Restaurant Review: In-N-Out Burger – Is This America’s Best Hamburger?

By Paul Riegler on 19 July 2016
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Founded in the Los Angeles area in 1948, the hamburger chain In-N-Out Burger is not your ordinary burger joint. Indeed, most fast food restaurants can only aspire to its cult-like status and few boast of a list of fans that includes renowned chefs such as Julia Child, Anthony Bourdain, Thomas Keller, and Gordon Ramsay.

The restaurant has achieved its success by keeping the menu simple, paying its employees well, providing friendly service, and offering a “sparkling clean” environment, as the company’s website puts it.

While their external appearance varies from location to location, the brightly-lit interiors follow a theme, red and white tile, and a feeling that one has gone back in time, namely to the 1950s, when someone who looks like a carhop (down to the paper hat) greets the customer and takes the order. Add in some generic booths and tables and the effect is compelling.


We sampled multiple In-N-Out Burger restaurants in California to ascertain whether the restaurant does lives up to its hype.

On one recent visit, there was only one person ahead of me in line inside the establishment, while the drive-through was bustling. As a result, service was somewhat slow but unfailingly polite. I busied myself by pouring my Dr. Pepper, admired the framed posters of In-N-Out restaurants from days gone by and, after about an eight-minute wait, my order was presented on a red plastic tray.

The first thing a customer is confronted with is the menu. Unlike other fast food restaurants, whose menus have expanded to include everything from chicken nuggets to fried fish to salads to pancakes, In-N-Out only offers burgers – and cheeseburgers. Add to that the usual French fries, shakes, and fountain drinks and that’s it. There is a “secret” menu but it’s not exactly a state secret as it’s published on the company’s website and is merely an expansion of what’s on the actual menu.

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