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In-N-Out Burger near SFO

My husband and I are coming to CA at the end of July for a wedding in Napa, and to "do" the San Francisco area. We're arriving at SFO around noon. Since we're coming in from the East Coast, we will be more than a little hungry. I've heard lots about In-N-Outs, but we don't have them over here. Which one do you recommend on the route from SFO to Napa (and even a recommended route would be great- Mapquest says downtown- that can't be the best way)? Thanks!


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  1. If you take I-280 north towards the GG Bridge and eventually to Napa - there's an I&O in Daly City (north of SFO and south of SF proper). It's not far off the freeway but its sort of tricky getthing there, so get a map or use nav.

    1. The closest In-n-out near SFO is at highway 101 and Millbrae Ave exit.
      don't get your hopes up too high

      2 Replies
      1. re: tacos

        You want to go to the one off the Millbrae Avenue 101 Exit. Get on 101 south and stay in the right lane. Make a right; in and out will be right in front of you. Daly City is impossibly crowded.

        1. re: snw

          The "easiest" one that is on your route (assuming you are going right from the rental car lot to Napa) is the one in Pinole, right off I-80. If it is not commute time, you will be there in about 35 to 40 mins after getting in the car. 101N to the Bay Bridge (I-80), then towards Sacramento, get off at Richmond Parkway, make a right @ the offramp onto Fitzgerald Drive, and then you will be there in another minute. You will be in Napa (city) about 1/2 hour from that point (non-commute times), and well up into the valley in 45 mins.

      2. the in-n-out burger is a decent burger compared to many other fast food
        $2-$3 burgers ... but this is different from being a great burger. if you are
        coming to the sf bay area, unless you are really, really into fast food as a
        cultural experience, this is a waste of time.

        the most interesting thing about in-n-out is where/how they recruit these
        strangely polite kids [and how new INOs affect traffic pattern where they spring up].

        pretty much and marginally competent home burger or any place near your homebase
        with a reputation for a decent $5-7 burger will be better than an INO burger ... and i say
        this as somebody who is fine with in-n-out and not some kind of knee-jerk anti-in-n-out
        person [although i hate their french fries] ... and was in a Berkeley -> Tracy midnight
        carpool when the first INO wave hit northern california.

        that being said, the most optimal INOs is Mill Valley, if you want to drive the GG Bridge
        [probably a better use of your time in CA than INO], or Pinole, if you go to Napa via
        Bay Braidge/Berkeley route. although the milbrae and daly city ones are closer to SFO.
        if you go to daly city, you can do the east coast-west-coast high calorie speedball meal
        by following up you double-double at INO with a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts in the
        same facilty.

        years ago i had an obsession with trying "del taco". after i eventually tried it, i realized
        this was del stupid. but i do still want to make it to tommy burger one of these days.
        anyway, i do understand the irrational "in-n-out urge" ... speaking of which, you may
        also wish to pick up an INO bumper stikcer to apply the stardard modification.

        3 Replies
        1. re: psb

          The only note on the Mill Valley location is that it is the one of the few In-n-Out joints without a drive-thru ... the other I know of is in Fisherman's Wharf. If you can wait the maybe 1 hour drive, I'd say the one in Pinole is your best bet. Easy on and off of the freeway. If you miss the Fitzgerald exit, you can take Apian way and back track.

          The 101 drive is more scenic and takes you over the Golden Gate Bridge with a spectacular view but it is a little less direct than taking 80 to Napa, IMO. However, the Mill Valley IN-n-Out is near the Strawberry Mall which has La Boulangerie where you could pick up some decent Bay Area baked goods to eat later than night. They are known for their canelles.

          I'd skip the Daly City 280 branch because it is a tricky type of place to get to ... on the other hand it is next to a Krispy Kreme if you must have a total fast food fix.

          1. re: psb

            Note to Sarahgraci: an explanation of the tommy burger fixation, I think.


