In N Out Burger, San Francisco, CA

In N Out Burger
11 Rollins Rd.
Millbrae, California 94030 (right by SFO)

The recent argument Shokutsu and I had on Foodosophy regarding burgers would suggest that I eat a tremendous number of them. Which isn’t quite true. Dissatisfied with the quality of most burgers, I typically eat them at home, or at special occasions. I prefer to skip fast food. The idea of microwaved burgers, mass produced frozen food just doesn’t appeal to me, nor does it meet my idea of responsible consumerism. An exception to the rule would be In N Out Burger. A privately-owned, west coast fast food chain that I visit immediately upon touching down, anytime i’m on the West Coast. LV. LA. Phoenix. San Francisco. I know where each of the locations closest to the airport are by heart.

Much has been written about In N Out. First brought to mainstream attention in Fast Food Nation, they have developed a pristine reputation, and for good reason. No freezers, heat lamps, or microwaves. Everything made fresh, by hand, daily. Hand cut fries. Hand made patties. Bake their own buns. Well treated employees. Benefits. A social conscience. This is one well-run burger chain with a marketing twist – the secret menu. There’s nothing like a “secret” to generate some buzz.

In N Out offers a very basic menu. Double cheesburger (called a Double-double), a hamburger, a cheese burger, fries, milkshakes, and soda pop. That’s it. Sometimes, less really is more. However, the so called secret menu (which is not so secret anymore, part of it is listed on their website) is In N Out specific lingo to tell them how you want your order.

First, there’s animal style. On your burger, it means pickles, grilled onions, and extra sauce. You can also get your fries animal style. This is the grilled onions, thousand island sauce, and cheese. You order your burgers in combinations of meat and cheese. Double double is 2 meat patties, two cheese. Triple Triple is the aforementioned burger with three of each. 3×5 is 3 patties and 5 slices of cheese, and so on. The largest INO burger ever confirmed is the 666×666. Fries can come in light, regular, and well done. Vegetarians can get grilled cheese. There are a variety of other options, all in various combinations of bun/no bun, cheese,

What is there to say? Not a lot. Things can be summed up quite easily. The burgers are excellent. I definitely prefer the double double, animal style, for the right combination of meat, cheese, toppings, and bun. I think the fries are terrible. Light, regular, well done, other than being fresh cut, don’t have much redeeming qualities. Limp, soggy, they havent been double fried, resulting in a lousy fry. If you must get them, get the fries animal style. At least the cheese and onions and spread make it reasonable. Milkshakes are good – i stick with vanilla, though neapolitan is good for a mix. The best part? The price. While the decor and the values seem like they belong in the 70’s, so do the prices.

The food at In N Out definitely falls under the category of guilty pleasure, if only for the caloric reasons. With fresh food, and a good organization behind it, they leave you feeling pretty good, even after a few double doubles. After all, how can something that taste so good, be so wrong? In the case of In N Out, it can’t.


8 thoughts on “In N Out Burger, San Francisco, CA

  1. H. Peter – re: fries… really? i find them too soggy, and without the satisfying crispyness that i need in thin cut fries. Out of everything they do, they are what i dislike the most. I get two double-doubles instead of fries.

    bb – depends on which fatburger you’re wondering about? The one of my childhood memories 13 years ago, on the Vegas strip before they demo’d it, that was sweet fatty goodness? Or the fatburger of today – the soulless, overpriced, lousy chain burger we get?

    Wait, never mind. It is better, regardless of which memory it is competing with 🙂

  2. We used to go to the Tropicana/I-15 location in Vegas, where business was constantly on high volume. So the fries were usually so fresh, never really had soggy ones.

  3. They cook everything fresh to order at every location – so there shouldnt be much variance. I’ve been to a lot of them – and find they are pretty consistent. I think their fries to be a love em or hate em kind of thing. I just happen to hate them.

  4. Andree – i crave them every week, when i stare down my inevitable selection of Wendy’s, BK, MacDonalds, and Harvey’s. I really with i could convince them to expand a bit further north!

    Katina – that seems like a bad idea. You have to try one – your life will never be the same!

    Ok, so maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but they are tasty and cheap! 🙂

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