In and Out Burger

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lvw
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2003/05/21 16:12:45 (permalink)

In and Out Burger

Well, on our third trip to Las Vegas, we finally managed to make it to In and Out Burger, a local chain with shops in Nevada, California and Arizona (maybe more, I can't remember).

We arrived at lunchtime on a Monday and witnessed a very long drive-thru line, which was fine because we wanted to go inside and enjoy a full-blown In and Out experience. What was interesting was that they had an actual human being out there in the drive-thru line taking the orders. I didn't see if there was also a radio type ordering set-up, but in any event, this guy out there was hustling orders faster than the cars could roll in.

Upon entering the shop, we found that it was bright and clean and well-organized. Step up to the counter with nary a line and place your order. There's not much to mull over: Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Double Double, fries, shakes, sodas. That's it. No pressed nuggets, no "onion" rings, no shake-em-up-salads in a cup, no yogurt, just burgers and fries. We, of course, opted for two double doubles. Is that a quadruple? Who knows. We were given a number, found a seat and waited for a few minutes until our number was called. Efficient can't begin to describe the operation here.

The double double contains two thin patties, lettuce, tomato, onion (optional), two slices of American cheese (of the orange variety) and a fresh bun. There was also some thousand island type sauce but not too much of it that it was sloppy. Very tasty! The vegetables were nice and fresh, the lettuce crispy and onions not too thick.

You could see the prep area from the seating area and I watched as the potatoes were being freshly cut and fried. They were thin and crispy, of odd lengths and nice and hot. I am not at all fond of those stupid little ketchup packets of which you need to awkwardly squeeze about 20 to get enough for a single order of fries. Thankfully, In and Out provides a squirt system where you can dispense as much of the red stuff you want into little paper cups.

This is what a fast food burger joint should be. I managed to snap off one shot of the food before Craig balked.



Lisa
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90 Replies Related Threads

    mayor al
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/21 17:05:34 (permalink)
    Lisa,
    For years In N Out was my main meal of the week...hehehe Not on the menu , but available upon request is a 4x4...double the patties and double the cheap cheese, but otherwise a Double-Double
    Their Lemonade is quite good also.
    As a teacher in a community that had a couple of the stands (High Desert of SoCal) many of my students worked at one of those burger places after school. One of the reasons they are so well-staffed and cared for was that they paid $1.00 to $1.50 an hour more than the chain food stands...and they had benefits like sick leave and vacation time and PROFIT SHARING for even the part-time employee's. Thus if a crew had a slacker, it was in the interests of the other kids to straighten the lazy worker out to keep those production bonus's coming in. Thats why they were as clean as a whistle and provide the kind of service and food that fast-food shoppers want.

    Wish we had one here in Louisville.
    #2
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/22 01:21:55 (permalink)
    As much as I applaud what this company stands for, I can't for the life of me, understand the appeal of this place..the burgers are just ok, the fries are just wrong, and the shakes are abominable! The one around the corner from us is always packed... is there something wrong with my tastebuds? What am I missing?
    and btw.. yes the fries are freshly cut..but they're only half cooked!!! with fresh potatoes you have to cook them twice or else they don't get really crisp.. sigh.
    #3
    mayor al
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/22 07:09:12 (permalink)
    Jenn,
    I agree about the fries.they must be eaten within a minute or so of pick-up or they go limp. I don't do the shakes, so they don't get a reference from me.
    The Burger's, when compared to other Fast Food Chain Burgers are far above the rest. They may not stand out from the pricier sit-down places, but they are fresh, cooked 'to order', and the veggies seem to be in good shape. One of the things I notice about them is the Toasted Bun. You can taste the crispy edge of the grilled bun, as opposed to the mushy softness of some quick-serve sandwiches.
    The Double-Double is very good when compared to it's competition, the Big Mac or other chains double cheeseburgers..
    I kind of like the little extra service when going thru the 'drive-thru' and they ask you if you are eating in the car or want your order bagged for Take-Home. I don't think I have ever had an order make it home in the bag.
    #4
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/22 16:52:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen

