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Dec 13, 2009 02:01 PM


Is there a in-n-out near SFO?

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  1. 11 Rollins Road, Millbrae, CA 94030, 1.2 mile by car.
    SFO to Millbrae by BART, then about .3 miles to In n Out.

    1. theres one in fishermans wharf

      but get a real burger instead

      2 Replies
      1. re: thew

        Maybe this quote will help you understand,
        "the desire of In-N-Out is it's mystique, and the shortage compared to demand."

        1. re: wolfe

          it might have helped me understand had i never tasted the crap.....

      2. To further address the OP's question of "where's In-n-Out near SFO" (NOT "do you think I should eat at In-n-Out?"). the location wolfe mentions really is a short (~5 min.) walk from Millbrae BART - I've done it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Agent 510

          Millbrae is the closest to SFO..thank you Agent510 and wolfe for answering the OP's question correctly!

        2. In n Out burgers are the best in the US. I say this as someone who has spent 54 years combing the nation for good burgers. The ingredients are high quality and very fresh. They make a few items and they make them well. I routinely fly from Seattle to eat at the In N Out burger in Mill Valley, across the bridge from SFO.

          24 Replies
          1. re: tstrum

            Thank you all. I just need a quick bite on the way to SFO. I like their french fries more than their burger. If there's a better burger place close to SFO, I'd gladly try it out.

            1. re: joebloe

              Do you ask them to leave them in the fat a little longer? I would.

              1. re: joebloe

                Inside the International Terminal there's Burger Joint. Neiman beef, cooked to order. Reasonable prices, i.e., not marked up crazy like most airport food. They have a few locations in SF proper.

                I'nO is very good and priced very reasonably for what they are, chain food, but there's better.

                1. re: ML8000

                  I don't know about Burger Joint. Although I agree that the price is reasonable for airport food, that's one of the greasiest burgers I've ever had, and not much flavor either.

                  InO is the best in its class -- that class being made-to-order drive-in burgers from a chain. Come to think of it, it might be alone in its particular class, at least on this coast.

                  1. re: Steve Green

                    A sad sample size of exactly one, but we had a burger at the SFO Burger Joint in November that was neither overly greasy nor tasteless. Far, far better than anything I've ever eaten at an airport though that may be damning it with faint praise :-). I haven't tried In'n'Out so can't say if it was better but it was freshly prepared with very decent accoutrements. And we liked the fries too FWIW.

                    1. re: Steve Green

                      I get burgers at burger joint every 6 months or so, and have for years. The burgers are never tasteless or greasy. Girlfriend hates them, because they taste so strongly of grill char - she's prefer less of that taste - I think the grill char and the beef taste work well together, and I like them quite a lot. They are very moist and drip quite a bit, but with the ones I've had, that's the natural meat juice and fat, not an added grill fat.

                  2. re: joebloe

                    If you are coming from San Francisco via 280, the In N Out in Daly City might be easier. It is right off the freeway at the Eastmore exit.

                  3. re: tstrum

                    In San Francisco, SFO refers to the airport, which OP apparently understood. Mill Valley is a drive of 40 minutes to an hour or more depending on traffic and in no way can be considered to be across the bridge from the airport.

                    1. re: susancinsf

                      He/she probably meant to write Millbrae, not Mill Valley. There is an In and Out in both places. Millbrae is right next to SFO.

                      1. re: Shane Greenwood

                        and the bridge? I suppose it could be referring to the overpass. But, since OP pretty clearly meant the airport, I wanted to clarify for others who might read this, thanks.

                        I agree that the Milbrae In-N-Out would work if it had to be INO. personally, however, I am not a fan (and really dislike the fries), and would probably stick to Burger Joint. If I had the time for more than a quick bite near SFO, Milbrae has lots of other options.

