In-N-Out Burger: Coming to a Town Near You


Tweets were flying, food bloggers were posting furiously, and the local TV stations went on air with the news: In-N-Out was coming to New York!

Signs appeared one day last spring, posted on empty storefronts in several New York city locations, bearing the iconic yellow boomerang and these tantalizing words: In-N-Out Burger, Coming Summer 2010. Workers clad in company aprons and caps were handing out flyers announcing the grand opening scheduled for July 4th.

By day's end, New York was a city of dashed dreams and empty bellies; In-N-Out was not on its way to New York—not that summer, maybe not ever. Its burger-loving denizens were the victims of an elaborate, almost too-cruel hoax perpetrated by the comedy website College Humor. It seems that the heady cocktail of desire and desperation made everyone forget the date. That's right— April Fool's.

Few companies inspire this kind of fanatical loyalty. Apple Computer and Harley-Davidson Motorcycles are two others that come to mind. Their fans see themselves as savvy insiders with cultish devotion that borders on irrational.

In-N-Out has acquired a mystique based on quality, scarcity (fewer than 250 locations), and apocryphal tales of secret menus and lavish, six-figure pay for employees. It's a quintessential southern California attraction— the first stop for savvy out-of-towners on the way out of LAX. The rare restaurant opening has been known to alter a city's traffic patterns and bring hours-long lines and news helicopters buzzing overhead.

In-N-Out is welcomed where other fast food outlets are not. Love for the double-double burger is publicly professed by chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Thomas Keller and influential food writers like Gourmet's Ruth Reichl and Jonathan Gold. Even Fast Food Nation's muckraking Eric Schlosser gives it a thumbs-up.

There are no freezers, microwaves, or heat lamps at an In-N-Out. Nothing is ever frozen—even the hamburger beef is butchered at their own SoCal site, which has kept outlets within a day's drive of that location. No meal is prepared until the customer orders it, the fries are cut by hand in the store, the shakes are real ice cream, and burger prices hover around $3. Except for the addition of 7-Up and Dr. Pepper, the menu has barely changed in its 60 year history.

The big news is that In-N-Out is planning for expansion. The company is opening a regional office and second distribution center in Dallas, making it possible to open new outlets within driving range of the fresh hamburger patties it produces in Texas. Three new locations will be up and running this spring. Maybe by April 1st. And that's no joke.

A Hamburger Today deconstructs the Flying Dutchman, Animal Style, and the rest of In-N-Out's legendary, not-so-secret menu.

Which is better, In-N-Out or Shake Shack? Click to see how they compare.

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187 Comments

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First, I&O DELIBERATELY limits it's menu options to specialize. Have you trie dordering mustard at Mcd lately? won't happen, but you still go back. But let me ask all you haters oyt ther--if I&O is so bad, why does everyone go back, or first time if peopke give it bad rating?? I love white castles, bu also I&O.

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It's still fast food in my book. I would starve before eating another greasy burger from these guys.

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In N Out needs to come to the Georgia. I miss that place very much!

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Fatburgers #1 FiveGuys #2 i don't fully understand the excitement over I/N, my kids loves them

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All the joints appeal to different tastes. Saying In&Out is the ONLY best burger is ridiculous. I have been to them all and they all have different kinds of appeal. I&O, 5Guys, McD, BK, Whataburger, SmashBurger and the list goes on. I do like I&O burgers, but I like the others too, but for different reasons and tastes.

This looks like a typical best pizza argument. Since God made us all different, we all have different tastes in burgers (thank goodness).

While chains are nice and available, I could name some great local joints in SouCal, Chicago and Philly that make some wonderful burgers of their own. Because they are mom & pop outfits, you will never hear about them. Too bad because they add to the burger experience.

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I know people that drive 300 miles for an In and Out Burger and Fries

ThePirateBob's picture

Most over-rated burger and restaurant of all time. I keep trying them in different cities because everyone keeps raving about them. Disappointed every time. Does everyone have no taste any more? Crispy chicken sandwich at Burger King is even better.

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different cities?? i lived in Cali for 20 years, and In &out just moved to Norhtern Cal in 2002, so where are all these cities you tried? And you talked about chicken sandwichs, which is NOT what hamburger rating is about. Of course, since BK is your spot, you couldn't appreciate cooked to order.

Wimpy's picture

In the MidWest there are gas stations / convenience stores named "Kum & Go". In-N-Out is expanding. Therefore, it won't be long until if you don't like In-N-Out's meat, you can go to the Kum & Go for a weiner.

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Please come to Baltimore!

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If there are no freezers how does the ice cream stay cold?

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Big deal. Five Guys clowns these goofs.

