In-n-Out Diaries

I thought they liked their meat. They must all hate freedom or something.

During a few days in Las Vegas, part of a US West Coast road trip last year, Irish Paul who had never been to the States before suggested that he’d like to see the Grand Canyon. We Gmapped it and realised it was quite a ways, but fuck it, we could do it in a day. We’d been driving about that distance between stops anyway, so we’d get up early and take the trip. Why not?

What we had not bet on were the Vegassian antics we’d have that night (about the only thing we didn’t bet on), which put the right kibosh on being up with the desert sparrows. Eventually we staggered to the car about 11am. We’d had no breakfast, so we thought In-N-Out would be a great mid-journey stop on our epic quest to see a hole in the earth. Incomprehensively, the trip had been devoid of In-N-Out thus far (I think I was saving it up as some momentous fast-food epiphany for my compadre) so were both well up for it. Enormo-Coffees safely in cup holders, we embarked.

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45 minutes later, both of us were wishing we’d stopped at the one we’d passed in Henderson earlier into the drive, we were fucking starving. But a deal’s a deal. And there were some Goldfish in the glovebox, score!

After two hours or so we arrived at Kingman, Arizona, peeled ourselves out of the car and into the restaurant. The familiarity of the surroundings, the smell, and the menu instantly made me feel like I’d never been away. As always, there was a queue so we joined the back. My buddy kept prompting me to offer suggestions about what he should order, but I insisted that his first experience should be pure, and no way was I listing the whole secret menu at him, I was hungover.

With this In-N-Out being on Route 66, it probably gets a large amount of transient custom. Or at least I presumed it did, as every person in line seemed to be a noob and was asking what came in the burgers, and what ‘Spread’ was (I heard the girl at the counter say ‘it’s a bit like Thousand Island dressing’ at least six times). This was a lot of people’s first experience of In-N-Out, the lucky bastards.

I ordered a Double Double Animal Style with chopped chilis cooked medium. Sadly, I was told that State law in Arizona meant that they could only cook the patties well done. Let’s blame the Republicans. I thought they liked their meat. They must all hate freedom or something.

The quality and standard of what In-N-Out do state-to-state is impeccable. Clearly part of their slow-but-steady expansion plan is attention to detail and the training of their staff, because my burger looked uncannily like every one I’d had before, neatly wrapped in its little paper blanket.

And the taste was of equal similarity and quality, with the cheesy, oniony, Spread-heavy mesh being every bit as awesome as in previous encounters. Distributed well over the burger, the chopped chilis added a fresh, bare and raw heat to every bite, and paired with the creamy Spread the combination worked a treat.

About an hour before sunset, we finally got to the Grand Canyon where, with us dressed thoroughly inappropriately in shorts and t-shirt, it relentlessly pissed it down. When the rain finally stopped, we ran out and got some cracking sunset snaps. Then got back into the car and did the whole fucking 4+ hour journey again. But was it worth it? Of course it was. Have you seen it, that hole is bloody MASSIVE.

N.B. NEVER attempt Vegas to the Canyon and back in a day unless you:

  1. Get up ridiculously early
  2. Are optimistic mentals like us
  3. Stop for In-N-Out in Arizona.
  4. And Henderson.
  5. Take a helicopter tour.

Irish Paul at the Grand Canyon

  • Rob.

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In-n-Out Diaries part 1 - On first visits and franchises