Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Search for the Perfect Burger

There are a few businesses that haven't shown up in Nashville yet. Every now and then, residents complain and whine about it, but it does little good.


One of those businesses is this one:



As it turns out, IKEA finally decided to open a store in Tennessee. They're opening in the worst possible part of the state: Memphis. If you think Memphis must be great because it was the home of Elvis, you haven't been to Memphis.



Needless to say, I won't be making that trip to IKEA. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I probably wouldn't shop there all that often even if it was down the street. I'm not a fan of furniture that requires an advanced degree to assemble.



Another business we don't have is In-N-Out Burger. Since the chain only opens restaurants within an hour of its distribution center, that's no surprise. The chain's restaurants are limited to five states. But I had an In-N-Out Burger while in L.A. and I have to say...highly overrated. This was my burger:



Nashvillians are even more vocal about wanting a nearby Whataburger. Whataburger beats In-N-Out Burger in taste tests, mostly because the meat supposedly has a better flavor. It's all subjective, though, I'm sure.



We had a Whataburger in Nashville when I was growing up. The building is still there. This is what Whataburger looked like back in the day:



This is what our old Whataburger looks like now:



Today's Whataburgers can be a little cheap looking, if you ask me:



While In-N-Out Burger can be a little...er...bright.



Maybe we should just stick with our current "best burger" spot.



What business would you most like to see come to your town?

73 comments:

  1. I've heard Whataburgers sit in your gut for a week. No thanks.
    I've been to Memphis. I liked it.
    What if you went the other direction and tried Asheville?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We loved Asheville...but before you get there, there's Gatlinburg. I don't think there's an IKEA in Asheville, is there? The other one is Atlanta...I'd probably go there if I needed an IKEA.

      Delete
  2. We have an Ikea here but I've probably been about three times and I can't think of anything I've bought, except for a plant. I think I must live in the only house which doesn't have any Ikea furniture in it, it's so popular but it just doesn't do it for me. I can't think of a business I'd like to open in my area, I live in a small town on the outskirts of a large city so we have a good range of most shops. It's the small independent shops I'd really like to see more of but the larger businesses are forcing them out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No IKEA furniture here, either, that I know of! I think because there's no store nearby, you don't see much of it around here. I have a Sam's Club card and never go there, so I have a feeling I wouldn't go to IKEA, either!

      Delete
  3. ya really think they put real meat in them burgers, sistah? Trust me, there's everything in it except meat :)
    We are probably the only country in the world, except African ones, that has no Ikea.... yet... But many people from my city go over to Hungary to buy stuff from Ikea and sell it here LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A company here will go to Atlanta and bring things back. You can usually find the item cheaper on their website and pay to ship it here...and the cost is less than what that company charges, oddly.

      Delete
  4. Honestly, the thing I like most about Ikea is the food. They have an amazing Swedish food collection. Other than that, you can keep it. We just got a Sonic--have been waiting for years for that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard that about their food! Are you serious about Sonic? There's one every square foot here in Nashville. That's an exaggeration, but I seriously think there are two within a five-mile drive of my house!

      Delete
  5. The IKEA in Atlanta is great and if you follow the little arrows, it counts as a workout, ha ha.

    As for burgers, our local favorite is We're Cookin' in Fountain City - on your way to Gatlinburg, girl! It is a bit of a hole in the wall, size-wise, but they have a great burger...for now.

    Still waiting for the FANTASTIC burger to come to K-town.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did like the walk at IKEA when we visited one in Chicago. Good exercise...and they have a day care. You can't beat that. I'll have to try that place in Fountain City!

      Delete
  6. We have one about 90 miles away, I'm not getting anything from IKEA until they come over here

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. We'll just protest. IKEA said they were considering Nashville, too, but I'm guessing Memphis covers more states. Most of a Nashville location's business would be Middle Tennesseans.

      Delete
  7. We have Shake Shack, which I've been dying to go to, but it's a little out of my way. I might go when I have vacation time. It was amazing when a Chipotle opened near me. I love that place. I only go to Ikea once in a while. I like their products, but can't stand the maze-like store. It's also out of the way for me. It seems like a half a day thing making the trip back and forth and walking around the place. I'm pretty good at assembling furniture, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have Chipotle--and every other burrito imitation place like it. Qdoba, Moe's Southwest Grill, etc. I kept saying I couldn't believe there wasn't one near where I live, since we have everything else on this side of town. But there's a Blue Coast Burrito near here. I can't figure out where it is since it's on a street that I thought was residential!