    Jenn,
    I agree about the fries.they must be eaten within a minute or so of pick-up or they go limp. I don't do the shakes, so they don't get a reference from me.
    The Burger's, when compared to other Fast Food Chain Burgers are far above the rest. They may not stand out from the pricier sit-down places, but they are fresh, cooked 'to order', and the veggies seem to be in good shape. One of the things I notice about them is the Toasted Bun. You can taste the crispy edge of the grilled bun, as opposed to the mushy softness of some quick-serve sandwiches.
    The Double-Double is very good when compared to it's competition, the Big Mac or other chains double cheeseburgers..
    I kind of like the little extra service when going thru the 'drive-thru' and they ask you if you are eating in the car or want your order bagged for Take-Home. I don't think I have ever had an order make it home in the bag.

    I'll agree when compared to fast food burgers.(but not the little tiny local hamburger "joints"). I do like the toasted bun, and their service can't be beat..but I wish they offered another condiment than their standard thousand island dressing..like mayo.. i've gotta have mayo to be happy.
    We ordered off the "secret" menu one time.. 2X4's,(four slices of cheese on two patties) fries well done (they were better) and neapolitan shakes..it was interesting.
    #5
    MrSnarkyPants
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/22 17:33:22 (permalink)
    First of all, their fries are awesome! Sure, they go limp if you let them get cold, but that's because they're fresh and not frozen!

    In N Out may be a chain, but it is 100% family owned and operated. There are no franchisees or outside investors.

    I was told the reason they have not expanded beyond CA/NV/AZ is they want to be close enough to their commisary so that they will never have to freeze anything. The closest thing to a freezer in any store is the shake machine.

    Another off-menu choice: ask for your burger "Animal Style". You'll get grilled onions instead of raw and extra dressing. You may get extra cheese, I'm not sure. It's messy... and it's no extra charge!
    #6
    EliseT
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/22 23:45:46 (permalink)
    I find IN-N-OUT burgers too salty and prefer FATBURGER! But I never had a problem with limp fries. As for the owners, I seem to remember some news about both of the owners being killed in a small plane crash awhile ago. Anyone know about that? Also, another odd fact, if you look at the lip of the fountain drink cups, there used to be bible verses printed on the edge. Not sure if they're still doing that.
    #7
    geomotz
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/22 23:57:22 (permalink)
    There is, in Manhattan, a burger now that is very close to an In N Out burger, believe it or not, at a place called Blue 9 Burger. It's at 92 Third Ave around 12th Street and the burgers are fantastic. You can get a double that is made of all fresh ingredients and a chocolate shake make to order with real milk. If you miss In N Out that much, this is a pretty good substitute.

    Whenever I'm in LA my second stop is always an In N Out. My first stop has always been the Apple Pan on Pico for a hickory burger, a cup of milk, and a slice of banana cream pie.
    #8
    EliseT
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/23 02:19:59 (permalink)
    The Apple Pan is peerless! Your 3rd stop should be Howard's Bacon and Avocado on Venice, just down the street from the Apple Pan. Then there's always the Original Tommy's and Jay's Jayburgers, which have a cult following, though I wouldn't say they're the best.
    #9
    wardtn
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/23 10:05:23 (permalink)
    Has anyone heard of Pals in Johnson City, TN? It sounds a lot like IN-n-OUT burger. Family owned, won't expand too far so they don't loose control of the business and hence, it's quality, very clean, great freshly cooked burgers. They do branch out a little bit, no chicken I think but they do onion rings I believe! And, being in the south, a big gulping drink of iced tea is definately possible...sweet tea no less!
    #10
    Sundancer7
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/23 10:45:43 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wardtn

    Has anyone heard of Pals in Johnson City, TN? It sounds a lot like IN-n-OUT burger. Family owned, won't expand too far so they don't loose control of the business and hence, it's quality, very clean, great freshly cooked burgers. They do branch out a little bit, no chicken I think but they do onion rings I believe! And, being in the south, a big gulping drink of iced tea is definately possible...sweet tea no less!


    Can you provide directions to Pals from Knoxville,

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #11
    Tacohead
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/23 18:17:34 (permalink)
    What makes In-N-Out work for me is that their burgers are "crunchy". And very, very fresh One of the few fast food joints I can drag my wife too - in fact, she requests it. Anytime I'm in the Bay Area or LA/Orange County, this is a mandatory visit. I've even been to the one in Las Vegas per the original post - just off the Strip. The quality is top notch at all locations.

