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September 30, 2014

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Food and Drink:

Budget burger challenge: Which is the finest in Vegas?

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Sun Staff

The Five Guys bacon cheeseburger selected by Tom Gorman.

Best cheap burger joints in Vegas

Which of the following is the best fast-food burger restaurant in Las Vegas?
In-N-Out — 43.9%
Five Guys — 19.1%
Fatburger — 11.9%
Smashburger — 9.2%
Other — 4.0%
Carl's Jr. — 3.3%
McDonald's — 2.5%
Wendy's — 2.1%
Burger King — 2.0%
Jack in the Box — 1.3%
Dairy Queen — 0.8%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Las Vegas Weekly’s recent list of some of the best burgers in Las Vegas was a delicious and hunger-inducing look at the burger in its most refined and elaborate form.

But what about more common burgers? The blue-collar ones from places with roadside signs? The ones you might be able to order at a drive-thru?

We wanted to give those some love, too, so we asked lasvegassun.com staffers to suggest some of their favorite quick-stop burgers. Here are a few of their offerings, which we'll offer as a companion piece to the list in the Weekly, a sister publication to the Sun.

We also would love to know which burgers are your favorites. Send a three- or four-paragraph review of your go-to burger, along with a photo of you eating it, to [email protected]. We may use it in a list of readers' picks.

    • Tom Gorman enjoys a Five Guys burger.

      Five Guys

      I'm no high-brow food critic, but I can't think of a $6.89 burger that brings it all like the double-patty bacon cheeseburger at Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

      It's a gloriously messy, unpretentious classic, this burger with no special name. It starts with a pair of juicy meat patties that can be dressed with up to 15 toppings at no extra charge.

      On mine, the American cheese was perfectly gooey; the bacon was actually crispy, the lettuce crunched, the tomato was juicy, the grilled onions were sumptuously sweet, and there was enough mayo to get on my fingers and lips.

      I don't know what it weighed and I don't know the calorie count, and I don't care. Our daughter, who lives in Belgium, says Europeans mock us for our burger obsession. That's because they've never been seduced by a Five Guys burger.

      — Tom Gorman, executive editor

    • Ric Anderson enjoys a Cheeburger Cheeburger burger.

      Cheeburger Cheeburger

      Cheeburger Cheeburger is a small chain with only one Las Vegas outpost, on Rainbow Boulevard north of Wigwam Lane, but it's worth finding if you like experimentation, customization and variety.

      The restaurant, which operates locations in 15 states, offers five sizes of burgers with nine cheese options and more than 25 free toppings, from standbys such as pickles and onions to pineapple and Thai paste. There are more than 70 shake flavors on the menu, too. Unless you have the lifespan of Moses, you probably won’t run out of different combinations of burgers and shakes.

      Plus, not many fast-food places offer to prepare your burger patty medium, medium-well or well done. Cheeburger Cheeburger does, which is a nice value for a quarter-pound burger that costs $5.89.

      — Ric Anderson, managing editor

    • Donn Jersey enjoys a McDonald's burger.

      McDonald's Quarter Pounder

      If the Quarter Pounder had been around when they wrote that "Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet" jingle, don't you think the writers would have found a way to weave it into the lyrics?

      It doesn't get much more American than a Quarter Pounder, a soft drink and fries. Case closed. But now, the classic is getting even better. To contend with rising beef prices, McDonald's recently dropped its Angus Third Pound burgers from the menu in favor of Quarter Pounders that offer a couple of the same varieties as the Angus — Bacon and Cheese, and Deluxe.

      I won't try to review the Quarter Pounder. What's the point? Chances are, you've had one. And that's why it's a favorite — millions of Americans across several generations can't be wrong.

      — Donn Jersey, lasvegassun.com publisher

    • Ray Brewer enjoys a Whopper.

      Burger King Whopper

      The long lines spoke volumes as to the popularity of this iconic American hamburger.

      The drive-thru line at Burger King on Warm Springs Road near Stephanie Street in Henderson on Monday afternoon was slammed with eight cars. Inside, the line was six people deep.

      Everyone wanted to get their hands on what I consider the best fast-food hamburger around, the Whopper. The flame-broiled goodness takes chain-restaurant hamburgers to the next level because of the way it is prepared — over a flame broiler. That makes the hamburger juicy.

      The patty is accompanied by fresh lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion, and comes on a sesame-seed bun. Hold the mayonnaise for me, please. (Mayo is disgusting — on everything!)

      Sure, you can easily argue the line formed because it was the lunch hour, or because the Whopper was on sale at two for $5. But the real draw wasn't the time or the price but rather the burger itself.

      — Ray Brewer, senior editor/sports

    • Don Chareunsy devours a Jumbo Jack with cheese from Jack in the Box ($1.99).

      Jack in the Box Jumbo Jack with cheese

      My fast-food love affair with the Jumbo Jack with cheese began during my college days at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. The drive-thru was open 24 hours a day, and that was a big deal back in the Stone Age of my college years. The craving continued years later in San Diego, headquarters of Jack in the Box (the mother ship!), where Jack in the Box was around the corner from work and home.

      Now in Las Vegas, Jack in the Box is still only minutes from work and home, and the drive-thru is still open 24 hours a day. For a mere $1.99 plus tax, the Jumbo Jack with cheese is a burger bargain delight — for lunch, dinner and/or post-Strip at 4 a.m. — with one beef patty, two slices of American cheese, crispy lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, chopped onions, mayo-onion sauce and ketchup on a sesame-seed bun.

      Don’t want the combo with fries and a soda? Instead, throw in two tacos for 99 cents.

      — Don Chareunsy, senior editor/arts and entertainment

    • John Taylor enjoys an In & Out burger.

      In-N-Out's double-double

      Trips to a fast-food restaurant are mostly in my past. But on the rare occasion these days, when I do eat fast food, a trip to In-N-Out Burger is in order.

      In-N-Out’s double-double burger, animal-style (extra sauce and grilled onions, for you newbies), is a caloric delight.

      It might take five or 10 minutes to get your order, but the two patties of “fresh beef that’s never frozen,” pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, “spread,” grilled onions and mustard (I also add ketchup) make for a meaty meal of gooey goodness.

      I'm a Midwest-bred beef-eater, and before moving to Las Vegas, I regularly carved out time to visit an In-N-Out on any visit to the western U.S. The double-double combo, at $6.40 plus tax, is a treat worth considering.

      — John Taylor, senior editor/local

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    1. Couldn't you guys have found some local non-national franchise fast food places? That Badger cafe place in the Rum Runner on Trop has a great burger.

    2. What a wasteful article. Clearly you didn't do much research. McDonalds? BK? JITB?

      Is it April Fool's Day?

    3. It's become a corporate world Greg.

    4. When did junk food/fast food become "budget burger"

      (prolly the same day that black music became "urban music")

    5. They don't have the budget anymore to pay their reporters. That has to be the case. Big dogs still has a good burger by my house, Sahara & Torrey pines. Cheap is no where to be found in this town.

    6. What ? no Steak and shake ? no Freddys , no Cheeburger cheeburger? No nacho daddy? , Dont even bother puttin the trash joints on there stick with the real made to order burger joints