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In N Out Overrated?

I understand that it's probably blasphemous to even dare pose the question regarding the "legendary" In-N-Out Burger, but am I the only one that thinks that they are overrated. I like their fries (better than their burgers) and clearly, the burgers are better than McD's, Burger King, and most, if not all, other chains, but IMHO it is not a great burger. I found on my most recent trip to CA, having eaten at In-N-Out twice, that the burgers were too small and flat to be anything but dry and fairly tasteless. I don't mean to be a contrarian but no one ever seems to criticize In-N-Out and for people who have never been, all they probably hear about is the "legendary" status, which seems to elevate In-N-Out to something akin to an "out of body" experience. What don't I get?

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  1. I recently had a burger from their after not having one in over a year, and it was still a great burger. My problem is I've had some amazing burgers from non-chain places in L.A. like Father's Office and The Apple Pan, so I'm spoiled. I go to In-n-Out now knowing that my burger will be good and certainly better then normal fast food or one I can do. When I want an above average burger that's inexpensive and easy to attain from their many locations I go to In-n-Out. When I want a knock my socks off burger I make a trek to one of the mom & pop places or other old school joints littered across L.A.

    It's interesting that you like the fries more then the burger. Usually it's the other way around. I'm not a huge fan of their fries, but I'll agree with you that their burgers are better then a run of the mill McDonald's and certainly BK. I think it comes down to quality, and that's where In-n-Out has the competition licked.

    Their overrated in the sense that their is better out their at least in my area, but most people either don't care to seek those out or don't realize there is better to be had.

    1. They're not overrated in their category: they're easily the best fast food burger I've eaten. I've eaten better burgers but not from a fast food restaurant. The produce is wonderfully fresh and flavorful, the buns fresh and nicely toasted around the edge and the beef also fresh and with better flavor than other fast food.

      I tend not to agree with those who claim it's the best burger anywhere, period; just that it's the best fast food burger.

      4 Replies
        1. re: ccbweb

          There was this debate on the Outer Boroughs board about a new Five Guys opening up, and how some people hated the burgers, comparing it to some of the best burgers in NYC. In n Out is the same thing -- it's a good burger for this type of genre -- nothing more.

          1. re: ccbweb

            Indeed...in the category of $1.50 to $2.50 chain burgers, not going to find much better. Compared to a made-to-order $8 buck burgers it will look weak but then it should.

            p.s. it's also how you order

            1. re: ccbweb

              Agree, too. I'm not a fan of lots o' stuff on my burger, so I always have to request they leave a lot of it off which makes for a somewhat small burger, but I think it tastes pretty good and isn't so greasy. Not crazy about the fries at all. Taste like rehydrated shoe string potatoes.

            2. In n Out is good value for the money, I agree that the meat patties are small/thin you really have to get a double/double for lt to all ballance out

              1. It is what it is. A dependable fast food option when traveling and a solid choice for a quick lunch. I always enjoy my visits as I do not have one where I live. Never have been able to figure out the complaints about the fries as I find them to be quite tasty. Simply a deep fried fresh potato that has not been frozen or processed. Everyone has different tastes which accounts for the vast variety one finds in fast food chains. To me, the consistency has always impressed me from location to location.

                1. As a short addendum, I did enjoy the fries more years ago when they used to dump the basket, fresh from the fryer, onto a towel and roll them back and forth a few times to remove the excess oil. They no longer seem to do that.

                  1. I think a lot of it has to do with the mystique of the inaccessible. Think about what a buzz was around, say, Coors in the 1970s, or Krispy Kremes in the 1990s: they were regional and therefore exotic to those who weren't in that region. But when they became more widely accessible, the mystique was gone. In N Out is, no question, a fine fast-food hamburger, but if they ever expanded outside of their home base, I think they would probably be spoken of in less hushed tones.