    Though, I will say, when in the SF East Bay(Oakland/Pleasanton/Livermore, etc), there is another choice. How many have tried Nation's Giant Hamburgers? Anyone who has flown to or from the Oakland airport will know what I'm talking about. They replaced the dingy cafe only a couple of years ago (sad in a way, as that place would've been worth reviewing for this site. They don't have dark cafeterias like that in airports anymore). I find Nation's to be an excellent little burger chain.

    #12
    Sundancer7
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/23 18:25:16 (permalink)
    In-N-Out sponsered a top fuel drag racing machine a few years ago. To do our sponsors credit, my brother and I stopped at the In-N-OUt facility at the entrance of the Ontario Airport. The burger was OK Much to my dissapointment because I want them to be sucessful, but I was dissapointed.

    I respect their business plan, but the burger was just OK.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #13
    mayor al
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/23 19:43:56 (permalink)
    Paul,
    That is one of the worst stands in the company... I have run into poor food there on several visits. Most have much cleaner and better facilities.
    One thing they need to do is put the whole menu out to the public. The Double-Double is the main(Big) sandwich...but you can get it as a 2x4 or a 4x4 just by asking. (as described above).
    #14
    jeffskal
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/26 22:32:17 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by lvw

    Well, on our third trip to Las Vegas, we finally managed to make it to In and Out Burger, a local chain with shops in Nevada, California and Arizona (maybe more, I can't remember).

    We arrived at lunchtime on a Monday and witnessed a very long drive-thru line, which was fine because we wanted to go inside and enjoy a full-blown In and Out experience. What was interesting was that they had an actual human being out there in the drive-thru line taking the orders. I didn't see if there was also a radio type ordering set-up, but in any event, this guy out there was hustling orders faster than the cars could roll in.


    Wow.. I have to laugh... the In 'n Out Experience is going through the twin-lane drive-through (here in SoCal, most In 'n Out's have NO dining room, it's part of the expansion that's taken place in the last ten years (it also used to be that the farthest In 'n Out from SoCal was Bakersfield). You order through the speaker, the food is usually ready by the time you arrive at the window, and you either take off in your hot rod munching away or you drive behind the place where they have some benches and trashcans, usually under some kind of shade or umbrellas.

    they used to give away bumper stickers, and everyone would cut them so you'd see "In 'n Out urge" on all these cars...

    My vote: Double-Double Animal Style... and if you watch them make the potatoes, you can see them actually peel, slice, and fry them - then use real cloth towels to absorb the grease. Say "Fries well done"

    Secret Menu:
    http://www.zenlemur.com/innout.shtml

    #15
    jimtewell
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/28 16:22:24 (permalink)
    I also think the fries are bad - hamburgers are ok, but don't get the fries.
    #16
    catosaurus
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/28 19:18:06 (permalink)
    I'm also of the opinion that In 'n' Out burgers are unremarkable. When I first tasted one, I'd heard how great they were for years, and couldn't wait to try it. What a disappointment!

    The fries might be OK if they cooked them longer. For me, fries need to be BROWN, not pale.
    #17
    jeffskal
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/05/28 21:25:24 (permalink)
    hmm... my first reaction is, "Fine, more for the rest of us..." but really, In 'n Out fries are the only fast-food fries I've seen that weren't frozen to being with, and the taste - bear in mind they don't travel well at all, my ten minute ride home with them is about their absolute limit - the taste is unlike other fries because they're *fresh*.

    Sure, taste is a personal thing, and I'm sure that there are people out there, for example, who love those huge ripple-cut steak fries that some restaurants serve - which I never like.

    So I'd tell people, hey, for a whole $1.15 - try 'em out... I'm sure the cholestrol-laden birds that hang out near the stores will love them if you don't.

