100 Austin Burgers: In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger
4515 Airport Blvd., Austin (map), 512-786-1000, www.in-n-out.com
Hours: 10:30am-1am Sun-Thu; 10:30am-1:30am Fri-Sat
More locations: 3701 S. Lamar Blvd. (map); 4251 Interstate 35 N., Round Rock (map); 901 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park (map)
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 04.04.16
The initial frenzy that greeted this West Coast interloper has crested, but there are still 12 cars in the drive-through and a line 10 deep at the register at 2:30 on a weekday at the In-N-Out Burger on Airport. There are moments when this unapologetically sloppy burger is as good as anything in its class. Those wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am moments, driven by desire, leaving behind a secret smile or a wince of regret.
 Double Double, Animal Style: Ordering like a pro at In-N-Out means tapping into the Secret Menu. Double Double’s the standard: Two thin patties and two slices of American cheese with good pickles, iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. Animal Style’s the secret: Those patties are cooked with a sheen of mustard and a caramelized confetti of onions for a one-two jolt of twang and sweetness, slopped with extra Thousand Island-style sauce. The soft toasted bun can only hang on for dear life, kept in check Shatner-style with a tight half-wrap of paper. It’s a level above the megachains, a step below local favorites like P. Terry’s, but it’s a one-lunch stand I don’t regret. ($3.80)
 On the side: On the other hand, In-N-Out’s french fries seem like they came from a different restaurant. A much worse restaurant. They’re stiff, dry and taste like hollow promises. And they taste like that in spite of being cut fresh just a few feet from the counter from real, whole potatoes with some skin in the game. ($1.70)
 Shake it up: I’ve tasted the rainbow — vanilla, chocolate and strawberry — and I’ve yet to find an In-N-Out shake that doesn’t drink like marshmallow cream, all straw-bending fluff and sugar without the brain-freeze thrill of ice cream. ($2.30)
100 Austin Burgers
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)