Roadfood team member Marc Bruno told us that during his last trip to Los Angeles, he and his friend Brynn went to Pink’s, but faced an hour wait in line for a hot dog. Not that a Pink’s chili dog isn’t worth it, but they were really hungry, so they went to In-N-Out instead.
Good choice! While it’s speedy, service at In-N-Out 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 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 in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Texas, too.
*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