So apparently there’s this burger chain from California called In-N-Out that’s kind of a big deal. We humble rednecks here in the Dallas area have been blessed with several new In-N-Outs this summer to some great commotion. People waited four hours in a drive-through line over three quarters of a mile long to get their taste of California cool.
The only way I’m waiting four hours for a hamburger is if it comes with a hand wax for my car and a happy ending for me. A couple of people said I’d sing a different tune once I ate there. “Best burger I’ve ever had,” they said. I do like a good burger. Consider myself a bit of a burger connoisseur, in fact. I figured on trying it eventually, once the crowd and hype died down.
I took an early lunch from work to swing by Sears in the Stonebriar mall to buy a new mattress set. The mattress I’ve been sleeping on is the same one I was conceived, born, and educated on. Through college and the forty pounds I’ve padded on since. I’m not saying it was like sleeping on a bed of nails, but the springs jabbing you feel pretty much like a bed of nails.
Anyway, thanks to a little Internet pre-shopping I got out of Sears around 11:15 a.m. Since it’s right there I decided to give the In-N-Out on the other side of Preston a look-see and check the wait. There are still local Frisco smokies on bicycles enforcing a cone lane to funnel cars into the drive-through, but I got around front and there were only seven or eight cars in front of me. There were burger chicks in headsets taking and calling in orders remotely. The parking lot and outdoor seating area were pretty packed.
There were twenty cars behind me by the time I got my food. Whatever it is about the place it’s still packing them in. Everybody recommends “animal style” so I got one of those and a regular however-you-usually-do-it cheeseburger plus a large fries. Seemed like a fair enough way to evaluate their fare.
Right off the bat I gotta say growing up in Texas I’m a bit predisposed as to how big a burger should be. The In-N-Out burgers sure seemed little in my hands. Maybe I should have gotten doubles. Other than size they were obviously made with fresh ingredients, including the bun. That’s another thing In-N-Out fanatics always ballyhoo. It would never be confused with McDonalds/Wendy’s/Jack in the Box/Burger King grade fast food.
Which puts them in the same league as Burger Island, Burger House, Country Burger, JC’s, and Scotty P’s and maybe a couple of others you’d pass by on the way to In-N-Out. If you were determined to go to In-N-Out, that is. I wouldn’t pass any of them by for In-N-Out. All else being equal I’ll take a four, six, or eight ounce patty over the wee little thing at In-N-Out any day. Secret menu, you say? Any decent burger joint will cook you up whatever you want.
Color me unimpressed. There’s a Freddie’s Frozen Custard a couple of hundred yards away I’d hit before In-N-Out. Their “California Style” burger is dressed the same as the run-of-the-mill In-N-Out burger but they brown the hell out of the patty on the bottom. Hell, I’m going to go there next week in solidarity against In-N-Out.
The usual California chain vs. Texas chain comparison you hear is In-N-Out vs. Whataburger. I’m not a real big fan of Whataburger either. Frankly, the comparison should be In-N-Out vs. Dairy Queen anyway. And I’d take Dairy Queen in that match up every time. No contest. That’s burger to burger too, not counting the freaking Snickers Blizzard I’m taking to go after I eat.
The fries were pretty tasty, though. They come unsalted, plain which is unusual. Very good potato flavor. Would have been smashing with some Burger House seasoning salt.
In-N-Out is the Barack Obama of hamburgers. Puny, over-hyped, from a union-led blue state that’s fiscally boned, and laughably inadequate once you take time to research it and its alternatives. Anyone who waits even half an hour at one is a sucker. Maybe it’s just all the people who’ve fled California for the greener pastures of Texas seeking comfort food. I won’t go out of my way to do it again.