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Kinda like In / N / Out but something more

The In/N/Out burger is not unique. There are other places that make basically the same burger but do something more that makes for a good stop. I have listed two places below that make a burger that looks, smells, feels and taste like an In/N/Out burger but wonder whether others exist?

Art's ,The Art of Burgers (Maybe even better meat than In/N/Out, Wed and Sun the burgers are only 99 cents. Try a 3X3. Add chili and it goes well beyond In/N/Out. The menu includes chili dogs, pastrami, breakfast burritos, and a pretty good fish sandwich too)
11629 E. Valley Blvd. (East side of the 10 Fry. on the North Side of Valley Blvd. Look for a building that looks like a original In/N/Out from about fifty years ago. I hear that it was one of the original two-lane drive-thu In/N/Outs)
El Monte CA 91732
(626) 442-7554

Baker's Burgers (What makes this better then a stop at In/N/Out is the real ice cream milk shake – OMG!, I had two of those chocolate shakes with my burger last week. Shame on me)
2555 S Archibald Ave (North side of rchibald Ave at the 10 Fry -- Ontario Airport)
Ontario, CA 91761
(909) 673-0109

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  1. http://www.pienburger.com/

    Pie 'n Burger
    913 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106

    2 Replies
    1. re: JAB

      This was my thought exactly. Whenever I bite into a Pie N Burger burger, I think to myself that it's the slow food version of a double-double.

      1. re: SauceSupreme

        I agree... it was JUST like an In and Out burger, which steamed me for paying double the price!!


    2. The original drive thru(1940s) In/N/Out was in the next city over in Baldwin Park in the heart of the SGV. It's closed now(in a strange almost museumy kinda of way), but I remember eating there as a kid.

      1. Haven't ahd a burger for several years.. This is the year to break the burger fast.

        I am looking at:

        Billy's Grill

        Father's Office (not a fan of Sang or his ego and crowds, though)

        The Counter

        That one that does the crazy thick multiple patty burgers, NOT in and out)

        Lucky Devil's

        I want big, ooey gooey , no chili, but other yummy toppings, slioppy and not cooked to a lump of coal. Rare is good.

        Any more suggestions?

        8 Replies
        1. re: Diana

          If you're going for a one time burger splurge, I would skip Billy's Grill. It's a decent burger but nothing special.

          I would go with maybe Arnie Morton's or Taylors.

          Surprisingly, Ruby's Diner makes a pretty damn good burger. There is one in Woodland Hills in Topanga plaza. The one I ate at was in Palos Verdes.

          1. re: markn

            I dunno, Arnie Morton's is a chain and I've not heard much about Taylor's.

            I have had bad eperiences with Ruby's Diner. I would want to go for a great burger in LA

            1. re: Diana

              Taylor's is my favorite burger in LA, but it's not a sloppy toppings burger, just a damn good basic one.

              Personally I think both the Counter and Lucky Devil are way overrated. 25 Degrees would probably be a better choice for the pick your own toppings variety.

              1. re: Diana

                The burger at Morton's (only available at lunch) is one of the best, if not the best in LA. It's worlds better than the Counter burger. I'd say that burger or the Father's Office one would be my top choices for breaking your burger fast.

                1. re: Diana

                  Here is my review of the best burger I've ever had, it's Arnie Morton's, don't let the "chain" fool you. A most memorable burger.


                  I'd also second The Bucket, a friend and I split the cardiac, and we both agreed it was terrific. IIRC, they won't ask how you want your burger(normally a problem for me), but we went for it anyway, and weren't sorry, the meat was far from red, but the cardiac as a whole was delish.


              2. re: Diana

                Since you're already a fan of Boneyard Bistro, why not try one of the burgers there? We only had one once but it was quite gigantic (in fact we split it) and had lots of yummy yet not run of the mill toppings. Definitely a knife-and-fork burger. It was well over $20 which was somewhat jaw-dropping especially for the SFV. Takes a lot of balls if you ask me. I had my half with a Guiness.

                I also really like the burger at Bandera at Wilshire/Barrington. Quite delicious and I can eat the whole thing. At Bandera, the burger goes well with a Bombay martini.

                1. re: Debbie W

                  Boneyard bistro is a really good suggestion. Maybe I can get Aaron to build me a special one!

