"You’re going to laugh at me. You know what chain — I haven’t been in a million years — but what chain used to have a great burger? Pizzeria Uno. I probably haven’t been in ten, twelve years, so I’m sure it’s changed, but I went in to a Pizzeria Uno one day and was pleasantly surprised how good the burger was." —Michael Schlow, chef/owner of Via Matta, Tico, and Alta Strada
"Growing up, [my favorite burger chain] was always Friendly’s. That was where we went when we’d go out for a burger. [Nowadays] I guess I'm over the Tasty Burger-to-Shake Shack comparison. I just think Tasty’s great; I obviously like to support local, and I think that those guys do a really great product. If I have to go up against whether I’m going to get a Shake Shack burger or not, I’d rather wait to travel to the West Coast to get an In-N-Out burger. I feel like if that’s the same burger you’re going for, the In-N-Out burger’s superior to a Shake Shack burger without a doubt. I don’t think that In-N-Out is going to be launching an IPO any time soon, but every time I go to California, it’s literally the first stop. If I’m in a car, I'm stopping on Highway 1 and getting an In-N-Out-burger. it’s pretty great. And the fact that they have special ways of ordering, too, is pretty ingenious." —Will Gilson, chef/owner of Puritan & Co.
"[As a high schooler,] I convinced my friends that I could eat a 9x9 [at In-N-Out] — that is nine beef patties and nine pieces of cheese, sandwiched between one bun. As soon as class was over, we raced down to In-N-Out. I ordered my 9x9, with a side of fries and a shake. This six-foot, 140-pound scrawny kid began the challenge. It started off well. I ate, and ate, and ate. About 3/4th into the burger, and fries, and shake...it started to hit me. It was marathon eating. I took breaks, felt full, laid down. In the end I finished the whole lot, and never again have I attempted this challenge. I still eat a 4x4 occasionally when home, but that is the limit." —Vincent Vela, maître d’ and owner of 80 Thoreau
"Shoney's Big Boy in Dalton, Georgia is the first [burger] I remember falling in love with — it had special seasoning, sauce, iceberg lettuce mess." —Brian Poe, chef/owner of Tip Tap Room, Estelle's, Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake, and Bukowski Tavern
"[The first burger I ever ate] must have been McDonald's. I have fond childhood memories of Big Macs for sure. They are an excellent sandwich, perfectly thought-out." —Tim Wiechmann, chef/owner of Bronwyn and T.W. Food