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A burger restaurant chain in the Western United States

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Freshness you can taste – In-N-Out Burger

  • Dec 17, 2003
  • by
Pros: Pros: juicy burgers, perfect fries, great shakes, good prices

Cons: The calories can add up.....

The Bottom Line: A great system that has worked since 1948 with a limited menu focusing on freshness that is made to order in a friendly atmosphere

Spending the first twenty-five years of my life in New Jersey brings many memories back into focus of family visits to White Castle, Roy Rogers and Stewart’s Root Beer. When I moved to California in 1985 none of these establishments existed on the West Coast. The remaining New Jersey staple that I missed, Porkroll, (otherwise known as Taylor Ham) was obtained at the Farmer’s Market next to CBS Studios.

It was several years before I learned of In-N-Out Burger. This is not a franchise organization. They are located in California, Nevada and Arizona. There is nothing quick about this establishment. The emphasis is on freshness, with deliveries daily to each location. The fries are cut and prepared on premises in 100% cholesterol-free vegetable oil. The buns are made at each location using slow-rising sponge dough. The beef is 100% pure, 100% pure ice cream for the shakes that come in small and large with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry as the flavors.

This is also one of the few establishments that has a great selection of soft drinks, including my favorite Root-Beer. These include Lemonade, Iced Tea, Coffee, 7Up, Coke, Diet Coke and Dr. Pepper. At the self-serve drink counter there is also a metal container with lemons, plus straws, stirrers and lids. The menu consists of a few items, hamburger, cheeseburger, double-double, drinks, shakes and fries. The décor is red and white. The trays are not flat but indented, there is a paper placed inside before your items are added. The fries are served in a white container, the burger is wrapped in a plastic wrapper before a white paper wrapper is folded over.

My first experience visiting a In-N-Out Burger was in 1990 on the return trip from Wayside Honor Rancho Jail. Since I did not have a car the first ten years I lived in California I really only knew transportation via RTD, now known as MTA. The only areas I frequented were Hollywood, Glendale and neither at the time were home to a In-N-Out Burger. There was an organization that used vans to transport visitors to the jail site and I paid to use their service. This would start out early in the morning and end late in the day by the time everyone received a visit and returned to the van.

That morning when we passed the In-N-Out Burger several of the passengers said that we should stop at the In-N-Out Burger on the return trip. I mentioned this to the person I was visiting and was informed by said prisoner that this was a stop not to miss and make sure I got fries. I had no idea what the buzz about this place was and did not expect to see lines inside when we arrived. I am a plain Jane when it comes to food toppings, having never liked mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato or dressings. For me a burger is perfect with onions, ketchup and pickles. This first visit I chose a milkshake since it was the middle of summer and was very satisfied with my order. You place your order and receive a number that will be called within five minutes or so. The food is cooked after orders have been placed.

I moved back to Hollywood and then returned to the East Coast in 1993 with a six- month stop over in Orlando, Florida before returning to Southern California in early 1996. During that time I was fortunate enough to visit White Castle and have many porkroll sandwiches. I noticed when driving around Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard in 1997 that a In-N-Out Burger had arrived. For some reason I just never got around to visiting this location.

Earlier this year while driving to a support group in Glendale I noticed a IN-N-Out Burger near the Galleria. Finally after more than ten years from the first visit I was able to experience the freshness again. There is no way there will be a long gap before I return for another lunch that consists of cheeseburger, fries and chocolate shake for under five dollars.

When I walked past the In-N-Out Burger on my way into Mervyn’s at 9:00 am I noticed the sign on the door with the opening time of 10:30. I made a mental note not to eat at the mall and have lunch there before catching the bus for home. There were two employees inside preparing for the day. The store has outside tables with a speaker enabling those to hear their number when order is ready.

The inside is totally clean from floors to counter spaces to the tables. While I was eating an associate was cleaning tables and sweeping the floor. I arrived at 11:29 am with my order #23 called at 11:35. There was no line when I walked in, but soon after they were forming long and to the door. The line moved fast and everyone worked systematically. The employees are noted as associates with two notes in the bathroom informing them to wash hands before leaving.

Both males and females were in white uniforms and red or white hats, plus red aprons. I noticed the associate cleaning had a large metal safety pin closing her apron in the back. The trash bins are nicely done in red and white containers with places for placing the trays. There are signs noting where ketchup is, restrooms and red metal highchairs were prominently displayed for easy access. The restroom was clean, three stalls and two sinks. There is no diaper changing section at this location.

