I admit, I wanted to visit Whataburger because of the name. The fact that we didn't have any in Michigan was also a draw. Because when in Tucson, do what Tucsonans do. Or what you think Tucsonans would do. (Is Tucsonan even a word? My spell checker thinks it is, so I'm going with it.)
In addition to having its name going for it, Whataburger also is colored like an old school circus tent. Orange and white stripes - how inviting is that? My target Whataburger, on East Speedway, was not busy when we pulled in, and service was fast, everyone seemed happy, and I wasn't assaulted once. Nor was I asked for money to buy food by a fellow customer - that has actually happened to me in Detroit. Score one for Tucson.
I didn't spend much time looking at the menu, going for the bacon and cheese burger. A decent choice. In the major fast food hierarchy, Whataburger is the equivalent of Wendy's, and had a solid tasting burger, and the right size for me. And they were quite generous with the tomatoes. I would say no tomatoes were harmed during the creation of this burger, but that would be a lie - there was a wholesale slaughter of them. The fries, like the burger, were tasty, that magical combination of crispiness and tenderness done just right, and neither my daughter nor I had any problems finishing our meals. If I lived in Tucson, it would be on my radar of places to go on my lunch break.
Note: Full disclosure - this is not a picture of the actual burger I had, it is a picture from the Whataburger website. Though I don't remember exactly, I'm sure my burger was as carefully arranged as this one.
Besides the orange and white coloring, the thing that stood out to me about Whataburger was the ketchup-passer-outer. Once we had our meal, a man carrying a case of various ketchups, salt, and other condiments stopped by our table. That was a first. I chose the spicy ketchup, deciding to live dangerously, and I lived to eat another day. But I liked it. Not only was it a nice twist on customer service, it also prevents people from taking a bunch of ketchups they don't need. Sustainable ketchup? Maybe.
Though I may never return to Whataburger (unless they come to Michigan), I will look back wistfully on my experience with Tucson's fast food scene.