Monday, August 24, 2015

The Better Burger? A Comprehensive Comparison of Dick's and In-N-Out.

W vs. 


Several times I've seen the status come up in my Facebook feed. Something to the effect of "Dick's is definitely better than In-N-Out" or visa versa.  Always without any reasons or evidence, just one person's opinion, but stated as though it was indisputable fact.  I've lived most of my life in Seattle and went to college in California.  I've had my fair share of both of these iconic burger joints.  I think it's time someone gave a good comparison of the facts about these two places.

Here are three lists: what these two restaurants have in common, and what each has that the other doesn't.

What they have in common:

  • Vintage iconic status.  Both have great history in their respective geographical locations. Both are fiercely popular, often with lines around the building.  Both classic, minimalist burger places with very simple menus (However, see first point in the In-N-Out list).
  • Fresh ingredients.  Both use 100% beef which is fresh--not frozen, fresh baked bread for buns and fresh potatoes for fries.
  • They look after their employees.  Both have good pay and good vacation packages.  
  • Merchandise.  Both have great t-shirts and other apparel that can be purchased.

What Dick's does better:

  • Price.  Dick's menu items are much cheaper than In-N-Out.  However, this is more or less offset by the fact that their portions are quite small.  The average eater needs to order multiple burgers to be satisfied.
  • Speed.  Dick's burgers are made assembly-line style which means they usually fulfill orders pretty quickly. Shakes and floats can take a while sometimes though.
  • Fries.  This is technically an opinion, but anyone who has had them knows that in reality it's somewhere between opinion and fact.  Dick's fries are perfectly greasy and salty.  Among the best fries money can buy.

What In-N-Out does better:

  • Made to order.  Unlike Dick's unwavering commitment to stick strictly to the menu, In-N-Out allows customers to order literally ANY combination of ingredients regularly kept in store. This is what kind of takes them out of the "fast food" category and why I always say comparing them is silly.  It makes In-N-Out a much more robust burger joint.  
  • Secret menu.  This kind of goes hand in hand with the first point, but it's worth mentioning because many people I know who have tried In-N-Out and been unsatisfied didn't get "animal style", which any In-N-Out regular knows you can't go without.
  • Free condiments. This is one of those little things that's just annoying.  Every ketchup packet at Dick's will cost you.  Not so at In-N-Out.
  • Free soft drink refills. Like the last one, but a bigger deal.
  • Portion size. In-N-Out knows how to make a good size burger. I've had two double-doubles on a few occasions, but I wouldn't advise it to the faint of heart. Add to this good proportions of ingredients.
  • Friendliness of staff.  I'm sure there are lovely people that work at Dick's but I've been to dozens and dozens of In-N-Out's and absolutely without exception the people are unbelievably nice and accommodating.  I've been to Dick's at different times of day and was treated very differently on each occasion. This is not to criticize Dick's at all, I haven't had a bad experience, but the consistency of In-N-Out makes it a point in their direction.
  • Cleanliness. Again, this isn't to say Dick's is messy or unclean, but to highlight the above average commitment to customer service that you find at In-N-Out.
  • Drive through. It may be called "Dick's Drive In" but you always have to get out of the car.
  • Locations. I'm not saying there should necessarily be more Dick's locations, but you can get In-N-Out pretty much anywhere in California. This wouldn't be such a plus if they weren't so consistently good. 

The winner?

Well, I'll be honest that this is just the list I thought of mostly off the top of my head.  Feel free to comment with anything I missed. I would say In-N-Out has more going for it on paper.  But who cares about the "on paper" result?  What really matters is which one tastes better, right?  Besides (maybe) Dick's fries, which one you like better is up to you. It really is just a matter of opinion.

