Whataburger offers a classic fast-food lineup

Credit: Jody Horton

Credit: Jody Horton

On a recent sunny Saturday at noon, Whataburger in Kennesaw was jam-packed with cars and people. Long lines snaked around the drive-through and pick-up lanes, and the queue to order inside stretched out the front door.

The first of 10 new Georgia locations planned by the Texas-based burger chain, the Town Park Lane store opened in November, followed by Woodstock and Buford early this year.

While it doesn’t have the cult cachet of In-N-Out Burger, the popularity of the chain and its easily customizable single, double and triple burgers has been growing since the 1950s.

I tasted my first Whataburger as a student at Florida State University, and visits there quickly became a late-night weekend ritual for me in Tallahassee.

Credit: Jody Horton

Credit: Jody Horton

However, since then Whataburger hadn’t been on my radar, and I didn’t make it to the Kennesaw location until recently.

The handsome new brick building features the chain’s signature inset orange “Flying W” logo, but the sleek dining room and order counter inside felt surprisingly cramped.

Worse, the person behind the counter had a hard time taking my order, even though I repeated it several times. Later, after I received my takeout bag, I noticed that two items were missing — though, thankfully, they were not charged to my bill.

Now, for the good news: Everything I sampled was very good, starting with the classic Whataburger, which features a 5-inch toasted bun, matched with a 5-inch griddled beef patty. On top are generous portions of tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, diced onions and mustard. I recommend adding a slice of American cheese.

Burgers are offered in other styles, including a patty melt with Monterey Jack and grilled onions on Texas toast. Another favorite is the decadently loaded avocado bacon burger.

Whatever you order, the thin, crispy fries are the go-to side.

Texas toast also makes an appearance as part of a really good and gooey grilled cheese sandwich. For grown-ups or kids, it’s a deal at $1.89, including several free add-ons.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Fish and chicken are on the menu, too, though hardly stars. One exception is the Whatachick’n strips. Not your average chicken fingers or nuggets, they are three large, extra-crispy chicken tenderloins, with a choice of dipping sauces, including creamy pepper and honey mustard.

The chocolate, vanilla and strawberry shakes and malts are thick, creamy and huge, topping out at 32 ounces. Look for fun seasonal offerings, such as the current Dr. Pepper shake. Fountain drinks are serve-yourself, and include sweet and unsweet tea.

Breakfast is served 11 p.m.-11 a.m. The standby taquito with cheese meal adds hash brown sticks and coffee. But, the pancake platter with bacon and maple syrup is the de rigueur late-night crave.

Takeout packaging varies, from the archetypal cardboard french fry holder, to a striped bakery box for the chicken strips, and waxed paper wraps for the burgers.

Whataburger has an app to pre-order for pickup, receive free offers and gain redeemable points. I got a free single Whataburger for signing up.

Credit: Elizabeth James

Credit: Elizabeth James


Food: classic fast-food burgers and more

Service model: dine-in, drive-through and curbside pickup, with online ordering

Vegetarian dishes: grilled cheese, salads, fries, onion rings, desserts and snacks, among other items

Alcohol: no

Price range: 69 cents (fruit chews) to $61.99 (large box of burgers for a meeting or event)

Hours: 24-hour dine-in and drive-through service daily; curbside pickup 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily; breakfast 11 p.m.-11 a.m. daily

Outdoor dining: no

Address, phone: 705 Townpark Lane, Kennesaw. 678-810-1068

Website: locations.whataburger.com/ga/kennesaw/705-townpark-ln-nw.html