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Why is In-N-Out that good?

in n out1 Why is In N Out that good?

So one reader, Amy, asked what is so great about In-N-Out burgers…

and… I’m at a loss for words. I can’t really put it in words. They just ARE that good. In-N-Out is the only burger joint I frequent. I don’t fool myself – hamburger is not a health food, but In-N-Out seems like the most healthy, genuine, all-beef burger I can get. The beef patty is good, the lettuce crisp, the tomato slices fresh, the grilled onions plentiful. And you can get a hamburger for under $2.

The sides are also yummy. The milkshakes are thick and creamy (my favorite flavor? Neopolitan swirl). The fries are delicious Animal Style (lots of grilled onions, please). In short, In-N-Out is my favorite fast food place. The giant safety pins are adorable, too.

But, because I don’t think I did In-N-Out justice in this post, I’d like to invite fellow In-N-Out lovers to chime in on why exactly is In-N-Out so good.

  • dogatemyfinances - We don't have those in Texas, but I always go in Vegas. So, to me, In N Out burger is associated with having a fantastic time in Vegas, which makes it even better. ReplyCancel

    • sraboni - i am in dallas, texas. texas have in and out burgers.

  • sfordinarygirl - I’d be careful with eating too much In-N-Out burgers. Harris Ranch had one of the largest beef recalls a few months ago. In-N-Out buys beef from Harris. Luckily In-N-Out didn’t buy the tainted beef.

    I can’t explain why it’s so good. They don’t use lard for the fries so it’s healthier. And they’ll even make them crinkle cut just the way you like them – light and crispy unlike the soggy MCD fries in a box.

    I mostly love their creativity in ordering a burger. You can order one so many different ways even vegetarian which is unfortunately just a patty, tomatoes and lettuce.ReplyCancel

  • L@SpillingBuckets - I’ve heard a lot about this place, but being on the east coast I haven’t actually tried it. (We don’t have any) :(

    Next time I go visit my friends in CA I’ll make sure to get over to an In-N-Out.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Hi all, it's me again. I see what everyone is saying about In-n-Out using quality beef and all that, but to me there's not much point if the burger will be too thin. I'm not asking for a monster of a burger, but my patty was like the thickness of a cracker. On the bright side, their toasted buns are great (but still no excuse for a wafer-thin burger).

    Has anyone ever been to Islands? It's a hamburger joint also. Higher prices, but exponentially better food. ReplyCancel

    • max - well you are just a "mondo-burger" fan, in my opinion. Islands (and Red Robin, etc) are not my types of burgers. I like my burger about 5-7 mm thick (about wafer to mcdonalds) so that the beef taste synergizes with the rest of the tastes, instead of overpowering it.

      Now i agree, islands and robin have really taste, themed burgers. They have stuff with like pinapples and onion rings and weird hawaian sauce, and others. Well, if you just get the "Classic Cheseburger" you will see that all you can taste is meat and cheese, and apparently thats what you like to focus on (cant blame ya).

      BUUUt back to the wafer thin burger – there you get a rounded experience. i honestly cant even seperate the beef from the rest of an in-n-out burger, and thats the way i like it.

      people have diff tastes. (oh P.S. so you must like the six dollar burger at carls, huh? i take famousstar over it any day.)

  • Wendy - Oh man, how to explain? The bun is toasty. The patty is very good, fresh beef, and very thin, so it doesn’t overpower the veggies and sauce (you can stack up as many patties as you want, so meat lovers are satisfied too). The lettuce comes in leaf form, not shredded, so you get the crunch biting into the sandwich. Animal style fries are great, but honestly I love getting a straight-up #3 combo, just a burger and fries. You become very aware of how good ingredients make a simple dish fantastic. It’s like a really good caprese salad.

    Now I’m homesick and hungry.ReplyCancel

  • bunny - GAHHHH. You are evil, showing me a picture of this first thing in the morning. Oh, how I miss In-N-Out. My answer is this: it doesn’t deserve a damn explanation. JUST GO and stop asking questions. I’m sick of the “But whhhhyyyyy”s. Just. go. dammit. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Britt - They don’t have any in Canada. :( I have not been or tried. Although I kinda want a neapolitan milkshake now!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - I don’t eat meat, so I always get the “grilled cheese sandwich” (the burger with all the fixin’s minus the beef patty), but I thought I’d weigh in anyways. Everything’s fresh and the sauce they put on the sandwich is yummy yummy. Also, the milkshakes taste “real”, not like reconstituted powder like McD’s (hell, maybe it IS reconstituted powder, anyways, but they fooled me at least).