So do we just take a poll?  Go with the popular vote?   Mostly what we would find is people from Washington like Dick's and Californians prefer In-N-Out. With population difference, CA has the big advantage.  However, what would interest me is which state has more who have swapped.  I was raised on Dick's burgers and swore by them throughout my youth, but when I tasted In-N-Out for the first time  at 18 years old I knew I had a new classic-burger-joint allegiance.  I know plenty of folks from Seattle who stick to their Dick's, but I know many other who are like me.  I don't know a single Californian who has gone the other way.  Most, if not all, who visit Seattle from California and go to Dick's are seriously disappointed if they had In-N-Out type expectations.  Looking at the list above, that shouldn't be a big surprise. 

Dick's Drive In is a fantastic burger joint and I will always love it, but if there was an In-N-Out next door, I would probably never go back to Dick's again.  I might want to on occasion just for the sake of it, but it would be rare.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Music You Might Have Missed

I have some very talented friends and had planned on sharing each of their album releases on Facebook, Twitter, etc, but then had too many things to mention. I figured it would be more meaningful if I put it all together for one nice neat "blog" post. 

So here you go: 

First, the ex-Sherwood bands. The band Sherwood was unarguably awesome, so it's not surprising that the three bands that include Sherwood members (that I know of so far... Joe?) are pretty great.

  • Wayfarer
Wayfarer was started by Dan who was the main songwriter in Sherwood.  Their EP "The River" is a beautiful collection of folk/pop type sounding arrangements of old hymns with new melodies.

  • The Begging Sea
Sherwood's lead singer Nate created an album funded through Kickstarter and the product was "The Distance".  It feels like Sherwood, mostly because it's Nate singing. It's got some good, fun sounding arrangements and melodies. 

  • Fialta
I just found out about the group Fialta which features Sherwoodians Mikey and Dave.  Summery sounding with sparse but well composed arrangements.  Dig it. 

Ok, now a few friends I know through church connections and happen to both write music based on scripture...

  • Brian Moss
My good friend Brian has recently (well... kind of recently) completed his second effort in his "Prayerbook" project with songs based on the Psalms.  Prayerbook 2 covers Psalms 16-30 and it is great great great.  Another personal connection on this one is that my brother Chase helped engineer a few of the recording sessions and did some of the pre-mixing for the album.  This one's not released to the public yet so email Brian and tell him to make it happen ASAP. 
download prayerbook 1 (Psalms 1-15) FREE:

  • For The People 
This is a project by my friend Dave who I work with, go to church with, and might just have a cover band we're in together.  His album "All Who Are Weary" has songs based on sections of the book of Genesis.  This is all home recordings and was completely mixed and mastered by Dave himself, but you'd probably never know it (unless you've got ears like Chase).  Some very nice melodies and great storytelling through song. 

Now for some bands that I don't actually know personally and have some popularity but most folks I know don't know about 'em:

  • Reign of Kindo
This band is steadily creeping up into the "favorite bands of all time" category.  Like, with the Beatles.  Seriously--SO good.  They have an album coming out this month which you should unquestionably buy without thinking about it, but I would also recommend starting out with their EP, aptly titled "EP".  Then get each of their other albums too. Now.

  • Boy and Bear
Their 2011 album "Moonfire" is one of my favorite albums of the last several years. Folky, rock awesomeness.  Sounds like Fleet Foxes with more grit. They have a new album coming out soon so catch up on the old stuff if you don't know it.  I've already got tickets to see them in Melbourne in November. 

Ok, I've written enough so now a list of other great bands that have somewhat recent releases (in no particular order):

There is so much good music... it's almost too much.  Good luck, hope this helps.  


Sunday, September 11, 2011

way too much work to watch this at work...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My last 12 Months of Reading. Any Questions?

Here are the books I've read in the past 12 months in the (approximate) order that I read them. The links will take you to their page on

It's probably been the best year of my life for reading. I attribute it to the Kindle app on my iPhone. Each of these have been very informative and interesting. I'd love to discuss any of them in the comments, in person or whatever.

Read this on facebook (where I assume more people will comment on it--you must be logged in)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Union Pacific Going Under

The (fake) AP is reporting today that the Union Pacific Railroad company is going under and won't last the afternoon. Bummer for anyone who invested anything more than $100.

Also, this is a joke. Maybe I'll put a real blog post up soon.