Our first experience with In-N-Out Burger was not in Palm Springs but near the Ontario Airport exit as we were coming home to Palm Springs. We saw an impressive number of cars lined up under the iconic yellow arrow, and we were enticed to join them. We soon gave our order at the call in box and inched our way up to the take out window. “Would you like lap mats with your order?” she asked. “What? A lap mat? What is that?” She answered, “When you eat in your car, it covers your lap!” We giggled. Then she handed out our order including two burgers, a double-double (double meat and double fries) and three shakes. Yumm! Not just another burger joint! The menu is simple – just burgers, drinks, and fries. But later we found out that there was more to their menu than what we saw posted on the menu board. It’s a bit of an urban myth. But more on that in a moment.
In-N-Out is a family owned business, founded in 1848. The first In-N-Out Burger opened in Baldwin Park, California with the idea to offer freshly made burgers and fries at a drive-through hamburger stand where customers could call in their order through a two-way speaker box — a COMPLETELY new idea at the time. Now with over 100 stores in California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, they are still family owned, with no franchises. Why are In-N-Out burgers so good? Well, they have total quality control over all their ingredients. Everything is still made fresh to order in their Baldwin Park facility, nothing has been frozen. They buy their own meat and butcher it themselves. There are no additives, fillers, or preservatives in the meat; it’s fresh, 100% pure beef, fries are handcut from fresh potatoes. There are no microwaves, heat lamps or freezers in their shops. And the shakes are made from real ice cream. They say, “Since we only serve burgers, fries and drinks, making a high quality hamburger patty is everything to us.”
Now as to that urban myth – the “not so secret menu.” The menu board already lists the “double-double,” BUT you can also order a “triple-triple”, or even a “4 x 4.” Also, if you are on a no-carb diet, just order the “protein burger” and they’ll wrap your burger and fixings in a lettuce leaf. And here’s the one the guys love – the “Animal Style”! It’s got lettuce, tomato, pickles, extra spread, and grilled onions instead of fresh sliced onions. Don’t eat meat? Order the grilled cheese (two melted slices) with fixings on a bun.
To see their great tee shirts (there’s a new design every year, available the week after Thanksgiving), go to www.innoutburger.com. Oh, and one last thing, if you are traveling on an interstate within their range, you can call In-N-Out at 1-800-786-1000, tell them approximately where you are and they will tell you where their next store on your route is coming up! The In-N-Out Burger in the Palm Springs area is in Thousand Palms; from S Palm Canyon, just go out Ramon Road to the I-10, cross over to where Ramon intersects with Varner Road, look for the yellow arrow on a red background and there it is! Just one more reason to live in Southern California and especially here in our beautiful oasis that is Palm Springs.