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In-N-Out Burgers [moved from L.A. board]

I don't get it. I have some colleagues who travel to LA and love In-N-Out Burgers. I live in Minneapolis, and we don't have them here - just McD's, Burger King, Wendy's, and the occasional Hardees. While I have never been to an In-N-Out, I just can't imagine they're all that different than other fast food burger joints. Despite this, these colleagues of mine go on and on about the place and can't wait to eat there. When I ask them about it, they carry on as if the burgers are great. Are they, or are these guys jokers, or have bad taste, or what?

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  1. Why would anyone joke about food being good?
    of course they're good!

    1. I grew up on the East Coast where there were no In-N-Outs. When I move to LA and everyone was raving, I thought it was BS. Then I tried a Double Double and was hooked. They are real burgers - not frozen patties. Everything is fresh. It's the only fast food joint where I could trust that the tomatoes would be juicy and delicious.

      1 Reply
      1. I suggest you try it before you think it's all the same. Certainly, people have different opinions of In n' Out (I, for one, don't really care for it), but such views are only debatable when we have had the opportunity to form such views after our tastebuds and predilections combine.

        3 Replies
        1. re: chica

          I was trying to see if it's worth trying, actually. But thanks.

          1. re: pgokey

            then you should trust your colleagues and try it.
            check out this board for the many different ways to order your burger...i hope it helps. :)

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/357346

            1. re: pgokey

              They are worth trying, but if you are visiting LA from MN, then there are a lot of other foods that are much more worth trying. It wouldn't be at the top of my list.

          2. Their "secret" is all fresh, never frozen, ingredients. Small menu of things they do right. Friendly staff, fast service. Clean stores.

            Still, some think of it a just another fast food burger. Go figure?

            5 Replies
            1. re: Wes

              Speaking of staff, I know of no other burger company that trains its cooks in its own In n' Out's version of training camp.

              1. re: chica

                McD and BK both have major training facilities separate from their restaurants. In N Out may do the same kind of thing, yet the results really show that the ingredients may be different, yet the end product is really not any difference from most of its competitors.

                1. re: carter

                  McD's "hamburger university" is reserved for its management level staff. The "cooks" get their training on the line (not that any training is really necessary... you're basically cooking the meat patties with a press).

                  I love In N Out. I love Fat Burger even more!

              2. re: Wes

                Could you imagine if they had chili or eggs or bacon? All other places would be out of business. I can only think of Jay's Jay Burgers Chili on an In & Out. OMG!!!

                1. re: Burger Boy

                  I'll go for the best of 3 worlds... a Double Double with extra grilled onions and extra spread (sans lettuce which is my hot sandwich preference 100 percent of the time),
                  a fried egg ala Fatburger and Tommy's chili. BAYBEE!!!

              3. They are good, but they are still fast-food burgers. For me, they belong to a different category of food than a homemade burger or a burger at a nicer pub or restaurant. I am new-ish to California, and while I enjoy the occasional In-N-Out, it's really not THAT exciting.

                In the category of fast food burgers, however, I do think they are the best. They are also serious about using fresh ingredients http://www.in-n-out.com/freshness.asp which is good. So I feel okay about eating an In-N-Out burger, while I do not feel okay about eating a burger at McDonald's.

                9 Replies
                1. re: Dave MP

                  That's exactly what I was gonna say - you just said it better!

                  1. re: Dave MP

                    I think Dave MP has hit the nail on the head. I -heart- In-n-Out, but it's also the type of place that I can see being disappointing if someone's heard "the hype." It's still a fast-food burger ( a very good fast food burger that I'd eat more often if I didn't care about my health, but a fast food burger nonetheless!) It's not flame-broiled, or cooked to order, or has yummy toppings. But it's fresh and hot and double-doubles are addictive. So, pgokey, it's very good, but don't expect the BEST burger ever, just the best fast food burger ever.

                    1. re: writergirl

                      So the feedback is helpful. I don't eat fast food unless I have to but this place is being sold as a must-do place to go to. What I am hearing here is that it is merely above average fast food, but nothing that elevates past fast food. I will only be in LA for 3 days. I have much better places to eat at than In-N-Out, it seems. What I was really trying to get a handle on was the food tastes of these colleagues. I trust the opinions of a panel of chowhounds a little more, I guess. So, thanks.

                      1. re: pgokey

                        I would say if it's before 1 AM (or 1:30 on Friday or Saturday) and you're looking for something reasonably quick late at night, then go with reckless abandon.

                        1. re: pgokey

                          If there are no decent burger places in the Twin Cities - you mentioned only the chains - these towns are ripe for a better alternative. Are there any independents/mom&pops or small local chains?

                          LA has a fair amount of burger places of all shapes and sizes. But like some others have mentioned, In-N-Out is tops for chain-burgers, but there are so many other places you should spend your time trying. I'm guessing that if your buddies were so in awe of In-N-Out, then somewhere like Father's Office would have left them speechless...

                          Do the In-N-Out if it really is under your skin and if you want to compare notes with your friends, but please do yourself a favor and try some of the many outstanding offerings that this town of many immigrants has to offer you... Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Mediterranean, Persian, Ethiopian, South American, Salvadoran... did I miss any? I'm sure I did. ;-)

                          1. re: pgokey

                            There are a lot of the 'Best .......... In L.A.' threads available on CH. There are GREAT burgers, Mexican regional, Chinese regional, Thai, Japanese, and Korean places here. Also some pretty wonderful upscale restaurants featuring menus using seasonal ingredients. And also wonderful ice cream/gelato, pastries etc. If I were spending 3 days in L.A. that's what I would aim for. But someday you should check the so callrd 'secret menu' for In N Out and try what sounds best to you, that's the only way you'll ever know if they are great or crap!

                            1. re: pgokey

                              It rises above some things that wouldn't be considered "fast food." That set of chains like Applebees, Chilis, Ruby Tuesday, etc...I think the burgers at In-n-out are better than all of them. They aren't "cooked to order" insofar as they cook them the way them cook them (unless you specify well done) but they are cooked when you order them. Nothing sits around. If you don't like fast food, period, then I don't think there's fast food your'e going to like. In-N-Out is a whole different creature than the large national chain fast food restaurants, though. The produce is quite good and is what really makes the burger something special in my mind. And they serve Coke, which is a bonus.

                            2. re: writergirl

                              I think it's also a case of the novelty. For some visitors, it's kind of a ritual.

                            3. re: Dave MP

                              Jack in the box is a much better product than either.