    I live in NY so I don’t eat there that often (maybe a good thing because then I’d go AT LEAST once a week), but when I make it out to the West Coast they are a must.ReplyCancel

  • Oli - It was the crunchy, fresh lettuce that got me.
    Driving from LA to Las Vegas for the first time and craving a greasy hamburger I stopped in at an In-N-Out and was disappointed by how fresh and non-greasy it was.
    Now living on the East Coast, I’m deprived of In-N-Out burgers… It’s always been a mystery as to why they have never opened up in NY.ReplyCancel

  • mapgirl - I LOVE IN-N-OUT.

    The reason it’s so great is that it’s so meaty and fresh tasting. The veggies are always fresh and crisp.

    Of course, I also find the hidden little religious verses kind of charming. But unlike Chik-fil-A, In-N-Out is open on Sundays.ReplyCancel

  • Msminiducky - Amy, it sounds like what you need is some Fatburger.

    I have a long-lasting grudge against Islands for their ridiculous prices and inconsistent menu.ReplyCancel

  • jdiazblog - The bread, the fresh meat, the fresh vegetables. Take your pick. It just eats out any other burger by a mile.


  • Shrewdamire - Double-double, animal style with an ice-cubed cola – great for gobble-downs… any time of year!ReplyCancel

  • keyframegirl - I like In & Out ok. I’m not a big fan of the french fries, and I don’t like sloppy burgers, or toasted buns.

    Their meat patties are a little flavorless, but I LOVE their milk shakes. 1/2 chocolate, 1/2 vanilla is PERFECTION!!

    I respect them paying their employees properly and most of all their fresh ingredients. I’m not a huge fast food fan, but would much rather give them my money than anyone else if in a hurry.ReplyCancel

  • Jonathan - (1) Animal style gives you grilled onions (messy sauce optional), which lots of fast food burgers don’t have.

    (2) Potatoes are not molded and artificially flavored potato dust particles, but actually real potatoes pushed through a cutter (scary looking device)

    (3) Fresh ingredients, mentioned already, no freezers

    (4) Simple menu – they do only a few things and do it right

    (5) Clean restaurants, clean tables, clean bathrooms

    Simple, cheap, good! Best burger under $3 for sure, probably under $7.ReplyCancel

  • paperdreamer - They’re a completely west coast luxury! I saw one when I went to AZ though :) ReplyCancel

  • Forest - We don’t have them either, but I’m jealous because I hear from friends that it’s great. Maybe someday!ReplyCancel

  • financegirl - I feel the same way about White Castle!ReplyCancel

  • ElKid - Oh man, why did you bring it up… I moved to South Africa a couple years ago. Every time I think of In ‘N Out, I have a bad attitude for the rest of the day.

    It’s freakin’ awesome! The fries are not that good, thoughReplyCancel

  • mapgirl - Oh, and another thing. The closest thing to In-N-Out on the east coast is Five Guys. They don’t freeze their patties and the fries are cut and cooked on site. But the bad part is their fries suck. They give you a lot and there are peanuts to eat while you wait. Plus Five Guys also does grilled onions and any number of toppings (nothing too crazy here, but a good selection to please anyone) and they are really really inexpensive.

    I was reminded about them when someone mentioned frozen meat or lack thereof.

    G-Dangit! I really want to go to CA now just to hit up In-N-Out.ReplyCancel

  • paperdreamer - I’ve heard of Five Guys but never have visited. I’m happy with the fries from Checkers though :) ReplyCancel

  • brittney - This is awesome reading all of this. :0) I actually work at In N Out burger in tempe, az. I am working at the second busiest In N Out Burger store in Arizona. It’s a stressful job, more than our customers realize, but it is an amazing company. I can totally back up the fact that everything there is very healthy and very high quality. They are still family owned ever since they first started in 1948 and they are very serious about upholding the highest standard of customer service and quality. I have worked for them for about a year and even visited the In N Out Burger university in Baldwin Park, CA because my best friend took courses and graduated there and is in management with them. The place is beautiful, soo very clean and training is great. All in all it is what i consider a great example of how a food industry should be. :0)ReplyCancel

  • trippen - In and Out has fresh food, tasty food and the cost is very reasonable compared to other burger joints. One of the things I really like is they double check all the orders so you almost never get a mixed up order. 2 thumbs up for In N OutReplyCancel

  • Frugal Babe - I have a friend who’s mother works for an airline, and when she’s scheduled to fly somewhere that has an In N Out Burger, she takes a cooler and brings home burgers for the whole family. Seriously. So they must be good :) ReplyCancel

  • Pupp - The reason they do not go farther local wise is bcause of logistics. They have such a high standard for freshness that trucking thier ingredients that far would compromise this.