                        Now, close to Oakland airport, OTOH, In-N-Out might be one of the better options (Hegenberger Rd Exit off of 880)

                    2. re: tstrum

                      In-N-Out's burgers are better than, say, McDonald's, since they use somewhat better ingredients, but they don't use the best beef, their vegetables and buns are mediocre supermarket quality, and they don't cook on a charcoal grill. I suppose some people would prefer the relatively flavorless In-N-Out burger to one from Mua in Oakland or Namu in San Francisco.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        C'mon, no one is saying In-N-Out is a gourmet experience, what do you expect for under $2? It is very good for what it is -- a well made, low priced fast food burger. Ditto for the fries. It was the only place that actually drew praise in the book "Fast Food Nation" exactly for its use of fresh ingredients and reasonable quality American beef. The buns are cooked to their specs and the fries are fresh cut, not frozen, which some very pricey spots like Bouchon have admitted they use because fresh are too much work for the price.

                        1. re: MRMoggie

                          "no one is saying In-N-Out is a gourmet experience": I was replying to tstrum, who said, "In n Out burgers are the best in the US" and that he flies here from Seattle to eat them.

                          In-N-Out's fries are not very good. Thomas Keller and many other chefs use high-quality frozen potatoes because the results are better. I just overheard one of the chefs at Mission Street Food talking about that the other night.


                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            RL - we'll have to disagree about the INO fries, we think they're fine. SF Chron did a piece on restaurant fries a couple of years ago and basically the places using frozen didn't want to deal with the changing starch levels during different growing seasons, which made them too much of a hassle to keep fiddling with cooking times, temps, etc. They wanted ease of preparation. If Keller made fries at FL, I'm sure they'd be fresh.

                            INO uses a certain breed of potato from specific growers because of consistent, relatively lower, starch and moisture levels.

                            Another spot with excellent freshly-made fries from fresh potatoes is the original Hitching Post in Casmalia, imho, where they're too hot to touch when they come to the table.

                            1. re: MRMoggie

                              "One of the top reasons Bouchon uses frozen French Fries is consistency. The quality of the frozen fries we use, and that of frozen fries in general today, is very good. We use fries which are 100% potato, which do not contain additives. The consistency in these fries is often better than that of fresh potatoes."

                        2. re: Robert Lauriston

                          I have a lunch buddy from work that loves burgers. No matter where we go, if they have a burger on the menu, then that is what he orders. We've hit a ton of spots over the last few years, including Zuni and some other gourmet spots. His favorite? The double-double at In-N-Out. Go figure...

                          I think it is the American Cheese...

                          1. re: Civil Bear

                            Occasionally on road trips I will partake in fast food and when I do its always In-N-Out.
                            For the following reasons:

                            If you pass on the soft drinks and order a ice tea with real lemon and real sugar you can have a fast food meal with little or no preservatives.

                            I don't think that is possible at the other joints?

                            Plus I believe that In and Out pays a starting wage of over $9/hr and has a policy of not hiring illegal employees.

                            But instead prefers to hire California's youth and teach them proper work ethics.

                            If you order a double burger with fries and plain water its a very, very good price and value.

                            Real cream for the coffee too!

                            1. re: Mission

                              Wow, all the same reasons I like them. Real brewed ice tea with lots of real lemon. A living wage and ridiculously low employee turnover.

                        3. re: tstrum

                          Tstrum, what's better about the burgers at In-n-out compared to those at Nopa and Spruce?

                          1. re: bbulkow

                            A friend was telling us about their Animal Fries and Six-by-Six burgers - is this an urban legend or do they really have them? He said Six-by-Six is six beef patties and six slices of cheese.

                            Tempted to order one just to see it, and photograph it..

                            1. re: taiphun

                              They stopped going beyond 4x4 a few years back. However, before then...well, see for yourself: http://www.badmouth.net/in-n-out-the-...

                              1. re: taiphun

                                They have at least some of their 'secret menu' posted to their website. Don't see 6x6 on that list -- but by all means, order it and report back.

                                I might have to check out the animal fries. Sounds like SoCal Poutine.

                            2. re: tstrum

                              >In n Out burgers are the best in the US.<

                              The best what? The best burger, period? You've got to be kidding. The best fast-food burger? Maybe, but that means the best of a sorry lot.