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ki

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If you eat it, something is guaranteed to come out.

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You and Your husband are OUT OF YOUR MINDS!. In and Out Burger have the best hamburgers in the world. There isnt a burger joint out there that comes even close to In and Out Burger. you just have no tastebuds!

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Don't think so. A number of our friends were looking forward to them coming here. My hubby and I WANTED to like them. But neither we nor our friends can find anything good to say about them, except maybe that the veggies are really fresh. But everything is SO tasteless. My hubby actually likes Five Brothers a lot; for me there's not much to pick from between the two of them. But really, The first words out of my mouth at INO were "where's the beef?" I NEVER tasted anything approaching a meat patty at all. Even when I took a couple of bites of my spouse's double, the meat was tasteless. He didn't have ANY thing on his burger except cheese and ketchup, and it was like eating soggy chunks of cardboard. Our friends were equally disappointed. If none of us had cared we wouldn't be so disappointed. None of our friends (except for one guy) ate at the same INO site as we did; two other sites in the Dallas area produced equally bummed out friends. None of us understand it; but all of us have spoke to other acquaintances who said basically the same thing, namely "I was really looking forward to trying them but they were SUCH a letdown."

When you hear that over and over from people who are not good friends, merely co-workers, acquaintances of friends, etc, well, I don't think there IS anything wrong with ALL our tastebuds. I think the place is just hugely overrated.

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Five Guys Burgers beats In-n-Out in EVERY market where they co-exist. Five Guys kills In-n-Out in taste comparisons and in value as well. In-n-Out is like your daddy's 1973 Cadillac - the memory of it is much better than the reality of the dang thing.

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I don't get the big appeal of this place. I heard they were coming to Dallas and I was all excited. My hubby and I went to the one that opened nearest us. I got a single patty burger with the "salad", he got a double patty. Neither of us wanted the "special sauce" but there was no mayo available and no bacon for his. (Bacon on a burger is a birthright in Texas). Yes, everything was impeccably fresh, at least the salad was, and the bun. I don't know about the meat since I couldn't even taste it. I tried putting some salt&pepper, and then some ketchup. Never did taste the patty. Yes, the fries were fresh cut, just the right thickness (like McD's used to be in the sixties). EVERYTHING was absolutely tasteless. I mean it all tasted like cardboard. I actually wondered if my taste buds had suddenly died. My hubby and I looked at each other and then at the massive crowd packing the place. Finally I had to ask him "Is it just me or is this the worst fresh burger I've EVER had?" He shook his head and said it's not just you. I cannot understand the attraction. The food was SO tasteless We both agreed we would not even give it a second chance. I was beyond disappointed. Everything looked so pretty and was completely void of anything approaching flavor. Except the onion. That I will admit did taste like onion, somewhat.

Of all the chains that have opened here in Dallas in the last year and a half - Carl's, Five Brothers, In & Out, Smash Burger - I would hands down give the crown to Smash Burger, the only one whose food had any real flavor. Carls's regular burger was just terrible and I will NOT pay six bucks for a "fast food" burger - I'd pay $4.99 for a pound of ground sirloin and make a burger myself first. Five Brothers was a lot like In&out but with marginally more flavor to the burgers (the fries are a greasy MESS). Smash Burger has great tasting patties, great bacon, real sharp cheddar cheese, and their available toppings allow you to make a killer chili cheese burger. The best by far of all the new chains here in Dallas.

Ignore the hype. In & Out is definitely NOT worth it!

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I guess it's a burger joint because the owners realized In-N-Out wasn't a great name for a hot dog stand.

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If you get greasy or bland then the workers aren't doing it right.
Complain to the company and they will send someone out to teach them the right way to do things.
They are the most polite in fast food and well trained, Their employees can go to any other place and they are preferred because they learn quickly and dress sharp.

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We have one down the street, the smell of the bread just lures you to the place. It's very basic food hamburger, cheeseburger, fries, drinks and real ice cream shakes.
But you can get the onions grilled, the animal fries is big enough for two and for your favorite vegetarian they make great grilled cheese sandwiches!

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Trust me. We have them here in Vegas and they aren't worth the napkin on them. You ask them to hold that nasty sweet sauce and they look at your like you were silly. Ask for just plain mayo and they say they don't have mayo. Haven't been back since.

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We need one in the Chicago area, preferably DuPage County. We got Chik-Fil-A, Traders Joes, Mrs Sees, and Theo Epstein. Just one In-N-Out outlet please.