    Interesting (to some) side story:
    A few years ago I read Ray Kroc's biography, and in it he told the story of what he went through to try and duplicate the taste and feel of the french fries that Dick and Maurice McDonald made at their little San Bernardino stand. This was before frozen fries were the norm, of course. It was quite a perplexing issue. Finally, it turned out that they stored the potatoes in an open shed behind the store, and the dry desert winds dehydrated the potatoes somewhat before they were peeled, sliced and cooked. Kroc found that frying the fries *twice* gave them the texture (crispness, etc.) he was looking for, but it wasn't very efficient. Eventually he found that frozen fries could be processed so that predictable good results could be gotten. I'm not a real fan of McD's food, but I have to admit their fries are not bad at all... my understanding is that a lot of people consider them to be among the best...

    Now, Carl's Jr. waffle fries... now yer talkin'...
    quote:
    Originally posted by jimtewell

    I also think the fries are bad - hamburgers are ok, but don't get the fries.
    #18
    geomotz
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/06/04 18:52:43 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    The Apple Pan is peerless! Your 3rd stop should be Howard's Bacon and Avocado on Venice, just down the street from the Apple Pan. Then there's always the Original Tommy's and Jay's Jayburgers, which have a cult following, though I wouldn't say they're the best.

    EliseT,
    Have you had a Jayburger? I'm interested and I'm going to be in LA end of the month. I've heard they are 'great'. Never heard of Howard's and will check it out. Thanks.
    #19
    CosmicJester
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/06/04 21:21:36 (permalink)
    I'm thoroughly convinced that the best thing at In-N-Out is a 3x3 animal style, fries, and either a chocolate shake or Coca-Cola. The Coke pairs with the burger so well it's amazing.

    With the fries, there's about a 5 second window where they can pull them- too soon and they're soggy, too late and they're Styrofoam. Go there late at night (like within half an hour of closing) and your odds are best f getting them perfect. Once you try them done right, you'll know what the fuss over them is all about

    For those of you not in the know about the secret menu, here's the lowdown-
    3x3- Double-Double with an extra patty of meat and slice of cheese. This can be extended to 4x4, 5x5... as far as you want. The biggest I've heard of someone ordering is a 25x25.
    2x4- Double-Double wth extra cheese.
    Flying Dutchman- Two meat, two cheese, that's it. Not even a bun.
    Animal Style- mustard on the patties before cooking, add pickles, double sauce, grilled onions instead of raw. These are extremely addictive.
    Protein Style- Lettuce wrapped around the burger instead of a bun.
    Wish Burger (or Veggie Burger)- Hamburger, no meat
    Grilled Cheese- Cheeseburger, no meat.
    Fries Well Done- extra crispy, a favorite of many.
    Neapolitan Shake- vanilla-chocolate-strawberry mix.
    #20
    EliseT
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/06/16 13:37:36 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by geomotz

    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    The Apple Pan is peerless! Your 3rd stop should be Howard's Bacon and Avocado on Venice, just down the street from the Apple Pan. Then there's always the Original Tommy's and Jay's Jayburgers, which have a cult following, though I wouldn't say they're the best.

    EliseT,
    Have you had a Jayburger? I'm interested and I'm going to be in LA end of the month. I've heard they are 'great'. Never heard of Howard's and will check it out. Thanks.


    Jay's is a little teeny tiny stand on the corner of Santa Monica and Virgil, just East of Hollywood. They are right across from a nightclub I frequent, so I have to admit that I have never eaten one sober. Late at night, full of beer, they are great. My boyfriend frequently eats there and vouches for them.

    A few years ago the landlord (who owns the 7-11 across the street) raised their rent to astronomical prices and they announced they were closing down. The community actually started picketing. Finally a local diner called EATWELL (who are nouveau roadfood-to-be) bought Jays, along with the recipes and kept all the same workers. So hey, if it's worth standing around in the hot SoCal sun all day to picket, it must be worth the trip.

    Howard's is on the North side of Venice just East of Sepulveda (off the 405) in a little strip mall.

