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Are In-N-Out fries the worst? One food critic says so, and fans are deep-frying him

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In-N-Out Burger opened with one of the first drive-thrus in Southern California on Oct. 22, 1948. The chain now has 334 restaurants in six states but has an outsized cult status in the West.
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In-N-Out Burger opened with one of the first drive-thrus in Southern California on Oct. 22, 1948. The chain now has 334 restaurants in six states but has an outsized cult status in the West.

Fanatic french fry fans are furious over a Los Angeles Times ranking of the tasty treats that puts In-N-Out Burger’s offerings squarely in last place, Grub Street reports.

Food critic Lucas Kwan Peterson ranks fries from 19 different restaurants, ranging from Steak ‘n Shake to KFC, for texture and taste in a column posted online Tuesday by the L.A. Times.

Fries from Five Guys take the top ranking for taste, followed by McDonald’s and Del Taco according to the publication. In-N-Out Burger, on the other hand, comes in dead last for “bland, crumbly little matchsticks,” Peterson writes.

“Before you tell me there’s a way to ‘hack’ these fries, or somehow make them better, either by loading them with American cheese and secret sauce, or by ordering them well-done, I will grant this: It certainly doesn’t make the fries any worse,” Peterson continues. “Just as dumping the fries into a dirt pile on the shoulder of a highway access road and running over that pile with my car would also probably not make the fries any worse.”

Ouch.

The rankings set off an online firestorm, particularly among fans of In-N-Out, the California-based chain with restaurants in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas and Oregon, Grub Street reported.

“Y’all did In-N-Out fries dirty,” wrote Jonathan Edwards on Twitter.

“In what universe are del taco fries better than in-n-out fries. All the people you polled are russian bots. I’m sure of it,” wrote another In-N-Out fan on Twitter.

“It’s clear the LA ‘Times’ isn’t able to separate in-n-out fries from in-n-out bigotry. Shame!” wrote another fan on Twitter.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also weighed in on the controversy, noting on Twitter that he “respectfully disagrees” with the last-place ranking for In-N-Out Burger.

Even some of Peterson’s colleagues joined in, with the newspaper’s social media intern weighing in as she posted the fry rankings to Twitter under protest.

“hello I am the social media intern and have to share this but I totally dont agree with it,” reads the paper’s Twitter post of the story.

“All of this disdain for In-N-Out french fries is performative group think and a prime example of the excesses of our new outrage culture,” wrote fellow L.A. Times columnist Frank Shyong on Twitter. “Should a fry be #canceled just bc the mob demands it? Dangerous and troubling where is the civility.”

The last-place ranking also drew plenty of online kudos, however.

“Delighted to see the LA Times dragging In-N-Out’s fries to Hell, where they belong,” wrote Scott Wampler on Twitter.

“I‘m glad that even the LA Times can acknowledge that In-N-Out’s fries suck,” Eve Peyser added on Twitter.

In-N-Out Burger opened with one of the first drive-thrus in Southern California on Oct. 22, 1948. The chain now has 334 restaurants in six states but has an outsized cult status in the West.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.


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