      Delete
  8. For years, I would see commercials on cable for Sonic. I always longed to check one out. I finally got the chance when I visited my brother in Arknasas. I liked it enough to wish it would come to the Milwaukee area. Years later, and now we have at least two of them. I go there now once every few months or so. Since then I really haven't longed for new hamburger places. We do have our fair share. McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's, Sonic, Checkers/Rally's, Culvers, Five Guys, I could go on. In addition to that we have a slew of higher class restaurants and many custard shops. Yes, custard shops are open in Milwaukee year round.
    I've heard of the two you mention, in-n-out and whataburger, but have never eaten there. My experience has taught me, expectation is greater than the actual experience. You seem to agree with your post and photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't realize until today how rare Sonic is! We eat there occasionally. It never stops bugging me that they won't let you put your tip on your credit card. So you have to make sure you have ones when you go. I wonder how many people don't tip because people just don't have cash on them anymore.

      Delete
  9. I live in Albuquerque, NM and we don't have either one of these stores either. I'd love an IKEA. We are getting a Nordstrom Rack and DSW, though. I'm jazzed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We got an H&M a few years ago and for a while, it was the only place I shopped. The customer service went down, though, so I haven't been back. Now I mostly shop online!

      Delete
  10. Oh, that pharmacy looks charming. I rarely get burgers anywhere besides fast-food. Burger King and Steak 'n Shake are my burger places! =) And oh man, lunch is half an hour away, and now I'm starving!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would you believe I've never been to The Pharmacy? It consistently wins "best burger in Nashville" and people rave about it, but it's downtown. We're going to have to try it out.

      Delete
  11. I hate In-N-Out, which kind of revokes my Californian card, but oh well. They're only good for fries every once in a while...to dunk in my shake. But I do like Ikea. Provided I can hire people to put the stuff together (best investment ever--I have a whole wall of bookshelves and paid a guy to assemble them and they look awesome!). And they have lots more than that, like good food :) But what I'd really want? A Panera. What I wouldn't give...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You guys have access to TaskRabbit and other cool services. We don't have that here. Nashville is starting to get some of those things, but I'm outside of the city, so it won't happen here, sadly.

      Delete
  12. I'm a fan of 5 Guys. Do you have that there? We don't eat burgers much, unless they come off our grill. I mean, we make the best burgers. As far as wanting a chain to be here... Most do take up residence in the Orlando area. I'd love to have a Grand Lux Cafe closer. (Same owners as Cheesecake Factory.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're getting a new 5 Guys 10 minutes from my house. There are several of them...but I think the closest is in downtown Nashville until they finish the new one. LOVE Cheesecake Factory. I'd take one of those on my side of town.

      Delete
  13. Get ready for it - I live in a town so small, it has no Starbucks. *gasp!*
    We used to have a cute little local bakery/coffee place that made outstanding pastries and their own delicious coffee based drinks, but it closed a few years ago. (Not for lack of trying on my part. I went there nearly every day!)
    A new place opened up this summer down the street, but I've been in there exactly twice, and the new owners are... unpleasant... and don't seem to have any interest in making good coffee. The coffee setup reminds me of something you'd find in a gas station. :P
    I want my old, stand alone coffee place back, but I'd settle for a Starbucks, or better yet a Caribou Coffee.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We lived in an area of Nashville called Donelson that was rapidly growing and packed full of people. Traffic going downtown every day through the area was crazy...and NO STARBUCKS. It wasn't even a small town...just blue collar. That's the only reason I can see it was passed over. Well, and they put one in the mall...but you'd have to drive to the mall, park, get out, and go in to get your coffee, which people aren't going to do on the way into work. Now we have something like 7 Starbucks within 15 miles!

      Delete
  14. There are lots of great burgers out there and a double-double from In-N-Out is my favorite. I'd rather my fries were from McDonald's though. Those are the best fries. Having said that I'm guessing we have two burgers a year. Not good for you and when you get older you're not supposed to eat anything that tastes good. Bugger.

    We have enough of everything here. I'm not looking for anything to open here.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you, Sandee--the biggest problem is that I just don't eat burgers that often because they're bad for you...and I'd rather have my favorite, Mexican food, if I'm going to be bad! But I used to LOVE burgers...and I found that steak restaurants usually had the best, unless you liked the grilled type that In N Out specializes in. You can find those at many diner-type places, though. In N Out and Whattaburger are popular because they use only fresh veggies on their burgers and...come on...do we REALLY eat burgers for the lettuce and tomato?

      Delete
  15. I love Five Below. I have one about 25 minutes away, but I want one closer. It's such a great store for last-minute gifts (because I always seem to need those) and regular items that are way overpriced everywhere else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad to hear that. We're getting one 10 minutes away, at our shopping area. I had no idea what it was but when I Googled, it just said it was a discount store. I hope it opens before Christmas!

