out: I didn’t get their milkshake. Their loss.

Winner: Red Robin (3)

6. The Name

Red Robin: A bird. And their mascot terrified my children when they were younger.
Five Guys: It takes five guys to make one burger? Weird.
In-N-Out: Serious digestive connotations.

Winner: Red Robin (4). Scared children sit still.

7. Price

Red Robin: Have to take out a small loan to feed a family of six ($50 – $70). Usually a date-night location for us, as opposed to a family destination.
Five Guys: I don’t remember. And I think we paid for my cousin. Can’t remember.
In-N-Out: Incredibly cheap prices. Great value for money.

Winner: In-N-Out (2)

8. Environment

Red Robin: A huge picture of Einstein sticking out his tongue, along with their bird mascot, scared my children. Admittedly, they’re sensitive. Also: very comfortable chairs.
Five Guys: Not that comfortable.
In-N-Out: So full we couldn’t get a seat at first. Standard fast-food plastic seats.

Winner: Red Robin (5). My kids are older now.

9. Service

Red Robin: Average
Five Guys: Average
In-N-Out: Incredible

Winner: In-N-Out (3)

10. Cult Following

Red Robin: People love the restaurant. They love the burgers. Some of them even love the bird.
Five Guys: Passionate following who will beat you up if you don’t like their burgers. Their fan base has sort of a gangster feel.
In-N-Out: People literally swore at me when I said we might not get an In-N-Out burger during our western loop. Others implored, begged even, that we go there.

Winner: Five Guys (2)

11. Miscellaneous:

Red Robin: Fun setting, very kid friendly.
Five Guys: Plain and simple. I kind of like that.
In-N-Out: They have secret items THAT AREN’T EVEN ON THE MENU!

Winner: In-N-Out (4)

Well, there you have it. Red Robin (5), In-N-Out (4), and Five Guys (2). But we can settle this in the comments. Cast your vote. Of the three, which do you prefer?