The weather today was in the 70s with many shoppers and business personnel arriving for lunch with many seated outside. There is a bus stop to the right on Brand Street, but there is parking behind and this is easily accessible for mall shoppers. Upon placing my order I inquired to the toppings on their cheeseburgers. The associate told me some dressing is used, lettuce and tomato and onion. I cannot recall what else she said, but I asked about pickles since she did not mention them. My cheeseburger had three pickles and two slices of onion with cheese dripping on some of it. Even the amount of ketchup was suitable for my tastes. The shake was nice and thick. I finished my cheeseburger and fries, then brought my shake with me outside before finishing. I was completely satisfied, but not full. The serving for the fries was the right amount. I did ask about the sizes of shakes when I placed my order, but when I stated fries there was no size option.

I was reminded in a way of White Castle today while inside In-N-Out Burger. The red and white décor was similar in my memory to the blue and white of White Castle. I must say that the shakes from the East Coast are still better, but the fries and burger cannot be beat in freshness. I did have onion breath the whole way home and guzzled an eight-ounce container of water from my refrigerator. Otherwise I was not hungry for many hours with no need for chocolate either.

On the drive home I noticed that Rally’s had a large number of people waiting plus in the drive-through with their outside décor consisting of red and white as well. That might be the next stop just to compare. If I recall correctly the Hollywood location for In-N-Out Burger has a drive through, but I am not certain.

The website lists the calories for their items. It seems that my shake was a 690 setback, fries took away 400 calories and the burger was around 400, although hard to tell since I had limited toppings. Besides the dine-in you can have take-out, plus the website lists the specifications to obtain the cook-out trailer for company picnics or special events. They cannot do shakes or fries and have chips and grilled cheese on the menu as well.

In-N-Out Burger does not need coupons to attract customers. Their prices are reasonable, their food is top notch in taste and freshness. My only complaint is that it took me so long to get back there. Finally after all these years they are in Hollywood and two locations in Glendale.

During the school holiday I think I will be taking my kids for some In-N-Out Burger fries and hit the after holiday sales at the mall.


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More In-N-Out Burger reviews
review by . March 05, 2011
What happens when you try to order it all your way!       http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/03/...on-the-secret-menu.html
review by . December 03, 2009
I Could Eat A #2 Everyday For the Rest of My Life!
   If you need to know the definition of perfection, going to In N Out would be a good place to start. I have never had a bad experience at this "fast food chain, everytime I eat here it's "the best burger I've ever had," not to mention, the price is right!      I think In N Out's success can be attributed to a few key qualities of the chain:       1. It's privateley owned, allowing them to keep a careful eye on every location …
Quick Tip by . November 25, 2010
One of the best classic All-American hamburgers from a fast food restaurant.
Quick Tip by . September 25, 2010
posted in Awesomeness
If your out on the west and you want a burger, theres one place to go. Burgers, shakes, sodas and fries. Nothing else.
Quick Tip by . December 03, 2009
My future sister-in-laws are coming to town for X-mas and let me tell you, they put this as the #1 thing they miss most from California ;p
review by . January 06, 2009
This review was written because today my boyfriend and I went to In-N-Out. So what is the significance of that? Well, I freakin' LOVE In-N-Out burgers! I'm very partial to fast food in general; always picky after watching the documentary Super Size Me ... but I just can't get over how delicious this fast food chain actually is. And honestly, I'm not very fond of hamburgers; so usually when I do have to go to some fast food place I always order the wraps or something else.     The …
Quick Tip by . August 28, 2009
Double-double protein style, animal style fries, and neopolitan shakes are my favorite!!!
review by . June 19, 2009
posted in Awesomeness
You come here for burgers people.
In N Out was something I grew up around and never fully experienced.  It would be sometime before I would get to try one again and when I did I wondered where those lost meal opportunities went toward?      Best burger on the planet?  Could just be.  Lets see...McDonalds and White Castle?  Don't make me gut laugh!  Hardee's and Burger King?  No way.  Every town has it's own good local burger chain but nope sorry not even those.  …
Quick Tip by . August 25, 2009
In-N-Out Burgers- great burgers and fries, fast, reliable service...one of the best chains I know of.... give em a try!!
review by . March 03, 2009
It is not an overstatement to say that In 'n' Out burger has achieved So Cal icon status.   In 'n' Out recently celebrated its 60th anniversary and they haven't aged a bit!  Same delicious food and great service that I remember getting back in the '70s and same great value for your money!   The first place I think of to take a recently-arrived-in-L.A. foreigner (especially those that hail from Japan) is In 'n' Out.  Why?  Because …
About the reviewer
Bonnie Sayers ()
Ranked #386
single parenting two teens on autism spectrum. Working out daily, Zumba & Bodybugg enthusiast.
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About this restaurant


In-N-Out Burger is a fast food restaurant originally from Baldwin Park in Southern California. The chain is headquartered in Irvine, CA and has expanded all over California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. They are famous for their limited menu items and extensive "secret menu," which offers customers the chance to customize their food beyond what is offered on the standard menu.
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