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My first In-N-Out Burger experience - questions

So, I made my first stop at In-N-Out Burger today and I'm confused. The menu was very limited -- burger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, fries and shakes. That's it. But I saw some people with items that were not on the menu -- chili cheese fries.

Are there other items that are only available if you are in the know? Specifically, I had a hankering for onion rings.

Also, it seemed like there was some lingo that regulars were using. Any insight?

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  1. look up their 'secret' menu

    1. Those were probably Animal fries

      1 Reply
      1. Husky, this is a great piece of writing, I almost split my sides, keep up the good work

        1. Ah, lets not forget "cycle", where the individual downs a cheese burger, a double-double, a 3x3, and 4x4. If he succeeds, then his friends pay!

          1. Eat the fries immediately, they go from rewarding and potatoey to meh in a very short period of time. I think the fries are very good right out of the oil, but even 5 minutes later they are diminished (so you won't like them that much if you go drive-thru and then eat 20 minutes later).

            1. Some of the lingo is "animal style" which has mustard grilled in or "protein style" where the bun is replaced by a lettuce wrap. Onions are optional on the burgers -- sliced thin and raw or "grilled" chopped and blackened into the cheese. You can specify the number of burger patties and cheese slices -- a "double-double" the best sandwich there has two patties and two slices of cheese -- while a "single-double" would be one beef patties with two slices of cheese. In my experience, In-N-Out does not offer chili, or dogs, or chicken sandwiches, or garden-burgers. They will serve an offshoot of a grilled cheese by omitting the burgers, but it isn't flattened or grilled.

              It is a superlative fast-food burger place. The freshness, attention to detail, hot off the grill, toasted buns, thick slices of cheese -- all great. Fries, not so much, though I always order mine well or crispy. Superlative service -- the employees are motivated, accurate, and genuinely proud of their product.

              4 Replies
              1. re: nosh

                >It is a superlative fast-food burger place. <

                I completely disagree. To me, it's a cult-hyped place that serves cooked-to-brown wafer-thin burgers of no redeeming quality. I've tried several times and always come away with the same opinion so I just don't go any more.

                1. re: Mick Ruthven

                  I'm with you Mick Ruthven, but all of my friends LOVE In-n-Out. I just don't get it. In fact, I very much prefer Wendy's to In-n-Out.

                  1. re: Mick Ruthven

                    Nah, it is a perfect "drive-in" midewestern styled burger you get in a paper wrapper. Perfectly toasted bun and cool lettuce and tomato, plus special sauce. It is perfect for what it is. It isn't anything that it isn't. "Burger" means about 30 different things, and this is one kind of many. Maybe it doesn't get hot enough around here. But an icy coke, fries right out of the oil and a hamburger or two from In and Out just says summer to me. I didn't grow up with them, but I grew up with random walk up and order at the window, mom and pop style places- you know where you can get 20 flavors of shake and a random assortment of stuff deep fried. Like Dairy Belle around here. In and Out is the stripped down, just burgers version of that. And for 5 bucks, what else are you going to get?

                    1. re: P. Punko

                      Agreed. InO is what it is...a very good cheap burger. By no means the best but for the price and reasonable expectations, it's great.

                      For me, you have to order at least a double to taste beef because the patties are thin, but what do you expect? I just went a few days ago and for $2.99 (double, double) it was everything it was suppose to be. Also, I told them I wanted my burger pink/med rare and I got that...it just added on 5 mins. Fries extra crispy also adds on 5 mins.

                      Fast food it is not.

                2. the secret menu, as others have suggested, are just various permutations of the
                  for which is short menu is a "basis". they dont have different ingredients on the
                  "secret munu".

                  i was at the tracy in-n-out ... first in northern calif? ... not long after they opened
                  and as we were eeating our double-doubles, three people in a row came up to
                  order, looked over the menu, and asked "do you have anything with bacon?"
                  i think somebody may have also asked about onion rings.

                  no bacon. no onion rings. no McRib.

                  1. once you've learned the "secret" menu the cool thing is that they half deny it even exists.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: hill food

                      They have a link on their website to a subset of the "secret" menu.
                      http://www.in-n-out.com/secretmenu.asp

                      You can also ask for fries light-well which is a happy median between regular and well done.

                      1. re: oarnura

                        ah, but there's more than they officially admit.

                        I'd guess they're trying to give the employees a break and not have to deal with the more obscure options if not necessary.

                        it's not the fastest fast food in the first place (worthwhile? yes. fast? no)

                        1. re: hill food

                          Oh, most definitely it's not fast. SoCal folks are used to the long delays at the In-N-Wait.

                    2. Everything is fresh, nothing is frozen. Hence, limited menu.

                      Everything 'secret' is just a variation of that menu and the toppings available.

                      The 'unmentioned' toppings are mustard, pickles and yellow peppers.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Cathy

                        And if it makes anyone feel better, In-n-Out is privately held and well known for good treatment of its employees. Higher starting salaries, managers who make more than $100K and good benefits. Some of the profits also go to a foundation that funds nonprofits in their region (mostly west coast).