                2. re: Diana

                  Pineapple Hill Saloon on Moorpark at Van Nuys Blvd. I order the Kona burger but order my onions raw (menu provides for grilled onions). They also have good fries and you are not going to get stung with the check. On their hamburger items they are reasonable. Full bar and mediocre house wine.

                3. The sloppiest, messiest, ugliest burger in Southern California is the Cardiac Burger found at the Bucket, which has been raising cholesterol in Eagle Rock since the 1930s. Two huge patties, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled onions, mushrooms, bacon, ham and cheese, served (of course) in a bucket. A disgusting, heartburn-inducing, wonderful hunk of goodness.

                  I haven't been there since they changed hands last year, but if they turned it into an Applebee's I think I would have heard.

                  Catching up on links ...

                  The Bucket
                  4541 Eagle Rock Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

                  Baker's Burgers
                  2695 Inland Empire Blvd, Ontario, CA 91764

                  Art's Take Out Burgers
                  11629 Valley Blvd, El Monte, CA 91732

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: maxzook

                    THAT sounds more like it. How does it compare to the felxibility of choose yer toppings at the counter?

                    1. re: Diana

                      I had to laugh out loud at the thought of comparing the Counter to the Bucket. Don't get me wrong, I really like the Counter -- in fact, given my attempts at a healthy lifestyle, I'm more likely to eat there nowadays than at the Bucket.

                      Unlike most "gourmet burger" joints such as the Counter, 25 Degrees, Father's Office, Lucky Devils, etc., if the Bucket had any less atmosphere you'd mistake it for a crack house.

                      And there is about as much menu flexibility at the Bucket as there is at Father's Office, with almost as much 'tude, but the similarity ends there. If you want flexibility, go to the Counter or 25 Degrees; if you want enough food to kill a horse, go to the Bucket.

                  2. the closest I got to in&out is Big Joe's in Santa Monica on Broadway and 20th. The last time I got their double cheese burger I swore it was better than the last in&out I had. Charbroiled. Yum.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: vewyfunny

                      I really never liked IN and Out burgers, although it has been yonks since I had one.

                      1. re: Diana

                        I think there are a couple in Orange County, but I know Easy Take Out in Costa Mesa (17th Street between Santa Ana Ave. and Tustin Ave.) offers a very similar experience to In N Out. Actually, and this may be more local legend now than anything else, I heard the people that opened the Easy Take Out franchise were formerly with In N Out before branching out on their own. I know there's an Easy Take Out in Anaheim (near the 91 Freeway at Weir Canyon) and there may even be more.

                        The menu, as you might expect, is basically just burgers, cheeseburgers, fries, drinks, and shakes. I think they have onion rings, though I can't remember. As with In N Out, you can order stuff "not on the menu" and they also do an "animal style" with grilled onions and mustard. I think their fries are much better than In N Out, which I have gone on record for years as saying I think basically suck.

                        R. Jason Coulston

                        1. re: Jason_Coulston

                          ouch, In N Out fries are definitely not sit-down-restaurant style fries, but I wouldn't knock them. For as long as I can remember some people went specifically to In N Out for the fries. If the Easy Take Outs do have onion rings that would be a departure from the In N Outs now in existence, I've eaten at many in the states that it serves in and never was there onion rings served. I like their fries especially animal style but can eat them with ketchup or by themselves--like I said they are not restaurant style fries(ie: herbs, spices, wedges, etc.; I don't think they were ever meant to be since it was specifically a product made for drive-thru window dining back in the 40s and they have not changed the recipe much if at all)

                          1. re: b0ardkn0t

                            The fries at In N Out are cooked from raw potatoes. A proper french fry (that you would find in any great French Bistro ala Bouchon, Comme Ca, Jeanty, etc.) starts with peeled potatoes that are soaked in water, sometimes as long as overnight. They're then blanched in oil at a lower temperature (285-degrees), cooled, then re-fried at a proper frying temperature (375-degrees). The result is a fluffy interiorr with a beautiful golden brown exterior.

                            Cutting up raw russets and throwing in a fryer is a horrible way to cook them and produces soggy, oil-clogged results. It's as far away from a truly proper french fry as I can imagine.

                            It's nice they're pushing the concept of freshness, but it's at the expense of the end result.

                            R. Jason Coulston

                            1. re: Jason_Coulston

                              Thanks for the lesson...I always wondered why they were so...unique?!?

                              I still like them for what they are, however.