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I moved to Pomona Ca, in 1951. There was an in-out-burger place in Baldwin Park, just west of Pomona. A bunch of us would drive up into the hills and drag race!!!!!
Afterwards, we would go to in-out and eat. It was all family owned for years and years, until the father and some other relation died in an Airplane accident in Los Angeles. Sometime after that they opened one in Pomona and my school worked for them while in high school. He was in charge of slices tomatoes, seperating the head of lettuce, and only the best leaves would be used, also same with cutting up the onions. It was and still is my favorite burger place. We got one here in Carson City, NV about 5 years ago, also one in Reno, NV.
I just wish they would BUILD A WHITE CASTLE place, that used to be my favorite, but since in - n out came in, it's the best. There are just about 1/2 mile from our home, and when the wind blows the right way we can smell them....so we drive over and get one. ha ha

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tried one at Vegas and Gilroy Calif locations - no big deal

gordon ramsey? hes an Idiot!

lines were ridiculous

smog producing drive thru lines - oh yeah a great place for sure!

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I have been meaning to try this place - it just stinks that I am on the east coast! :( One of my first stops, however, will be InNout Burger once I get to the west coast. I'm sure after I eat this, I will be able to add it to my list of 100 Things I am Thankful For ! :)

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there are no freezers, but their milk shakes are made with ice cream?
So.........yeah, whatever....

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overrated

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We need a IN & Out Burger Joint in Greenville, SC. Loved it in San Diego

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The Secret Menu is no "apocryphal tale." It's real, and the official In-N-Out website even has a page devoted to it:

http://www.in-n-out.com/secretmenu.asp

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I love Braum's and Freddy's myself. The problem I encounter most often is the dipstick employees that treat your food like $&@!. Pulling fries early or putting a nasty veggie with a stem on your burger is my biggest gripe. We need to lay off more union guys to force them into the fast food work place. They will do a better job as they understand the assembly line process. Just kidding about that last part.

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My son ate one this summer and he says that they are the best. I hope they come to Houston soon.

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After eating at two different I-and-O restaurants I can safely say there is no attraction for me to return. Very generic food. Now, Whataburger.....that's something else!

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Whataburger? are you kidding me? I just moved to texas from LA and I heard people compare whataburger to In n Out so I tried it. Whataburger doesnt even come close to In n Out. The only time I go to Whataburger is if I have a coupon but I find their burgers to be below standard. In n Out is by far the best burger in the world! you cannot beat fresh meat!

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Couldn't agree more; The WhatA Chicken and the Breakfast On a bun are awesome; And the Green Chili & Cheese are To Die For.

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Then there's something wrong with you.

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I believe Dallas/Fort Worth now has 6 area locations and my son has been to them all.

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My husband and I go to In and Out when we visit Calif. We want them to come to Orlando - they are THE Best in service, quality and taste.

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In-n-out is my favorite burger joint, they have a limited menu(it's like the burger version of Chipotle) and they do it well. If other states get the pleasure of having an In-n-Out be prepared for long drive thru lines but don't get upset about that because waiting in a long line is part of the experience of going to In-n-Out...I eat there at least 4 times a week. You don't feel heavy or bloated after eating their food. here is the link to their secrete menu (it's not on the actual menu) http://www.badmouth.net/in-n-outs-secret-menu/

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two words RED ROBIN

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The food I had at the Red Robin here was terrible ant service not much better.We don't have an In & Out neard

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two words... Food Poisoning

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Got back from a vaca to LA last week. First time eating at In and Out. WAY overrated. Burgers are nothing special, and the fries were greasy and bland. I'd rather do the BK or McD thing.......

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Absolutely RIGHT - in & out is WAAAY over-rated. After being in South Beach 2 weeks and trying Five guys burger, it is hands down my new favorite. Simply awesome fries too

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In 'n Out is one of the most overrated burgers going. It's not even the best in CA, but because it is from CA all the CA people rave when it moves to a new locality. OC Burgers are much better, made fresh and chargrilled (unless you like grilled burgers on a griddle!). Besides TX already has the InO type place, it's called Kincaids, and it is very similar to InO. Don't obsess over the hype and try to be objective, good, but not worth the hype/marketing.

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I'd pay extra if they offered grass-fed beef, instead of corn-fed beef. Much healthier for the cows and humans.

Love the In-N-Out bumper stickers, which can be trimmed a bit to bring a knowing smile to other motorists. In-N-Out Burger becomes ....In-N-Out urge.

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Hardee's and BK are better.

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boy are you in for a let down, there are a lot of burgers better than in and out

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when will the In-N-Out burger be coming to the southeast. It sounds good especaly the fresh cut fries.

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After trying the scorched burger from the one size fits all menu in the crowded dining area of screaming kids, I later thought of the how people raved about In-N-Out and how PT Barnum must have been right.

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