      Delete
  16. Omg I thought it was just me! In and Out is yuckkkkkk!! Why do people love it so much? Military Husband misses his New York pizza and delis in NJ. He wishes he had them still. Otherwise, we have everything else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have a NY-style pizza place here called NY Pie that we get our pizza from exclusively. They even know us by name...and we've only been here since May! There was a place in downtown Nashville I loved called "Manny's House of Pizza." Manny was from New York and knew how to make pizza. We'd go every Friday back in the 90s...that's the only thing I miss about working downtown!

      Delete
  17. A big fan of Ikea. Not because of the furniture particular but they do a wonderful line in lighting and unusual candle holders which after books are one of my main passions in life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know they have really cheap batteries. That's what I learned from my two visits at one of them!

      Delete
  18. We don't have IKEA in our city but my daughter shop from the one in Ottawa.
    She buys a lot of stuff from IKEA for her home and for Christmas stocking stuffers. I love their assorted plastic clips to keep bagged food fresh. I use them on snack bags and even in the freezer. They are great.
    As for burgers, the only one I eat are the one I make with our own beef. The advantage of living on a farm. I haven't heard of these Whataburger or In N Out Burger. I'm wondering if it's in one end and out the other end kind of burger. lol... Kinds of makes one wonder what's in a name...

    Hugs,
    JB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like In N Out Burger, Whataburger is limited to very few areas. The only time I see Whataburger now is in Florida. Go to Destin and you'll see them everywhere! In N Out Burger is a California thing. When we visited L.A., I had to try it because I'd seen so many celebs talk about how great it was over the years. It wasn't bad...just not "change your life" good!

      Delete
  19. I've never been to Ikea, but I'm not that fussed - I'm lazy and prefer to buy my furniture fully-assembled. In England, we don't tend to have drive-through burger joints like you do in the US - we either have Mcdonalds, Burger King or a KFC and that's pretty much it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I noticed that when I was there. Yet you have a Starbucks and Subway on every corner. I'm sorry you have to deal with McDonald's, Burger King, and KFC. Trust me, NOT our best. I don't eat at any of those places...ever!

      Delete
  20. I'm a vegetarian, so what I would like to see is: Jason's Deli, Newk's, Panaras, Atlanta Bread, Mello Mushroom, etc etc.
    Have you ever been to a Newk's? OMG. The food is wondeful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think we have Newk's ehre...but we do have all of the other places you mentioned. We have a Mellow Mushroom coming here...I have a future post about the ridiculous # of pizza places we have in our town. Five in one block...just crazy.

      Delete
    2. I'd be in seventh heaven:) The only thing that would be better would be chocolate or popcorn shops. grin.

      Delete
  21. Like Sandra I am a vegetarian. And not fond of chain-store food.
    My city recently (in the last year) got COSTCO. To say I didn't like it is a pale shadow of the truth. I was completely overwhelmed.
    IKEA opens very soon. And I plan on avoiding it.
    My sales resistance is high.
    Except for books. And plants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have Sam's Club...but Costco is about an hour away. I don't even use my Sam's Club card, so I wouldn't use it. I'm not much of a shopper, though.

      Delete
  22. We had people begging and pleading for a Trader Joes in our town. We ended up with a local discounter that already has two stores within 6 miles of ours in either direction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're getting a Fresh Market, which is a Whole Foods/Trader Joe type place that goes into areas where the average salary isn't half a million dollars!

      Delete
  23. I'm not a big fan of chain stores, but I wish we had a Trader Joe's. The only one in Maine is a half hour drive away so we stock up monthly. Other than that, I shop local mostly. Our small town has some wonderful mom and pop businesses, including an indie bookstore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The big indie bookstore here is owned by Ann Patchett, which is cool--but it's about 30 minutes from where I live. Maybe further. There's a B&N 10 minutes away. I want to support indie but most of the indie bookstores here are used bookstores that don't really support new book authors. I introduced myself to all of them and they said, "We'll put your bookmarks out but we only carry used books." :-(

      Delete
  24. This is easy. I want a Costco.

    I love hamburgers, but I doubt I'm a connoisseur since I'm good with most as long as it isn't dried out and it tastes like beef. Personally, I prefer to grill my own. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm the same--plus, when you grill your own, you can buy leaner cuts of beef that are healthier.

      Delete
  25. Oh my gosh, I just cannot stop cracking up. LOL I love In-N-Out personally. The more juicy the meat and the sauce, the better (just not too much of it). I like things in small portions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only tried it that one time--they say there's a restaurant here with burgers that taste just like In N Out's, but I doubt it. I think there can be no imitation...

      Delete
  26. I love to see storefronts and restaurants, Stephanie, so I love your photos!
    In reference to the comment you made on my blog today, we call today Remembrance Day, just like they do in England. Our Canadian spelling is also like that of England. For example, in the U.S. it is honor, in Canada it is honour, and so forth.