    Check out the LA "FREEWAYFOOD" thread before you head into town.
    #21
    jlwarren
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/06/30 13:36:29 (permalink)
    Nations, in my opinion, is much better than In N Out. The burgers are bigger and juicier, the onions are thick cut and oh so sweet. To me, it is the ultimate american burger. The shakes and fries are great, too. Unfortunatley, I think they are only in Northern California.

    quote:
    Originally posted by Tacohead

    What makes In-N-Out work for me is that their burgers are "crunchy". And very, very fresh One of the few fast food joints I can drag my wife too - in fact, she requests it. Anytime I'm in the Bay Area or LA/Orange County, this is a mandatory visit. I've even been to the one in Las Vegas per the original post - just off the Strip. The quality is top notch at all locations.

    Though, I will say, when in the SF East Bay(Oakland/Pleasanton/Livermore, etc), there is another choice. How many have tried Nation's Giant Hamburgers? Anyone who has flown to or from the Oakland airport will know what I'm talking about. They replaced the dingy cafe only a couple of years ago (sad in a way, as that place would've been worth reviewing for this site. They don't have dark cafeterias like that in airports anymore). I find Nation's to be an excellent little burger chain.


    #22
    EdSails
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/06/30 19:31:25 (permalink)
    Ordered my first 'animal style" burger yesterday. The girl didn't even bat an eyelash----and it showed up on the receipt as "animal". It was tasty too-------I'm a convert now!
    #23
    MikeS.
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/07/02 04:21:49 (permalink)
    I moved away from Calif.(Fresno) 4 years and 11 months ago and one of the things I miss most is In & Out. Love the double double animal style but don't care much for the fries. I usually have 2 burgers and no fries

    I also miss Me&Ed's pizza and Foster's Freeze, tri-tips and good fresh tortillias. Been 2 years since I was back there and I guess I'll just have to suffer.

    Mike
    #24
    EdSails
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/07/12 16:09:48 (permalink)
    Saw the review of In-n-Out today. Inspired me to get a double-double animal style. Yummy of course. Thanks for the inspiration Michael!
    #25
    californyguy
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/07/12 23:00:55 (permalink)
    gimmie a white castle anytime over the bland in and out...how it got the hype it has must be one of those Hollywood things...in the heirachy of chain burgers in and out is somewhere down near the lowly bottom
    #26
    seafarer john
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/07/13 13:51:00 (permalink)
    My wife wanted to see all the movie stars "stars" in the sidewalk and we drove round and round looking for parking. Spotted a large parking lot nearly empty in mid afternoon, pulled in and it was the In'NOut burger across the street from Hollywood High. Felt like we should buy something if we were going to use their free parking, so ordered burgers and enjoyed them. Walked two long blocks up a hill to the "stars", made my wife very happy, and also discovered we had stumbled upon a California ikon of fast food.
    #27
    1bbqboy
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/08/28 11:37:30 (permalink)
    here's a nice article on the in-N-out success story.

    http://www.business2.com/articles/mag/0,1640,51371,00.html
    #28
    Rusty246
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/08/28 14:02:14 (permalink)
    Wow, all this burger talk makes me hungry and I've had lunch! While reading your posts I was comparing our In-N-Out(one only, used to have three)drive thrus to everyone else's. We clearly have something different down here. We have no fancy burger names, although they're good the names are very plain....single, double, with cheese, without and so on and the bun is toasted. I know our fries are frozen, but are always fried just right and to order. Years ago there was only one size fry and it was HUGE. Now it's small, med., large....we have no dine in, never have, just yell through the speaker, if the speakers were broken, someone would be outside. You're order would indeed be ready when you got to the window, to either eat at one of the tables around back, in your car, or take home. Regardless, it was all packaged the same way. Now ours even serves chicken wings...no thanks. Sure wish I could sample some of your In-N-Outs!
    #29
    jeffskal
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    RE: In and Out Burger 2003/08/28 14:14:29 (permalink)
    Where are you? If it's a real In 'n Out, it should know of the
    "secret menu" - ask for an "animal style" or a "4x4" and see.

    You're describing *most* of the So. Cal. In 'n Outs - only dine-in
    in most of those is a picnic table or three somewhere near the drive-through.

    I think they recently replaced some of the classic megaphone-style speakers though, at least in the one near me... Chicken Wings??? Heyyyy,
    that's wrong!

    To the poster who said that In 'n Out was nothing special, and near the low end of the chain burgers... I'm speechless. What's at the high end on your planet?
    #30
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