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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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