It’s a California Classic that I have certainly had my fill of over the years; after soccer tournaments, weekend lunches, and especially if we are on a road-trip. Wherever we seem to be driving to, Mammoth Lakes, Santa Barbara, Lake Powell, there happens to be an In-N-Out on the way. Most people go for their usual orders, my dad with his double-double, Meghan with a cheeseburger, ketchup only, and my cousin’s picky palate leaving him with a “cheeseburger no burger,” aka the grilled cheese with American cheese melted inside the bun.  Goodness knows how he continues to grow the sort of foods (or lack of foods) he eats.  I’ve always loved my cheeseburger with everything but onions and their one-of-a-kind pink lemonade.

But as my tastes changed, so has my order.  My last trip was an extra special one because I sampled out the grilled onions for the first time. Mmmmm, definitely an excellent choice.

ImageCheeseburger protein-style with extra tomato and grilled onions and a medium-lemonade (light ice)

Not that you should, but did you know you could order an extra-large shake?  This could be worthwhile price-wise if you plan to split it, rather than ordering a number of smaller shakes.  Other fun “secret-menu” selections include: black & white or Neapolitan shakes, root beer floats (really any soda floats), the Flying Dutchman, animal fries, well-done fries, or extra toasted buns.  Pretty much anything you order, they will make for you.  It is one of the last companies that I know of that will work to please the customer.

I love that no matter where you go, each In-N-Out is the same.  Same menu, layout, drive-thru (relatively).  There are a few exceptions (Glendale, San Francisco, and some of the older drive-ins such as Arcadia & Pasadena), but I think these have more character.  It was founded back in 1948 by Harry Snyder and his wife, Esther, with the first location in Baldwin Park.  The chain has grown since to include 274 locations in now five different states!  Harry’s plan, which is still in place today, is to: “Give customers the freshest, highest quality foods you can buy and provide them with friendly service in a sparkling clean environment.”  I also love their t-shirts just as much as I love their burgers; it’s almost like a rite of passage to sport one of those classic T’s around town.

If you are interested in a little light reading and learning a more about the beloved restaurants, I do recommend Stacy Perman’s book, In-N-Out: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules.  The book provides a surprising look inside the creation and expansion of the restaurants as well as a little bit of the family history and drama.

The burgers tend to taste the same after a while, so I tend to wait a while in between my trips.  We have friends from out of state however, who can’t seem to get enough when they are in town; even if they eat there twice a day.  One of my dad’s friends who grew up in the Southern California area, but lives in Georgia, ate there 6 times in three days and even picked up burgers for the airplane ride and stuffed some in a heater bag for his family.  I’m certainly not that crazy, but when all is said and done, that, is what a hamburger’s all about.


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