AUSTIN, Tex.—Every time I’d been to California, I’d meant to stop at an In-N-Out Burger, but always managed to forget. There’s one in Austin, however.
My friend would not be joining me for lunch, so I was on my own. I’m going to guess you know the story of In-N-Out’s origins in California, and its now-not-so-secret menu. The hype has grown to such proportions that a new chain called Caliburger, which serves a burger that is very similar to In-N-Out’s, opened its first U.S. location in Seattle. The line went around the block.
The hype says an In-N-Out burger is well nigh the ambrosia of the gods. I was eager to find out for myself.
The Austin store is on Airport Boulevard, and it’s big. The drive-thru line was so long, there was an employee with a tablet walking through the line taking orders.
There’s lots of seating, inside and out. The orders were prepared quickly, and there’s a nice, wide bench close to the pickup area.
I ordered Combo 2, pictured above: Cheeseburger (animal style, of course), with fries and a drink.
How was it, you ask?
Every menu item is made fresh, and the kitchen is open so you can see for yourself. Your burger isn’t made until you order it, and there was a fellow slicing whole potatoes into fries, one after the other. I hope he didn’t have to do that for his whole shift.
The tab came to less than seven dollars, which is competitive with other fast-food burger joints.
The cheeseburger was good. Not great, but good. But most certainly not AWESOME!!! Didn’t live up to the hype, at all. Any cheeseburger will be be better if it hasn’t been sitting under a heat lamp.
As for the fries, they were noticeably undercooked. Not crisp, but not soggy or greasy. Which is how I like my fries.
When I was a kid, adults who didn’t live in Colorado or California went totally apeshit over Coors beer. Mostly because Coors didn’t sell beer outside of those two states. Which was because at the time they lacked the brewing capacity to supply other states. That made people in the non-Coors states want it more than anything. Savvy marketing, that.
In-N-Out has taken a very deliberate approach to growing outside of California. They recently opened a store in Medford, Oregon, but have no immediate plans to expand further up the West Coast. That story that floats around Facebook about a Seattle store is a spoof, folks.