                              1. re: Jason_Coulston

                                I wouldn't use 285-degrees as the first cooking temperature. It's too low and would allow the oil to soak the potatoes most unpleasantly. Try 325. I'm also against russets, but that's for another post.

                                The much-vaunted fries at In-N-Out are not nearly as good as high-quality cardboard -- I'm talking top-quality ANSI 34IDw6.5 board -- cooked twice at 325/375 and salted with fine gray sea sel immediately afterward. Sprinkle fresh-chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley at your discretion. Now, that's good eating.

                              2. re: b0ardkn0t

                                The fries have a certain appeal to them. But it just goes to show that fresh is not always better.

                          2. re: vewyfunny

                            I tried Big Joe's after someone recommended their Patty Melt. Worst Patty Melt I've ever had- I wouldn't expect their Burger to be any better. Thumbs down.

                            1. re: antob

                              Agreed, (and it's actually Big Jo's - no e). Food is pretty mediocre to bad. Terrific Patty Melt's at both Pann's in Inglewood and Nichol's in Marina Del Rey.


                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              WOW! Hey, I like the look of B man's!

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                From what I can read it sounds similar to a burger/teriyaki restaurant in West Covina. The burgers are always infused with the flavor of the teriyaki, flavor which gives it a little extra (although they don't really need it, but it is damn good). You can also get it with avocado. They serve platters of rice and either beef/chicken/fish/shrimp or a combination with lettuce/cucumber and macaroni salad and a whole sliced avocado on the side.

                              2. There's discussion about a certain Five Guy Burgers chain hitting SoCal in the near future: http://www.fiveguys.com/store_locator...

                                it's s'pose to rival In N out, which for me, isn't saying much because the smell of In N Out makes me wanna gag.

                                Mom's Burger in Compton remains the best of the non-restaurant burgers for me. You can't beat a sandwich named "Chronic Burger".

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: TonyC

                                  I've never met a burger I completely hated, yeah some were lacking but I've really enjoyed all the burgers I've ever eaten. I guess I can say, for example Fat Burger--I like it--but it seems like other burgers I've had before. There is only so much variation, and I've had terrific burgers at mom-an-pop style restaurants all over. In N Out is another unique take on the burger and to their credit was one of the first to use thousand island on their burgers(that and freshness--I just saw them slicing the potatoes in front of me this weekend and frying them up right away--which is hard to come by in most fast food restaurants).

                                  1. re: TonyC

                                    Thanks, TonyC. I just checked the Five Guys Web site and am flabbergasted, if that's still a word. They had only two or three locations in the late Nineties when I lived in Washington, DC, and most local eaters felt they were the local best. Now they're all over the place and coming to California. Imagine leaving Los Angeles ten years ago and suddenly noticing that Pie 'N Burger was a nationwide enterprise!

                                    Getting down to business: If they haven't lost their essential groove to ulcers and other corporate demons, Five Guys would be near the top of Mt. Everest in a comparison with In-N-Out -- mentioned by TonyC -- which would then reside below sea-level in a cardboard set of Salton City. The Five Guys burgers were delicious, very juicy, and although slightly thicker than I like, still toothsome. Numerous toppings and outstanding fries were available, and the boys even provided big barrels of in-the-shell peanuts to munch on while you waited. (And you do wait -- everything is made to order.)

                                    I'd rank the 1998 Alexandria, VA, Five Guys hamburger right below -- possibly "equal to," but remember I'm writing from memory here -- the very best Southern California burgers. Maybe I'm just being cynical, but it's hard to believe a company could grow so much and still maintain that kind of quality. However, my mind and mouth are open and eternally hopeful. I can't wait to try the new location in Carson.

                                    Five Guys Famous Burgers
                                    4626 King St, Alexandria, VA 22302

                                    1. re: Mel Gee

                                      Tried Five Guys in Carson. Discussion is over on the Chain board. I realize that not all Five Guys will be exactly the same, but this one can go back East for all I care. The burgers were dried out, and the burger bun was too tiny; I was holding the burger by the patty at one point.

                                      The fries were good, though. It was way more expensive than In N Out, more comparable in price to Fatburger, which I greatly prefer.

