In-N-Out Burger

Review by: Jane & Michael Stern

Roadfood is about one-of-a-kind restaurants, and in that respect, In-N-Out is all wrong. But many is the time when hunger finds no unique eating experience, but an In-N-Out is near. While they are not Roadfood by any reasonable definition, these restaurants have often been a life saver. Such was the case when when our friends wanted to eat at Pink’s in Los Angeles, but the line was an hour long. So they went to In-N-Out in Hollywood, ate immediately, and walked away happy and well-fed.

While it’s speedy, In-N-Out service is not instantaneous, because in this fast-food kitchen, they actually cook everything they serve (not defrost or reheat it), and that takes a while. But unlike Pink’s, where you select from among several dozen varieties of frankfurter that range from a pastrami dog to a vegan weenie, the choice at In-N-Out is simple. You get a single or a double, with or without cheese, fries or no fries. Other than excellent milk shakes and soda, there is nothing else on the formal menu*. In that sense, this burger joint recalls the way McDonald’s was when the McDonald Brothers invented the idea, and the way it was when Ray Kroc began to franchise it … six years after In-N-Out opened in 1948.

We like a double with everything, including a circle of raw onion. That’s two patties with lettuce, tomato, and 100 Island dressing. While the burgers themselves are normal-size, this is one big, messy package of food. It is presented half-wrapped in wax paper that helps keep it together as you eat.

The In-N-Out we visited is on Sunset Boulevard across from old Hollywood High. While it specializes in drive-through service, there are plenty of seats for walk-in traffic, both inside and out. Once a Southern California thing, In-N-Out drive-ins are now located throughout much of the West and Southwest.

*Note: while the formal menu is simplicity itself, In-N-Out devotees know that there also is a “Not So Secret Menu,” highlights of which include:

2-by-4: two beef patties, four slices of cheese

4-by-4: four beef patties, four slices of cheese

Animal style: mustard-coated burger topped with grilled onions, pickles and cheese spread

Mustard grilled: Animal style (mustard coating) but without the pickles and cheese spread

Protein: Substitute lettuce for a bun

Wish burger: just vegetables. No meat and no cheese

Flying Dutchman: two patties sandwiching two cheese slices, hold the bun

Extra toast: crisper bun

Root beer float: half root beer, half vanilla milk shake

Lemon-Up: half and half lemonade and 7-Up

Neapolitan shake: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry milk shakes swirled together

Directions & Hours

10:30am - 1am
  • Monday: 10:30 AM – 1:00 AM
  • Tuesday: 10:30 AM – 1:00 AM
  • Wednesday: 10:30 AM – 1:00 AM
  • Thursday: 10:30 AM – 1:00 AM
  • Friday: 10:30 AM – 1:30 AM
  • Saturday: 10:30 AM – 1:30 AM
  • Sunday: 10:30 AM – 1:00 AM

What To Eat

Double Double

DISH

In-N-Out Burger Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of In-N-Out Burger?

4 Responses to “In-N-Out Burger”

Patricia Beninato

September 13th, 2008

In-N-Out isn’t just for Southern California anymore–the chain has spread throughout the state and even has an outpost in Las Vegas. Being East Coast-based I decided to visit an In-N-Out to see what the fuss was about, so we descended upon the sole store in San Francisco, located somewhat unsurprisingly at Fisherman’s Wharf.

In-N-Out’s menu is simple–burgers, fries, shakes, and drinks. Its “secret” menu containing such items as a “grilled cheese” (a burgerless cheeseburger) and “animal style” (special sauce and fried onions) is no longer a secret; one can find it on the official website. We went purist–a couple of burgers for my husband, a “double double” (two patties, two slices of cheese) for me, fries and drinks for both of us. Place your order, get your drinks, and wait for your number to be called.

We were there at lunch and had about a ten-minute wait, as the burgers do not hit the grill until your order is placed. We both thought the burgers were very good. The toppings–lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and Thousand Island dressing (onions are optional)–were fresh and still held a refrigerated chill as if the burger was put together at somebody’s backyard cookout. The actual patties were thinner than I thought they would be but still tasted great, and the bun was perfect. The fries… some here have said that McDonald’s are better and I would have to agree–they were very bland and starchy. The red-and-white tiles in the place are reminiscent of the East Coast (but rapidly spreading) chain Five Guys, and I remarked to my husband that if I could have an In-N-Out double-double with Five Guys fries that’d pretty much be the perfect fast-food meal. In-N-Outs are numerous enough in California now that you don’t really have to seek one out, and as far as fast food goes you can do a lot worse.

