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Something like an 'In-and-Out' burger

My career soldier friend will becoming to NYC this spring while on his military leave. He is currently stationed at a remote base in Iraq and the one US food item he craves is an In-and-Out burger, but we do not have any here.

Can anyone suggest a place to take him to that will come close and satisfy his taste buds?

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  1. Five Guys probably comes the closest. Shake Shack as well. But my vote is for Five Guys.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle

      Five Guys is pretty bad. It tastes like Playdoh with salt. Shake Shack is a million times better.

      1. re: Peter Cuce

        I'll have to respectfully disagree with you. Personally I think Shake Shack is overrated -- but that may also have to do in part with those insane waits.

        And the fries at Five Guys are so much better than Shake Shacks.

        1. re: Miss Needle

          The fries I had at Five Guys were pretty bad as well. I guess we have different taste. I'm not a huge Blue 9 fan, but I thought that was better than Five Guys as well.

          1. re: Peter Cuce

            im with miss needle here...minus the 'animal style' thousand island dressing, five guys is the closest i can get to in and out.

            the place isnt much but i enjoyed my burger and fries a lot.

            1. re: Peter Cuce

              I've never had Five Guys, but I have to agree with Shake Shack that is is completely overrated and nothing close to In-and-Out

        1. Resto. I asked them about it once because the recipe seemed so 'unbelgian' to me and the waiter told me that they're based on the in-n-out burger.

          1. Try Joe's Best Burger in Flushing. The closest I've found to the In N' Out experience in NYC.

            2 Replies
            1. re: E Eto

              Not having any personal experience in Iraq and can only image the horrors one would witness there....The thought of sitting in Madison Square Park in springtime having a Shake Burger and shake would be pretty damn good...

              1. re: Cpalms

                I'll agree with you that the experience of eating at Shake Shack is nice on a warm spring day.

                OP, if you're friend is also homesick for the In n Out decor as well as its food, Joe's Best Burger and Five Guys look similar to In n Out with the red and white theme.

            2. In-N-Out Burger is hard to find a comprable here in NYC. Having said that, Shake Shack in Madison Square Park would be a terrific place for somebody that's stationed in an Iraq military base to spend a great burger lunch at in spring time.

              1. Shake shack for me has come closest to In n Out.

                1. Blue 9 Burger. Not only does it have the exact same taste (burger sauce) and menu, they also honor the "secret" menu. It's an exact replica of In-N-Out, as good as it can possibly get on this coast. Not as satisfying as the real deal, but they make a good attempt at replication.

                  1. Definitely check out Blue 9 Burger. Their menu is almost an exact replica of In-N-Out Burger. I wrote a review (with pics) on Roadfood.com in the hamburgers section of Restaurants. I went to Five Guys a couple of months ago and thought that the burgers and fries were pretty good. Shake Shack is good if you don't mind the lines.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: billyboy

                      I have to be the contrarian here. I realize that whenever the question of In-N-Out like burger in Manahattan come up, Blue 9 burger is a pretty automatic response. The reason is probably that like In-N-Out, Blue 9 doesn't use freezers, microwaves, etc, and they have a similar menu. But I'd say the similarities end there. Blue 9's are pretty disappointing and don't taste anything like the burgers they try to emulate. The fries are nothing like In-N-Out's, which admittedly are love-em-or-hate-em even for people who grew up eating them. But next time you get a chance, ask for the fries "well done".

                      In-N-Out is still owned by the family that started it in Baldwin Park, CA, and they are very geographically limited because they use a single commissary in Southern California, so they can only go as far as their refrigerated trucks can travel in a day.

                    2. Five Guys is a decent alternative, but as we wrote a while back it is not IN-N-Out

                      "Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries
                      43 W 55th Street
                      New York, NY 10019

                      There have been many studies done showing that people crave foods that are connected with childhood memories or other positive experiences. To this day I crave for a Philly cheese steak of my childhood. I also have developed a craving for the soft tacos I loved when I lived in Southern California, particularly the fish tacos popular in San Diego.

                      But for most people who grew up in America, their primal craving is for the hamburger and fries of their youth. Manhattan is fortunate for the many places to get a good burger. But there is also the need to have the iconic place that serves up the burger and fries that reminds us of our memories. It needs to have the same look, feel and smell of the joints where we had our favorite burgers. The closest places I have experienced in my adult life are the IN-N-OUT Burger chain of Southern California. Unfortunately IN-N-OUT has yet to travel beyond California, Arizona and Nevada let alone to Manhattan. A reasonable alternative is Five Guys. Originally started in Alexandria Virginia, just South of Washington DC, Five Guys has expanded not only throughout the Mid-Atlantic States but also throughout the Eastern half of the US including Manhattan.

                      The Five Guys on West 55th Street is located in a mini-restaurant row. When one enters the brightly lighted white tile with red tile joint, one encounter tall stacks of Idaho potato bags stored and displayed to announce that there are no frozen reheated fries coming out of this place. There are also stacks of malt vinegar and pickle jars, announcing the basic ingredients.

                      In the rear of the space is the short order grill, the order and pick-up spots and smell of burgers and fries. The menu is short and to the point; burgers and accompaniments, fries, dogs and soft drinks.

                      The burgers are great and the fries are better than average. Are they the best burgers in Manhattan? No, but they are darn good, and a great value.

                      Does the place remind one of the burger joints of your youth (assuming you are 30+ years old)? Yes, undoubtedly.

                      Does it satisfy one’s craving for a burger and fries? Yes (at least until IN-N-OUT ever comes to Manhattan)."