                                  2. Last night was my birthday & I wanted a GOOD burger. I discovered "Jacks Classic Burgers" and I was very impressed. It was DELICIOUS!! I finally found someplace out of the "same old" mainstream burgers! DEFINITELY worth a try!! (I got a double bacon cheeseburger)....YUM!! :)
                                    11375 Riverside Dr
                                    North Hollywood, CA 91602
                                    (818) 761-4599
                                    *Check out these reviews!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Tezzz

                                      I need to try this place. Drive by there every so often and see quite a few cars parked there, and have wondered how the food was. If anyone's interested, the Thai place in the same mini mall is worth passing up.

                                    2. When I went to Apple Pan, I thought "this tastes just like In n Out, just more expensive."

                                      1. In N Out doesn't hold a candle to the average ghetto burger joint... I highly recommend the Double Cheeseburger at Dino's in Lincoln Heights

                                        Dino's Burgers
                                        2817 N Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90031

                                        1. We are missing the point. How can one compare the consistancy of a chain burger to the one-off specials offered at all these other spots. In a burger pinch, who wants to travel all over the basin to get a meat and cheese fix? In and Out- consistantly good, not the best, but when you wear that shirt anywhere in the country, including NYC, people smile.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: The Vapors

                                            In & Out is out for me. All bad reviews above are solid, especially the hollow fries. Fatburger on Venice and Sawtelle is much better. Won't go to Father's Office. Went once. Great burger and fries but too much attitude. Just found out about Five Guys Burger's today. Going to Carson next week. Best Burger on Western has a great chili burger. JNJ Burger & BBQ on Adams, just off Washington, and Hinano's in Marina del Rey - both good, soild, burgers. Lucky Devil was OK but wouldn't drive there for a burger. The Counter is highly overrated.

                                            1. re: mopeyboy

                                              Have you been to the new Father's Office LA? Zero attitude, (unless you count helpful and pleasant interactions against their employees?). And the space is phenomenal by comparison to not only the original but most of the other burger and a beer places in LA. And as for the original location on Montana, I really don't think it was "attitude" on the part of their employees so much as the fact that it was so crowded that some people had short tempers at times and some folks forget that it's a bar and not a restaurant.

                                          2. Indulge Cafe (Pico, just west of La Brea), the new incarnation of Mo' Better Meaty Meat Burgers. Tasty burger that's nicely seasoned. Awesome fries. So good, so good. Combo of burger, fries and a soda will set you back about $9, though. I think it's worth it. Better quality burger and fries than you get at In N Out. I also will always love Pie & Burger.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: countdeville

                                              I'm going to have to second "countdeville" on his suggestion of Indulge Cafe. Having read the original post, I'm not sure the "JeetJet" wanted something like these fancy super-duper burgers with the giant price tag. They just wanted a solid burger, possibly with some extra goodness. Going by that criteria, Indulge is good. You get choice of the patty size, lettuce, cheese, bun, etc. The people are super nice and having been there twice (not closely together either) I seem to have become a member of the family. I did like the fries, but they didn't knock me out. Worth a check out if you like a good not super fancy, expensive burger. It's more like a solid fresh serious home made burger (and I mean that in a good way). By the way, I ate recently at the Fatburger on Sawtelle and Venice and I wasn't all that impressed. I prefer Howard's a couple of blocks east on Venice to the Fatburger for my burger dollars. Just my opinion.

                                            2. I am always on the prowl for the perfect cheeseburger but I refuse to pay more than $15 for a cheeseburger meal except for rare occasions and I've usually been disappointed. I've never had really terrible cheeseburgers but only few standouts. In-n-out will do in a pinch. As will Astroburger, Fatburger, and few others. So far, I really like the cheeseburger or burger at Swingers on Beverly and Laurel. Juicy and extremely flavorful patties with good cheese. Ok buns, I like em a little softer. Good fries. Mmm, I'm curious what other people think of their burger.

                                              1. I have been to the new 5 guys in Carson. They are an east coast chain that has just moved out here. In fact, some call them the In and out of teh DC area. Anyway, great burger with loads of items to have put on top. The customizable burger is kinda their thing. Great hand cut fries and heck, malt vinegar as a condiment. They also offer you roasted peanuts to munch on while they make your order. I liked the burger and loved the fries. I suggest checking them out

                                                1. I really like the burger at Jack's Classic, which is just a stand at the corner of Riverside and Tujunga - to me it is a perfect fast-food burger. This is a stand-up-and-eat or sit outside joint much in the way Pie'n Burger is a sit down lunch counter joint. They are opposite sides of the same coin.

