Fast Times

New Whataburger Menu Features Salads, Grilled Cheese and 550-Cal-or-Less Selections

As far as fast food goes, I'm pretty happy with Whataburger. My go-to hangover burger was always McDonald's, but since I moved to Texas, the 24-hour Whataburger has taken the top spot. So color me excited when Whataburger sent out a press release highlighting its new menu, with a new section dedicated to items that hit 550 calories or less -- one for breakfast and one for lunch. In addition to the calorie-conscious menu, Whataburger has added new items in almost every category: a Jalapeño & Cheese Whataburger; new chicken sandwiches and bites; a grilled cheese sandwich on the kids' menu; a garden and a cranberry chicken salad.

The new menu launched at the beginning of July, and last weekend I popped into my favorite Whataburger location -- S. Shepherd -- to grab a Grilled Chicken Fajita taco from the 550-or-Less Menu.

The new menu redesign is great. The offsetting of the 550-or-Less items is helpful for those of us easily tempted by higher-calorie options. The other thing I like about the 550-or-Less menu is that it's not just chicken and salad -- there are two hamburgers: the Double Meat Whataburger Jr. with Cheese, and the Whataburger Jr. with Bacon and Cheese (470 calories and 400 calories, respectively).

As for the rest of the menu, I like the look of that Jalapeño & Cheddar burger, so I'll be going back for that. I also need to try out all of the biscuit breakfast items. I had to get something new to check out, so I picked the Grilled Chicken Fajita Taco to kill two birds (new menu item, Under 550 Calories) with one stone. The description was pretty basic -- grilled chicken breast, grilled onions, poblanos and red bell peppers on a soft shell -- so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the taste was anything but.

The chicken has a very smoky flavor that makes it taste fresh-from-the-grill. The peppers and onions are also softly smoky, but not so much as to overpower the taco. Sure, the chicken is a little dry, but it's visibly, texturally chicken, not that soft, pressed, processed chicken-esque texture we often find in fast food. The taco is a little on the small side, to be sure, so I can't be sure this would be entirely satisfying on its own as a meal for some.

I appreciate that Whataburger isn't just designing new food for us to try, but also looking for ways to improve the customer-service experience. The new menu design is effective, especially paired with the new menu items. There are more than a few reasons to hit Whataburger right now.

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Christina Uticone