I’m a food reporter who went to Whataburger for the first time and although I liked the chicken sandwich, I’ll go back for the burger

Whataburger sign and chicken sandwich
I recently went to Whataburger for the first time and tried the chain’s chicken sandwich. Erin McDowell/Insider
  • On a recent trip to Texas, I ate at the regional fast-food chain Whataburger for the first time.
  • I ordered a Whatachick’n sandwich, fries, and a drink for $US8.27 ($AU12).
  • In hindsight, I wish I’d tried one of the burgers, and when I later did, I was impressed.

On a recent trip to Austin, Texas, I tried the regional fast-food burger chain Whataburger for the first time.
Whataburger exterior
The exterior of Whataburger. Erin McDowell/Insider
The first Whataburger opened in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1950. The chain was built upon the idea of a large burger that took two hands to hold, according to its website. Since then, Whataburger is still largely regarded as a Texas fast-food chain, though it has expanded to 10 other states across the South, Southwest, and Midwest.

Some Texans love the chain so much, they even made the decision to get married there.

When I arrived at the Whataburger in Austin, I was immediately greeted by the signature orange logo.
Whataburger sign
Whataburger sign. Erin McDowell/Insider
Though the sign proudly stated that the drive-thru was open, I was on foot and therefore planned to eat inside the dining room.
I was slightly overwhelmed by Whataburger’s large menu. I ended up ordering a Whatachick’n sandwich, fries, and a drink.
Whataburger chicken sandwich, fries, and drink
My meal from Whataburger. Erin McDowell/Insider
During my trip to Austin, I filled up on burgers from chains like In-N-Out, P. Terry’s, and, eventually, Whataburger. For my first time eating at Whataburger, I decided to order a chicken sandwich, which may seem like an odd choice at a burger chain.

However, I knew I would be trying a burger from there later on in the week, and I wanted to try as many different items from the chain as possible.

I grabbed a seat in the dining room after I received my bag of food.
Whataburger dining area
The dining room inside Whataburger. Erin McDowell/Insider
It was mostly empty, save for a few customers eating their food. I chose a seat by the window. It’s always a tad awkward taking photos of my food inside a chain, rather than at home, so I appreciated the fact that I wasn’t surrounded by people.
I received a cup that I could fill with whatever soft drink I wanted.
Whataburger drinks station
The soft drink station at Whataburger. Erin McDowell/Insider
I decided upon Diet Coke, a staple for me.
Right away, I was impressed with the amount of food I received.
Whataburger chicken sandwich, fries, and drink
My meal from Whataburger. Erin McDowell/Insider
My order came to $US8.27 ($AU12) in total, including tax. I opted to get the medium Whatachick’n meal deal, which came with the sandwich, medium fries, and a medium drink.
The chicken sandwich came wrapped in paper.
Whataburger chicken sandwich wrapped in paper
Whatachick’n sandwich wrapped in paper. Erin McDowell/Insider
The chicken sandwich wars are hot right now, and many chains are adjusting their menus to replicate the success seen at chains like Popeyes and Chick-fil-A. One thing many chains are leaning into is a more Southern-inspired chicken sandwich wrapped in a foil-insulated paper bag.

Whataburger already appeared to be more classic when it came to their chicken sandwich. There was no foil bag in sight.

The chicken sandwich came on a warm brioche bun.
Whataburger chicken sandwich
Whatachick’n sandwich. Erin McDowell/Insider
However, Whataburger does allow you to customize your sandwich. You can also order it on a small bun or Texas toast for no extra charge.

The sandwich also comes with a chicken filet, lettuce, tomato, and WhataSauce.

Biting in, I was impressed by the chicken sandwich. However, for me, it didn’t rival chicken sandwiches I’ve had from other chains.
Whataburger chicken sandwich
Whatachick’n sandwich. Erin McDowell/Insider
The chicken filet was moist and flavorful, while the bun held everything together nicely. The lettuce and tomato tasted fresh, and I really enjoyed the slight kick from the WhataSauce. It wasn’t overly spicy, but the generous serving of creamy sauce did add a lot of flavor.

However, I wasn’t blown away. It was a good chicken sandwich but, in my opinion, certainly not a reason to freak out or get married at the chain. After hearing so many good things about Whataburger, I was just so slightly underwhelmed.

I really enjoyed the fries. They were among some of the best fries I’ve had at a fast-food joint.
Whataburger chicken fries
Whatburger medium fries. Erin McDowell/Insider
They were perfectly crispy on the inside and fluffy on the inside. I also thought they were a generous size considering I paid under $US10 ($AU14) for my meal.
Overall, I was impressed by the items and would order them again. However, I didn’t quite understand the Whataburger hype … until I tried the chain’s burger a few days later.
Whataburger chicken sandwich, fries, and drink
My meal from Whataburger. Erin McDowell/Insider
When I tried the chain’s double cheeseburger, I saw why the chain is famous for its burgers, not its chicken sandwiches. It was large enough that I truly did need two hands to hold it. The burgers had a delightfully crispy texture to them, and the chopped onions and jalapeño peppers added a ton of flavor.

As for the chicken sandwich, don’t get me wrong, it was good. However, it didn’t quite blow me away like I expected it would. I really liked the crispy fries and thought my meal was a great value overall. Next time, I’ll probably stick to the burger side of the menu.