                                                  Jack's Classic Hamburgers
                                                  11375 Riverside Dr, North Hollywood, CA 91602

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: bodie

                                                    I tried Jack's Classic. Pretty good burger, though not exceptional: a trifle dry. Order of fries was huge, not sure if it was a mistake or just how they do it there. I need to try the place that opened in the old Chili Judy's spot at Victory and Vineland.

                                                    1. re: Akitist

                                                      I think people are missing the point about In-N-Out. I'm sure there are tens of restaurants with better burgers, but most of us on an ordinary day aren't going to drive an hour to the one location where it exists when you can get a well-made tasty snack in a 5-minute drive down the road. That's what's special about In-N-Out. It's ubiquitous, but the quality is maintained at practically every location.

                                                      1. re: david t.

                                                        Agreed, especially with the price of gas these days, but some of us live or work in the neighborhoods where some of the places mentioned are found. A little feedback on local independents is pretty useful, I would think.

                                                        1. re: david t.

                                                          david t.'s argument would also support McDonald's, etc., and only works in Helsinki and other cities where good hamburgers are hard to come by. I can't think of any place in the Los Angeles area where you have to drive an hour to find a better hamburger than In-N-Out. (I keep a list on my Treo of great little places to try from this and other boards.) On the other hand, when you're roaming far from home and have no idea where to stop for a quick meal, there's nothing wrong with INO, providing you substitute a bag of Frito's from 7-11 for the INO cardboard fries!

                                                          1. re: sbritchky

                                                            In-N-Out is not McDonalds. And considering that LA is 500 square miles, where traffic in LA is beyond unbearable, EVERYTHING takes an hour.

                                                        2. re: Akitist

                                                          Following up on my wish to try the new place (called Edy's, BTW), I picked up a cheeseburger and fries there this afternoon. It was actually quite good. Good sized patty, not dry, onion, shredded lettuce, tomato, some sort of mayo-based sauce, normal cheeseburger cheese. Sesame bun. Forget if it was toasted, think it was. Good amount of normal fries, not fantastic,not lame. $4.99, drink a dollar extra. It's obviously made to order, so there's a modest wait.

                                                          They have a variety of other sandwiches, smoothies, other items beyond burgers.

                                                          Located NW corner of Vineland and Victory, NoHo, in a mini-mini mall between a Popeye's and a Foster's Donuts, next to a truly dire fast "Mexican" place.

                                                      2. Well, speaking of far-flung eating spots, I just had a truly good lunch-counter burger the other day at the Way Station in Newhall! Although I knew I wasn't playing to the diner's strengths, which would appear to be high-cholesterol breakfast items, I decided to give my body a break (relatively speaking) and get a cheeseburger and potato salad instead of the gravy-drenched egg-sausage-and-potato dish that was calling my name. Okay, this appeared to be a very ordinary flat-grilled burger + two slices of cheese-like product, and the potato salad came out of a First Street carton, but you know what? It was really, really good, better than the last P'n'B burger I had (though of course the salad was not of their caliber). Cheaper, too: that and a bottomless iced tea came to around $7. I sincerely hope my client sends me out to Santa Clarita again soon...!

                                                        This is at 4640 Main St. - both Thomas Guide and Google Maps insist that this is really San Fernando Road, but the street signs call it Newhall Avenue and Main St. Anyway, it's roughly two miles west of the 14.

                                                        1. Well, speaking of far-flung eating spots, I just had a truly good lunch-counter burger the other day at the Way Station in Newhall! Although I knew I wasn't playing to the diner's strengths, which would appear to be high-cholesterol breakfast items, I decided to give my body a break (relatively speaking) and get a cheeseburger and potato salad instead of the gravy-drenched egg-sausage-and-potato dish that was calling my name. Okay, this appeared to be a very ordinary flat-grilled burger + two slices of cheese-like product, and the potato salad came out of a First Street carton, but you know what? It was really, really good, better than the last P'n'B burger I had (though of course the salad was not of their caliber). Cheaper, too: that and a bottomless iced tea came to around $7. I sincerely hope my client sends me out to Santa Clarita again soon...!

                                                          This is at 24377 San Fernando Rd, or at least that's what T-Guide and Google Maps claim. The city of Newhall calls it Main Street.