Reply

Jeff Broadwater

June 11th, 2008

In & Out is a better-than-average burger and a good place to eat… but not a great burger despite what many say. Yes, it is much better than the standard chains, probably because In & Out continues to be completely family-owned, so their quality control remains excellent and consistent in all stores. There are no In & Out franchise locations. But for all of the fresh ingredients, their burgers still leave much to be desired.

First of all, the meat patties are nearly flavorless. I would expect much more flavor from a patty fried on a griddle. The true test of a meat patty is to try it without any condiments. In & Out patties fail that test. The condiments are good but, unless you really like Thousand Island dressing, be sure to ask for mustard or ketchup (sorry, but mayo is not even available), and pickles come only on request.

Their milkshakes are very good but their french fries are weak. Yes, the fries are all cut fresh, but that does not make for good fries. They are starchy and you can’t cook them well enough to ever get them crispy. McDonald’s fries are much better, I hate to say.

I still eat at In & Out when the other choices are limited, and I do think they are a good value. I just expect much more from a good company like this. My last complaint is about the slowness of service. While I appreciate that In & Out will not put a meat patty on the grill until a customer has placed an order, come on guys! When you see a line of 50 cars outside put some patties on the grill. It’s not like they are there to just buy a soda pop! There is no reason why the drive-thru needs to be that slow. The burgers can still come off the grill just as fast and be served up fresh, just don’t pre-cook them and set them aside.

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Chris & Amy Ayers

February 4th, 2008

No trip to California is complete without at least one visit to In-N-Out, the state’s premier burger chain. We chose the Studio City location at 3640 Cahuenga Boulevard, since it was on our way home from Hollywood. We hit the restaurant around 11 p.m., and almost every table and booth were taken by late-night burger fanatics. We were particularly curious about two items from In-N-Out’s “secret menu”: the Grilled Cheese and Animal-Style fries. This menu is “secret” only in the sense that it’s not advertised on any marquee. Google that phrase and you’ll get a plethora of webpages devoted to the dozen or so menu items that comprise this alternative carte du jour. Each item has a respective key on the In-N-Out cash register, and it even prints out on your food receipt, so it’s not like the “2 x 4” (two patties, four slices of cheese), “Flying Dutchman” (two patties, two slices of cheese, no bun), or the “3-by-Meat” (three patties, no cheese) were simply conjured up by bored employees. Search the Badmouth.net site with “in-n-out” for a definitive list, an article on the chain’s use of Bible passages on their food wrappers and cups, and a side-splitting account of some Marc Bruno wannabe downing a 20 x 20 (yes, you read that right: 20 patties, 20 slices of cheese)!

As for our order, we had often heard about but never tried Animal-Style fries before. A quick scan of other customers’ meals told us that these fries were also preferred by most of tonight’s customers. Ergo, we were not at all surprised to discover that they were incredibly delicious. Medium-done fries are covered with a slice of cheese, fried onions, and In-N-Out’s special sauce (definitely a Thousand Island dressing relative). Greasy, messy, but oh so scrumptious! From this meal forward, plain fries will never, EVER be enough for us.

We also ordered a regular cheeseburger, which delivered the great taste as usual, but the focus tonight was on the Grilled Cheese. It’s basically a cheeseburger without the patty: cheese, lettuce, tomato, and bun. We one-upped that by ordering it Animal-Style (add fried onions and special sauce), which made it even tastier. The texture here was especially noteworthy: the grilled bun’s crunch, the cheese and fried onions’ softness, the crispiness of the lettuce and tomato, and the tartness of the pickles and sauce made for quite a sandwich. This is great for late-night eating when you don’t want to go to bed with a beef patty dissolving in your stomach while you sleep.

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Mark Simpson

March 26th, 2007

This In-and-Out Burger is a stone’s throw from my house in Hollywood and my family has eaten there many times. What makes this joint great? Their burgers are made with fresh ingredients each day and the prices are reasonable.

The delicious burgers are always freshly made to order with fresh lettuce, tomato and pickles, which all snap with flavor when you bite into the burger. The milkshakes are rich and creamy, made with real ice cream. The line is usually long but the service is fast and efficient so you don’t have to wait very long for your order.

The only negative in my opinion are the French fries: though you can watch them turn real potatoes into fries in the kitchen, somehow they end up soggy and limp by the time you get them. It is worse if you must drive home before eating. Still, In ‘N Out is worth the trip for the burgers!

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