            1. re: psb

              And these "strangely polite kids" are really hard working and moving quickly too! I love watching them work (not because I'm mean) because I think work ethics has gone to the pits... and watching the young people I know do things, SO slowly and without motivation scares me!

            2. There is one in Napa.

              1. Let us not forget the INO at:
                820 Imola Ave.
                Napa, California 94559

                (corner of Imola and Soscol)

                The story I heard, and it may be apocryphal, was that Julia Child requested to be taken there for a burger after she made a big appearance at Copia (the food/wine museum in Napa that has Julia's old copper cookware on display in the permenant collection, as well as a restaurant called Julia's Kitchen).
                Its identical to all the other iterations of this fast food reataurant that prints bible citations on its cups and wrappers.
                Is it better than the big chains? Yeah, I think so, a bit, if you don't count the fries which do suck, but at least they are real. not some extruded compound coated in chemical flavor enhancers.
                I get the double double (their double cheeseburger) with iceburg lettuce wrap instead of the bun. Its the healthy way to eat a double double.
                Best of luck on your search. Let us know how it goes.

                1. Wow. That was a lot of quick responses. Thanks! No, I'm not looking to eat a gourmet burger at this stop- there will be plenty of time for that later on the trip. We'll be looking for something quick(ish) and at least somewhat familiar to get something in our bellies after we land and before we get to Napa. (If you have another suggestion of some place inexpensive, quick(ish), and not exotic between SFO airport and Napa, please let me know!) As a side note, we're 2 twenty-somethings who really don't eat gourmet and like things that are at least somewhat familiar. Also, Napa and SF might seem like unlikely destinations for us non-foodie and (GASP!) non-wine drinkers. One of my husband's closest friends from high school is getting married in Napa, so that is what's taking us to CA. Again, thanks for the advice and insight!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Sarahgraci

                    If you want in and out then you should go to the one in Millbrae -- it is right next to the airport.

                    If you want something different, there are a host of great chinese restaurants in Millbrae on el camino and good burritos abound. You might try La Morena on Baden Avenue in South San Francisco, right off the Grand Avenue exit and very near the airport. "Inexpensive, quick(ish) and not exotic between SFO airport and Napa" includes hundreds of places, including the City of San Francisco. If I were coming in from the East Coast and heading to Napa, I would stop in the City. It is only about twenty-five minutes north of the airport.

                  2. If you go the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge way,and it would be a shame not to as that is the free direction, there is a chowhound favorite in San Rafael. It is just off the Freeway and
                    the menu is familar easy food.


                    2 Replies
                      1. re: rworange

                        This is what Melanie said: "You have a little bit of a reprieve for Royal Frankfurter. They told me it would be a month or two longer before any changes." Check with the
                        restaurant before you go.

                    1. Folks, we've removed some off topic replies. Please help us keep this board focused on the local chow scene by offering your tips on which local In-N-Out would be best for Sarah. If you'd like to share your general thoughts on In-N-Out or their food, please head to the Chains board, where the info will be of interest to In-N-Out-loving hounds everywhere. Thanks!

                      1. Thanks for the responses. We're actually going to "do" San Francisco from Monday until we fly out on Friday, which is the week after the wedding. When we are in SF, we will be having Chinese, and the more slightly adventurous things. Once we pick up the rental car on Friday, we're going to want to get to Napa fairly quickly that afternoon.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Sarahgraci

                          Friday afternoon, I'd suggest you haul yourselves over the Bay Bridge as soon as you can due to traffic. Therefore the Pinole location is probably your best bet.

                          1. re: lmnopm

                            In and out is fabulous versus the other chain comeptition. Millbrae is the opposite direction (south) from the airport if you are heading to Napa (north). But if you are starving it ain't that far out of the way and is your closest bet.

                        2. Sarahgraci...if it's In and Out you want then you should hold onto your hunger for just a little while, take 380 to 280. cut through the City on 19th Ave, cruise through Golden Gate Park, cross the glorious Golden Gate Bridge and go to the In and Out in Mill Valley which is only ten minutes past the Bridge...it's right berside the freeway...the drive from that point on north on 101, across 37 and up to the Valley on 29 is far more beautiful than any other route and for god's sake it's not Millbrae...