                              I've tried them a few times because I couldn't believe that they were as bad as I thought since so many people like them. But I stopped trying. To me they're just another wafer-thin cooked-to-death fast-food burger. Freshly cooked, but so what.

                            3. Thomas Keller prefers his In-N-Out fries well done.

                              Go to 2nd slide for quote from Keller.

                              And apparently, Daniel Boulud is a big fan as well.

                              22 Replies
                              1. re: KathyM

                                Do they actually fry the fries crisp and brown if you order them "well done"? That would certainly be an improvement.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Yes. If you go at a slow time, there will be cooked fries under the heat lamp. These will be scooped up and put back in the fryer. But if not, raw fries will be fried longer for your order. The result is much better in the first instance.

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    Yeah, that first option would be a sort of half-assed approximation of the correct technique, which is to fry at 325-340, cool for a few minutes (or longer), and fry again at 365-390. With some rendered suet added to the peanut oil.

                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                      Actually have seen them throw out fries that sat longer that a couple of minutes. While standing waiting for our order, I started getting concerned because a couple of orders of fries had been sitting ready to go and more were waiting to be scopped up and put into the paper trays (though only a couple of minutes out of the fryer). Before any more meal orders were served someone had come over, checked all of the fries and tossed the lot in the trash.

                                      INO has lways been very good about replacing/refunding if anything isn't the way you like it, no questions asked. If you like crisp fries, just ask for them.

                                      As for the comment from Bouchon about the fries, the operable word regarding the preference for frozen is "consistency" not quality. The best french fries, wherever you find them, will always be made from fresh potatoes.

                                      1. re: MRMoggie

                                        Fries prepared by either method I described will be crisp. But just leaving them in the fryer longer, rather than double-frying, dries out the center and they'll be hard as they cool down.

                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                          Not sure I know of any casual burger stop that takes the time and effort to do the double frying, in fact doubt many places make that much of an effort on their fries, alas.

                                          Cook's had one of their usual long, detailed articles on french fries a while back and recall one other one somewhat recently going through the chemistry etc of various techniques. The classic double frying is connsistently the best, though I recall some difference of opinion regarding the temperatures of the two cookings. Some said to use the same temp, others recommending a hotter second trip through the oil. Also some insist on salting immediately after cooking/draining and others suggest it's no big deal, salt them at the table.

                                          First recall reading about the "traditional" double cooking technique eons ago in the classic book on French cooking, "Gourmet's Basics of French Cooking" by the late Louis Diat, chef of the Ritz Carlton in Paris and New York. Still the bible on French cooking in our house, of course with Julia.

                                          1. re: MRMoggie

                                            The first method I described in my post above to answer RL's question is essentially a type of double-frying, as he points out. Sometimes it happens and sometimes not when you order "well-done". Depends on whether there are any fries under the heat lamp.

                                          2. re: Melanie Wong

                                            I always ask for In N Out fries well done, and yes, the center dries out and they're hard as they cool down. They're definitely better than In N Out's regular fries, but still not great. And I generally enjoy In N Out for what it is, but I'm not a fan of the fries, regular or well done.

                                            1. re: JasmineG

                                              agreed. found myself at In N Out recently for the first time in forever, and asked for the well done fries...hubby had the regular. We agreed well done was marginally better, but both type taste chalky to me for some reason.

                                          3. re: MRMoggie

                                            "The best french fries, wherever you find them, will always be made from fresh potatoes."

                                            There's no technical reason that should be the case. You can't make good french fries with the freshest potatoes as they're too wet. For the best fries, you need a specific moisture content, which means they have to have been stored for some months.

                                            It's possible that when the potatoes have the exact right moisture content to make the best fries, they're better if you fry them immediately, but I'm not sure that freezing has a noticeable effect.

