In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger

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    My first experience at In-N-Out—the one closest to Los Angeles International Airport—left me feeling at times like a sardine, like a bull winding his way through a slaughterhouse and like a deaf-mute trying to define particle physics with hand gestures alone. So why would I write a favorable review? Because no one—bar none—makes a better burger than In-N-Out.



    When we drove into the lot, it took us 15 minutes of creeping along at 0.25 MPH looking for a vacant space, and waiting patiently while those in front of us waited almost as patiently for people leaving to vacate a space. Luckily for us, I have a handicapped placard and one of only two handicapped spaces just happened to be unoccupied, even by a Mercedes or BMW lacking a placard. (Ever get the urge to smash a luxury car?  It happens to me all the time.) It took an additional five minutes just to get into the restaurant. There had to be over 150 people in there, with room to seat maybe a third of them and the rest gathered in a tight knot around the cashiers’ station, waiting for their orders. Ordering went very quickly, but then we had to wait in the throng for over half an hour for our food. The reason I have a handicapped placard is because of a chronic back injury that pains me when I stand for too long. I can’t blame the patrons at the few tables for not vacating a seat for me and my wife; eating a sloppy burger one-handed while standing is no easy thing. And actually, the others waiting for their food did not push or shove and went out of their way to keep from invading the “personal space” of those around them. It was a very considerate if thick crowd.

    Needless to say, we didn’t bother waiting for a table inside, or outside, as those were all occupied as well and the deafening roar of airplanes landing at LAX (and they pass nearly directly over the restaurant) discouraged loitering. So we drove to a park and had ourselves a little picnic.


    I am an avid fan of the original Tommy’s at Beverly and Rampart, and I have always found Carl’s Junior’s Super Star a superb burger. Furthermore, I’m more than a mere fan of the guacamole burger at Hamburger Hamlet and don’t find a good old Fat Burger anything less than delicious. But, somehow, In-N-Out has figured out how to make a burger that blows them all away. I don’t know if it’s the sauce, or if they use some kind of exotic gas for the flame broiling that induces euphoria; for all I know they infuse their beef with LSD. Whatever it is that they do, keep on doing it, because this is the best burger in town, and worth going through our harrowing experience to possess.



    I believe that part of In-N-Out’s success stems from their menu, which contains only five items: Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Double-Double, Fries and Drinks. Everyone knows about the not-so-secret menu, but this simplicity of the in-house menu makes for fast-moving lines, and when you limit yourself to only a few items it isn’t hard to get them all right.

    This particular fast food eatery is not easy to find in unfamiliar territory, and not nearly as common as virtually every other burger joint (with the exception of Tommy’s). Visit the website for locations near you and bring something to read, because you’ll probably be there for a while.

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