    I can honestly say I have no idea why they are so good they just are…

    Cheeseburger animal style whole grill extra fried mustard light pickle.

    As for the east coast I am truly jealous of white castle!!!ReplyCancel

  • The Accidental Housewife - I have been living in Montana this summer and just flew back to SoCal this week for a couple of days. I could not wait to get off the plane and get an In and Out. Double Double Animal style!

    I don’t eat fast food. Can’t stand the stuff, but for some reason I have become addicted to these things. I grew up in Texas and I love me some Sonic, but all I get there are the drinks. In and Out is a different animal.ReplyCancel

  • In ‘n Out and the open road « Well-Heeled, with a mission - [...] 21, 2008 by wellheeled I was this close to getting In ‘n Out for dinner tonight (read the post for reader comments on why it’s so good). The only thing [...]ReplyCancel

  • Remembering the good stuff in times of the bad stuff « Well-Heeled, with a mission - [...] leaves Vietnamese, Indian, Cuban, and many, many more). Oh, and let’s not forget the great Californian classic. My taste buds are [...]ReplyCancel

  • SoCal James - All you need is a #1 Animal Style and a Pink Lemonade. I’ve been eating at IN-N-OUT since 1983 when my dad took me after he got out of class at Cerritos College. I’m in the Navy now and I let everybody I know that’s not from California about it. Let’s just say there hasn’t been one complaint. They love it and so do I! Thanks IN-N-OUT for being so darn DELICIOUS!!!ReplyCancel

  • Bringing Lunch to Work - [...] not many appetizing options around my work, so the good news is that I won’t be tempted by an In-N-Out or a good pizza joint right down the street. But I also don’t want to just eat lunch from [...]ReplyCancel

  • joe - ill tell you why its so good. Its more than just the hamburger, its the clean environment, positive outgoing employees and the mouth watering flavor of the bun/burger/cheese and onions. Some how its just really good, like it doesnt taste fake like mcdonalds or burger king .Their potatoes are fresh and cut them right in front of you, I dont think they add any preservatives. I think the reason it stands out is the quality ingredients. Its kind of like mr pickles (quality wise). ReplyCancel

  • Leiwei - Maybe it's just me, but my opinion of In n Out is that their burger and fries are just okay. I've tried other burgers that are much better and "fresher" than In n Out's. To me, In n Out is where you go for a greasy burger. I simply don't agree with:

    "The beef patty is good, the lettuce crisp, the tomato slices fresh, the grilled onions plentiful. And you can get a hamburger for under $2.

    The sides are also yummy. The milkshakes are thick and creamy"

    I've never had an In n Out that had crisp lettuce. The beef patty is ok. The tomato slices being fresh is harder to say. Grilled onions are delicious though. The milkshakes? Not that thick and creamy.

    I would say however, that In n Out makes a better "fastfood drive-thru chain restaurant" burger than any other fastfood drive-thru chains.

    I only post this here because I just got a #1 from In n Out (was hungry) and it basically made me remember why I hardly ever go to In n Out. ReplyCancel

  • Devin - Not a fan.. every one Ive eaten at was just average. I've eaten inside at a number of them and always noticed empty ketchup cups at my table, or crumbs from the previous diners etc. When Ive done the drive through experience I was handed food in 1/2 a box. What the F is that? They couldn't just put it in a bag?

    Word to the wise, If you choose to eat there, park down the street. Otherwise if you can even find parking on site, the lines for the drive through's will prevent you from leaving any time soon. Also gas in California right now is on average 4.37 for regular unleaded. If you're lucky. The average wait in line for I&O is 15 – 20 minutes on a good day. It contradicts the friggin name of the damn place.. I'll take Fatburger any day over I&O.

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