                                            In-N-Out's fries would be better if instead of spending time prepping potatoes fresh they used first-rate frozen potatoes and used the double-fry method, but that would not have the marketing advantage provided by cutting up whole potatoes on site has among people who imagine that fresher is always better.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              >>people who imagine that fresher is always better<<

                                              What about people who've learned to distrust frozen, packaged foods where you have no idea what the ingredients are? (c.f. Michael Pollan.) Seeing is believing, and seeing freshly cut spuds going into the fryer makes me much more comfortable with their fries.

                                              1. re: BernalKC

                                                A fresh potato might be worse than frozen fries depending on how it was grown and stored.

                                                Unless I buy it myself from a farmer, I don't know where a fresh potato came from, so it comes down to a matter of trust.

                                                I trust In-N-Out not to sell the processed crap most fast-food places do.

                                                I trust Thomas Keller to do significantly better than that.

                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                  I don't disagree with you. I just think that from In-n-out's perspective the use of fresh potatoes makes them qualitatively different, and immediately more trustworthy than their fast food competitors. If they chose to use a frozen product, for all the valid reasons you mention, they would have to work harder to educate their customers about their reasons for doing so.

                                                  Then again, I don't love their fries. (Gotta try the special order version!) And if they were made from a clean, fresh frozen product and tasted significantly better... I'd be happy, but I suspect they would lose some marketing and brand advantage that they have worked hard to earn.

                                            2. re: MRMoggie

                                              Especially when In-n-out is busy, which is quite often at the Millbrae location, the fries have a barely yellow color and are inedible after it cools down.

                                              I've never considered asking them to double-fry them or asking for them "well done". I'll try this my next trip.

                                              1. re: Cary

                                                One problem with using frozen frys is that In-n-Out claims they have no freezers at their stores. See the second to last paragraph of this URL:


                                                1. re: skwid

                                                  "In fact, we don’t even own a microwave, heat lamp, or freezer" is hard to reconcile with "we also make our delicious shakes from real ice cream."

                                          4. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            Ditto what Melanie said. I find their fries inedible unless cooked well done.

                                            1. re: Civil Bear

                                              Can you specifically ask for double fry VS Well done?

                                              I did not fancy the well done at In-n-Out.

                                              The best fries I ever had were at Wood Tavern...While they were hot they were a 10.

                                              However, when they cooled down they tasted quite normal.

                                              Does anyone know if they are fresh or frozen?

                                              1. re: Mission

                                                funny that this discussion should catch my eye today....even though I now live about three blocks from IN N Out, I haven't eaten there since the day I moved into this house and needed food quick and late at night...but son is home for the holidays, and he likes In N Out, so on our way to shop at Whole Foods we stopped there for lunch (what is wrong with this picture?) Anyway, I deliberately don't order their fries, as I find them undercooked as well. I did notice them put some under the heat lamp and then refry them, as someone mentioned.

                                                What I DO like about In N Out is that their veggies on the burger (the lettuce and tomato) ARE fresh and don't taste like plastic. And they DO have good strawberry milkshakes....

                                                1. re: janetofreno

                                                  the best fries are fried in animal fat, or some type of animal product. i will always eat an in and out burger instead of mcdonalds, but i will always prefer mcdonalds fries until in and out gets away from vegetable oil.

                                                  1. re: vulber

                                                    McD hasn't cooked their fries in tallow for many years. According to their site, they use canola oil, with beef flavoring and lots of other stuff. Here's the ingredient list:

                                                    "French Fries:
                                                    Potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*, citric acid [preservative]), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain color), salt. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.
                                                    CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK *(Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients)."

                                                    InO's site, on the other hand, just says this:
                                                    "......Then we cut them right in the store, one potato at a time. And cook them in 100% pure, cholesterol-free vegetable oil".

                                                    So I guess it all depends on what "100% pure" means, since there's no specific ingredient list.

                                                    I'll take InO, fries well done, any day. YMMV.

                                                    1. re: Steve Green

                                                      I love In-N-Out friess, some of the best that I have had. I think the issue for some people might be the comment that "they are good hot but not when they cool" which I think is absolutely true of any good deep fried food like doughnuts, you must eat them immediately after they are out of the deep fryer. So I eat all of the fries first and then eat the burger.