During our trips this fall we have done our best to ferret out some of the finest in authentic roadside cuisine.Out travels have exposed us to a breadth of simple, approachable food, and as a rule we eschewed chain restaurants at every turn.
There is one such exception to be made for that rule, however, the famous California institution known as In & Out Burger.In & Out is unique among burger chains in that they are exclusive to California (only recently having opened a handful of locations in neighboring states) and none of their locations are more than a day’s drive from their headquarters in Irvine, CA.The 240+ restaurants were family owned until 2006 and they have never franchised.Furthermore, they pride themselves on using only the freshest of ingredients.Their burgers and fries are never frozen, the vegetables are fresh and the shakes are made with actual ice cream. For these reasons, In & Out stands as an anomaly among fast food burger chains and they have built themselves a cult following because of it.
Their blindingly uncluttered menu board reflects this dedication to simple, timeless drive thru classics.Burgers, fries, shakes and soda – that’s it.
While some purists may still snub their nose at chain fare of any form, as Theodore Donald “Donny” Kerabatsos so eloquently put it:
“Those are good burgers Walter”.
And I concur. Following the NC game we promptly made our way to In & Out for a well deserved post game feast. I ordered up a classic double-double “animal style”, fries and a chocolate shake.For the uninitiated that translates to a double burger, double cheese, with extra pickles, extra sauce, and fried onions.This was a simple yet classic combo that was the perfect nightcap for an exhilarating day.Forgive my lack of usually detailed photography, but this little treat lived a short, albeit delicious life.
For the astute readers out there, you may notice the lack of any mention on the In & Out Burger menu to the term “Animal Style” and you would be correct.One of the beautiful nuances of In & Out is their non posted “secret menu”.This is basically a second language for regulars to customize their burgers off the menu.As a marketer, I think it is a phenomenal example of building a “tribe” mentality among your most ardent followers.And I pride myself on going “animal style” whenever I order at In & Out.
For you newbies out there, I’ve taken the liberty of posting their secret menu so you can talk the talk with the rest of the skate shoe wearing SoCal regulars.
- Veggie Burger: A hamburger with extra tomatoes instead of meat
- Extra Toast: This order toasts your bun a little bit more than usual making it extra crispy
- Protein style: Protein style removes the bun and wraps your burger in lettuce like a burrito.
- Grilled Cheese: A bun, tomatoes and onions, if you want them, grilled with melted cheese.
- Flying Dutchman: For the ultimate meat eater. No bun, no veggies, just two beef patties and two slices of cheese.
- Double meat burger: a double double without the cheese.
- Animal style: makes any burger come with extra pickles, extra sauce, grilled onions, and a mustard cooked patty.
- 3 by Meat: three beef patties and no cheese.
- 2 by 4: a double double with two extra slices of cheese. Not for the weak hearted.
- Chopped Chilies: This adds diced jalapenos to any burger
- Mustard grilled patty: ask for this and they will spread your patty with mustard before grilling it.
- No Salt: you wouldn’t think that this would apply to a burger but it does. In-N-Out patties are heavily salted, ask for no salt and you will get a much healthier and fresher tasting patty.
- Fries animal style: an order of French fries drenched in cheese, grilled onions, and special sauce (a thicker thousand island dressing)
- Fries Light: French fries taken out of the fryer a little early. These are a little bit raw on the inside and less crispy.
- Fries Well-Done: The opposite of fries light. This order leaves your fries on the fryer extra long, making them really crispy and oily.
- Cheese Fries: Fries with melted cheese on top
- Neapolitan shake: All the milkshake flavors swirled together, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.
- Root Beer Float: Half vanilla milkshake and half root beer soda.
- Choco-Vanilla Swirl: A chocolate milkshake swirled in with a vanilla milkshake
- Lemon-up: Lemonade and seven up mixed together.
- Large and extra large shakes: if you ask for a large shake they’ll give you a shake in a medium sized soda cup and extra large in a large soda cup.
- Tea-Ade: An Arnold Palmer. Half iced tea and half lemonade.
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