The Burger: Double cheeseburger with all the fixings.
For the sake of equality, In-N-Out's secret menu items were omitted from our comparison.
The Habit Burger is up first in our battle of the burgers
In One Corner:The Habit Burger Grill
960 N. 54th Street, Chandler
The Set Up: In the interest of consistency we went to The Habit Burger around 5 PM, just as the dinner time rush began. The menu was more complex than In-N-Out's but we stuck to our guns and ordered a double charburger.We noticed that bacon was an option so we disregarded our testing protocols and went for straight for the pork.
Cons:Our two biggest complaints were the bun and the lettuce. The bun was odd to say the least, it didn't appear to be toasted and was neither pillow soft nor hearty and thick. It was just there, holding the rest of the ingredients in roughly the correct configuration. The burger also featured shredded lettuce that lacked the fresh texture that we associate with a good burger. The bacon was another weak spot, we had dreams of thick slices of bacon heaven but instead were faced with what can only be described as bacon shards.
In the Other Corner: In-N-Out Burger
1342 S. Alma School Rd., Mesa
The Set Up: If you have been to an In-N-Out, then you have likely had the exact same experience we had. We beat the dinner rush, ordered and got our food quickly.
Pros: This is the archetype for the classic fast-food burger. The ingredients are simple but fresh and carefully applied. The difference between hand-leafed lettuce and shredded is incredible. While it isn't for everyone, we appreciate that In-N-Out isn't afraid to offer a full slice of onion instead of onion bits. The burger, taken as a whole, is completely integrated and each bite brings the right combination of texture and flavor.
Cons: Unlike with The Habit Burger, you won't be able order avocado, bacon, or mushrooms on your burger.
The Verdict: If The Habit Burger has fanboys, we're sure they'll cry for our blood. The Habit Burger has a great deal to be proud of but falls short of the In-N-Out burger experience. In-N-Out simply has a better base burger. At the end of the day The Habit Burger is likely aiming for a different core audience than In-N-Out and their varied menu is proof of that. We'll be back for their onion rings and to try their other menu items.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.