The Burger You Just Can’t Say No To


[Editor’s Note:  Welcome to our new series, “First Person with a Fork,” featuring essays about the culinary experiences that leave our mouths watering! The inaugural entry comes from our friend and 5-Star Reviewer, Darryl Gordon, creator of San Diego Foodie Fan.]

I’m exploring the world one dish at a time, and I’ve been sampling some of the finest local food in beautiful San Diego for nearly 28 years. But there is one cuisine that nearly defines our state, and you may recognize it. It’s the SoCal burger chain that has a cult following: In-N-Out Burger.

The first In-N-Out dates back to 1948 in Baldwin Park, California, and the principles are still the same:  quality ingredients, prepare each order fresh, and employ staff who make each customer’s experience special. The secret is in their simplicity.

In-N-Out does one thing and does it right – a delicious burger. You’re not going to find chicken, fish or vegetarian options. Their never-frozen beef patty stands center stage. Other than fries, shakes and drinks, there is absolutely nothing else on the menu. This allows them to focus on making the perfect burger, every time. You won’t find pre-cooked burgers, frozen patties, or pre-cut fries at In-N-Out.

But here is the kicker that out-of-staters may not know. It is the Secret Menu that has countless raving fans obsessed. Although the menu board lists a hamburger, cheeseburger and double-double, there are countless ways to customize. The most popular order is a double-double “animal style,” which adds fried mustard, grilled onions, pickles, and extra Thousand Island spread to two beef patties and two slices of American cheese in a bun. You can even level up your fries so that they are animal style.

The availability of secret menu items adds an element of excitement and customization for customers looking to elevate their In-N-Out experience, especially if they are regulars.

Looking for another secret at In-N-Out?  At most In-N-Out locations, you’ll see two palm trees with crisscrossing trunks that form the shape of an “X”.  That started in 1972 when the owner wanted to make In-N-Out visually identifiable from other restaurants.

Sadly, there is one piece of bad news. In-N-Out no longer offers the 8×8 (yes, 8 patties and 8 slices of cheese between a bun). But trust someone who knows: the 4×4 is still a top choice for serious burger lovers.


Darryl Gordon

People consume food, however, I think that food consumes me - through cooking, dining out, travel and entertainment. For 25 years, I have covered the food industry: dining out at restaurants, cooking, interviewing chefs, and finding quality items to use as ingredients when cooking for my family and friends.



Leave a Comment