Fast food chains abound in Atlanta, but there are some popular burger empires that have yet to make it to the Southeast's biggest city. For Atlantans who have traveled throughout this country and gotten a taste of what's good, it's tough to let that go. Yes, Atlanta has top-quality burger options of its own, but sometimes it's impossible to fight the urge to indulge in the guilty pleasure that is a chain burger? But which chain burger, currently unavailable in Atlanta, is the one this city needs most? Take a look at the options below and make your voice heard.
Founded: 1947 in Los Angeles
Home base: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Nearest location: Elkridge, Md. (Roughly 671 miles from Downtown)
Fatburger is all about satisfying a craving, no matter how big. The chain's hamburgers range from the 2.5-ounce small option, which checks in at 400 to 600 calories, to the 24-ounce XXL option with three patties and 1,850 to 2,050 calories. Fatburger formerly had a presence in Atlanta, but all of the local outposts have closed. Should it make a return?
Founded: 1948 in Baldwin Park, Calif.
Home base: Irvine, Calif.
Nearest location: Rockwall, Texas (768 miles)
The California favorite is rivaled only by New York-based Shake Shack as the most-hyped burger chain in America. Atlanta's burger scene is significantly influenced by In-N-Out's double-stack style, and Kevin Gillespie's Gunshow even features a "West Coast-style" burger — a thinly veiled homage to In-N-Out — from time to time. The chain has made serious inroads in Texas in recent years, so maybe there's hope for further expansion to the East Coast.
Founded: 1946 in Birmingham, Ala.
Home base: Birmingham
Nearest location: Moody, Ala. (128 miles)
Milo's doesn't carry the nationally known name that the rest of these chains have, but for Birmingham expats — full disclosure: this writer is one — there is no substitute. The griddled bun and brown sauce allow Milo's to stand out from the crowd.
Founded: 2009 in Los Angeles
Home base: Los Angeles
Nearest location: Chicago (719 miles)
Compared to the rest of the chains on this list, Umami Burger is in its infancy. It takes a higher-end approach, serving the burgers medium-rare by default. After opening six years ago in LA, Umami Burger has blown up in Southern California and expanded to the north end of the state, New York, Nevada, and Illinois.
Founded: 1950 in Corpus Christi, Texas
Home base: San Antonio
Nearest location: Trussville, Ala. (143 miles)
Like In-N-Out, this Texas favorite has been expanding beyond its original borders in recent years. Whataburger now operates in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. There's even a location in Thomasville. It's hard to pinpoint why Whataburger is so popular, but with its standard options, jalapeno-and-cheese, and bacon-and-cheese varieties, it has a loyal following.
Founded: 1921 in Wichita, Kan.
Home base: Columbus, Ohio
Nearest location: Murfreesboro, Tenn. (218 miles)
Is White Castle better than Krystal, its younger, locally headquartered cousin? Is Krystal better? Are they exactly the same? It depends on who you ask. The chain claims to have invented the slider and says it's "the world's most iconic burger." Whether that's true is up for debate, but giving Americans a reason to eat a sackful in one sitting is worth a salute.
So, what's your pick. Vote in the poll below and share your reasoning in the comments. And if you have a favorite burger chain that isn't on this list, tell us about it.