    Thank you so much for sharing your photos, you have made my day! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That made me smile! I realized after I left that comment today that it sounded like I was saying you guys were celebrating OUR veterans, which wasn't what I meant at all. Veterans everywhere should be honored every day for serving their respective countries.

      Delete
  27. Whataburger certainly had a unique look. :) I don't know what I would like to come to my town. Something to think about. I would like a Starbucks to move in actually- the closest one is 15 minutes away and I do like their coffee.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll still find Whataburger in Florida and, I think, Texas? But yeah, the look in the mid-1900s was much more effective than the way it looks now. The buildings look kinda dated, right? Orange is VERY 60s/70s.

      Delete
  28. I sure wish we had a Pick up Stix around here. We had one nearby before and they are yummy and inexpensive take out Chinese. Now I want Stix! Oh and a Fat Burger would be nice...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We don't have those, but it sounds like fun. Panda Express locations are popping up everywhere. It's ridiculous. Not that I don't like their food but it's the Americanized version of what you can get at every Chinese restaurant. My sister has a restaurant called Sweet Tomato in Chicago that's a salad buffet. LOVE that place and wish we had one here. They had Cheesecake Factory long before we did, so there's hope...

      Delete
  29. Not a fan of In-N-Out? Really? Everyone seems to love them. (I'm not a big burger person.)

    As for what business I'd like to see in town, I haven't really thought of anything. I've never heard of Whatburger and we don't have Sonic, but I don't really miss them. IKEA was fun to walk through, but way crowded. (I'm kind of equidistant from two, so there's also the decision making process of which to go to. Do we go north or south?)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Ikea has more than furniture. They have tasty food! Not sure about burgers... but the meatballs are great.

    The title of this post reminded me of an episode of How I Met Your Mother where they are on a quest for the best burger in NYC. Marshall knows it's at a place with a green door. It's a funny episode.

    I'd like to see a Legal Seafood come to the Lehigh Valley. Well, on the other hand, the reason it tastes so good is because of how fresh it is. So maybe that wouldn't work out. I've heard a lot about Costco (or Cosco- depending on who pronounces it). There's a rumor one is being built nearby, so no need to wish for that. The new Amazon bookstore! It's a real store, it has books... yup, that's what I'll wish for.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Ikea, without a doubt, real food that are cheap. Well hopefully we will have them within 5 years. And as for other fast food places, in this country 1 out of 10 MacDonald's are closing and Burger King is even moving into those places where MacDonald's moved out.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I am not into burger but I like the the "In N Out Burger" place with the crossed palm trees!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hello Stephanie, I lost touch with you for a while, glad to find you again. I would like just about any business to come to where we live; we are surrounded by fields with one tiny post office/general store. It would be wonderful to have a take-away. A large supermarket would also be good, but I wouldn't want to see it or be bothered by the traffic – on second thoughts the post office is quite good so let’s just stick with that.

    ReplyDelete
  34. We're getting our first IKEA near us in Indianapolis too. I have Canadian friends and family that are nuts for it, but no thank you. I'd love to see a Tim Hortons this far south. A donut shop open 24 hours would make good money in a university town!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I have shopped at IKEA since the early eighties in Toronto. It was my favourite store, the quality has come down a lot as they have grown but still great for young people just starting up their first homes.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I'm in New York and, frankly, I wouldn't if some of the businesses here left the city. We've got Wal-Marts and other chains driving out the small shops. Ikea has a place in Brooklyn and they have a shuttle bus to take people around. I've yet to shop there.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I've never heard of IKEA, but then I seldom eat out. Used to love hamburgers when I was younger. Now, I try to stay away from the fatty, yummy food. :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Either New York French Fries or Taco Time would be great. I'm such a dreamer. :-)

    Anna from Elements of Writing

    ReplyDelete
  39. Singaporeans love IKEA. My current work desk is from there, and yes, I had a tough time assembling it but am glad it's up and sturdy enough! I haven't heard of the burger joints mentioned here. I'd love to have more quaint tea rooms over here. We seem to only have the big and expensive one called TWG.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I live in a very small town, so there are a lot of businesses I would like to see. A Taco Bell (or any fast food taco restaurant), Arby's, and Starbucks (or any coffee shop) would be nice. A decent clothing store and a natural/organic grocery store would be a dream for this town. Although, if there were more businesses, there would also be more traffic and more people, so maybe it's better to make the 70 mile trip to the city, lol.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I don't care all that much about chains in general, but I had Smashburger a few weeks ago and I have to say I was impressed. I've never had Whataburger, despite there being one walking distance from my house!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hmm...we've gotten most of the American chains here by now, but unfortunately, we don't get the American prices or even the selection. If Target Canada had been anything like Target US, it would have flourished.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I grew up on In-N-Out, but I've also had Whataburger. I know I'm biased, but there is NO WAY Whataburger is better.

    ReplyDelete