In-N-Out Burger: 32060 Union Landing Boulevard in Union City
Cost: $2.75 (double-double "animal style" - toasted bun grilled with mustard, grilled onions, pickles and extra special sauce; fries extra)
Image Source: http://www.in-n-out.com
Believe the hype, In-N-Out Burger is popular for a reason: taste and price are two important factors. It's reached cult-like status all over California, these institutions are always packed to the max. Though a staple of any successful strip-mall in suburbia, its reputation seems to be based on using fresh ingredients, a secret special sauce, efficient-friendly service and perfectly toasted buns. Okay, so I'm probably going to contradict myself in this blog describing In-N-Out, but... they're probably the best toasted buns in the business. The patties, though fresh are the thin kind, and probably aren't the best quality or best taste. But In-N-Out makes up for it in the "filler" - everything else about the burger is top-notch.
I ate my double-double animal style burger with fries in the restaurant. As I walked back to my car something compelled me to order two more double-doubles for the ride home, so I raced through the drive-through on my way out of the mall. It's gotta be that special sauce...
Verdict: As a fast-food alternative, In-N-Out is a great choice. It's tasty and filling. Unfortunately, the "filler" that I mentioned above comprises most of the taste. As far as thin patty burgers go, it's a pretty good; but it's not comparable to the big leaguers.
So I ponder, are all In-N-Out customers real burger enthusiasts like myself? In-N-Out is packed not unlike most other fast-food institutions in busy strip malls in suburbia. I think most of their customers would appreciate a good burger / even better burger if presented the option. However, it's an unfortunate sign of the times when communities are literally monopolized by mega-corporate conglomerates and smaller burger joints are forced to compete in the competitive market-place. In this case, price outweighs taste and quality.