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: jungleboy

                            Slight course correction for the most beautiful routing: 101, then 37 to 121 and connect to the Carneros Highway (Hwy 12) which will intersect with Hwy 29. It's shorter distancewise and has more vineyard views. Plus it offers the opportunity to stop at a couple wineries on the Sonoma side or in the Carneros District along the way.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              As usual, Melanie is correct. I'd advise getting something quick near the airport, and you have been offered suggestions for that, or can do a quick Chowhound SFO search. Once you are in Napa, there is an In-N-Out here that you can try. [local girl talking]

                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                Do not dawdle south of the Golden Gate. Scoot before the afternoon traffic buildup
                                and following jungleboy's route it is 25 miles and about 35 minutes to INO Mill
                                Valley. It's the exit right after the Richardson Bay Bridge. Then Melanie's route to
                                Napa. You didn't specify. Is it the City of Napa or just Napa Valley.

                                1. re: wolverine61

                                  I have to agree on getting out ASAP and going up 280 and over the GG Bridge (definitely avoid I-80 (the East Bay route).

                                  I say this as someone who has been caught in huge Friday escape traffic going towards Napa/Tahoe/Truckee in the summer on I-80. 3 hour bumper-to-bumper + 1 hour of actual driving...which I found out was pretty standard. Any time past 2 p.m. and it could be hell...athough 280 to GG should be pretty okay.

                                  1. re: ML8000

                                    Sarah, this is important what wolverine and ML8000 are saying. Get out of the airport fast and over the Golden Gate bridge...then you can rest a bit easier...

                                    Wolverine, you meant to say Richmond Bay Bridge, yes?

                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                      No Maria I mean the Bridge down the hill from the Waldo Tunnel that spans
                                      the water between Marin City and the Strawberry shopping center.


                                      1. re: wolverine61

                                        So *that's* what that expanse is called! Thanks, wolverine.

                                    2. re: ML8000

                                      On Fridays, try to get over the Golden Gate Bridge by 2pm, otherwise you'll be in stop-and-go traffic lasting until 7pm. I suspect that it's unavoidable, so take the most scenic route through Carneros and take advantage of the leisurely pace.

                            2. You could try sushi at the international terminal while you are waiting for them to unlose you luggage.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: wolverine61

                                OP said no strange food - but the food at the international terminal is good. If you're in the mood for a burger, you'd try Burger Joint, which has a somewhat checkered reputation among SF burgers, but for a quick bite and no re-parking would be pretty swank.

                                1. re: bbulkow

                                  I was wrong in this post. Get these folks out of the airport and across the bridge.
                                  I was only making fun of robert's question about a full sushi restaurant at 9AM. With
                                  the traffic to and from Japan and the time difference it might really make sense.

                              2. Try INO for sure, but if you're in Napa and want a great burger, try Taylor's Refresher in St Helena - pricey but memorable.

                                1. Goodness gracious! Y'all are so helpful! (I really don't usually say y'all, but I'm in/from North Carolina and can get away with that kind of thing). I thought the traffic would be building up on Friday afternoon, but not as early as you've said it will. We will certainly keep that in mind (the last thing I want to do after being stuck on an airplane from Atlanta to SFO is to be stuck in a car even more when we're finally on vacation!). Wolverine: We're going to the city of Napa for the weekend and wedding.

                                  3 Replies
                                    1. re: Sarahgraci

                                      You could/might get out of SFO and over the GG bridge in 45 minutes or less...but then again you might not. You just can't tell. So if you make it from SFO to Napa with little or light traffic, just don't laugh at us.

                                      1. re: Sarahgraci

                                        As a frame of reference driving from Raleigh to Chapel Hill on Friday at 5 PM... is like the autobahn compared to our traffic here.