How To Avoid The Lines At In-N-Out Burger in Dallas

In-N-Out Burger, Pinole, California

I got sick of the long lines at the Frisco’s In-N-Out Burger location. It has become the only fast food place where I lose weight because of the time I spent queuing. I decided it would be quicker to fly to California, the ancestral home of In-N-Out, and eat at one in the land where residents consider it another fast food chain, not a place to worship an animal-style burger like a bunch of dazed zombies.

This is my new branch of In-N-Out. It is at the Pinole exit of I-80 (ICBM coordinates: 37.9894758, -122.3098301). For my In-N-Out induction I ordered a “double-double  animal-style” ($3.25) along with fries animal style ($3.30) and a chocolate shake ($1.99). Let’s go through each:

First, the shake.  Just like a McDonald’s shake. Clearly, INO does not see the shake as a menu game changer and just provides a smaller (and cheaper) version of the competition’s that is “good ‘enuf”. Grade: Average.

Next, the fries. Same as McDonald’s. Shoe string dimensions and flaccid. When will restaurants learn that there is only one way to cook fries, and that is three times? No taste on their own. Animal style is what makes them different. The onions borrow the synergy with potatoes of a pommes lyonnaise and the sauce on animal style creates a messiness that makes sure that bestiality has never tasted so good. Grade: On their own. Average. Animal style: Inspired.

Double-Double Animal Style. Kevin Marple may have spent a week in a cheap motel where he was the only guest without a criminal record to get great pictures. I only had a minute to get this one.

Finally, the meat of the matter, the burger. The bun is a POB (plain old bun) improved by the toasting. The meat has more flavor and umami than the grey pucks that dominate too many chain burgers. The ‘everything’ on it is the usual salad ingredients (lettuce, onions, tomato). The cheese is the same god-awful yellow pus you get at every other fast food chain. INO packages the burger in a snug-fitting paper bag from which the bun and meat pop out as if to say “eat me.” In the case of the double-double, the arrangement has a Georgia O’Keefe level of suggestiveness – which must be why the State of California requires they put a calorie count on the menu. Animal style defies INO’s neat packaging and makes the whole thing a mess, and a delicious one at that. Grade: Above average. Animal Style: Above Above Average.

The service was unbelievably friendly and gushy. When I arrived (no line at the counter) the teenage girls serving seemed genuinely pleased to see me. As I waited for my order they reassured me it was coming and a passing manager said: “good morning sir.”

Going back to the historic 2010 Dallas Burger Tour allows me to put INO in a Dallas context. None of the participating restaurants in that tour need have any worries of INO stealing their market. They are in a different league (especially Restaurant Ava and The Grape). Fast food chains, on the other hand, had better watch out. INO may prove to be a strong competitor.


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  • irodguy

    It’s actually rather interesting to see which INO locations still have the huge lines. This speaks to the density of left coasters in a particular area.

    The location on 75 rarely if ever has a line. You can get “in and out” quickly. The locations in Frisco, Allen and Addison are a zoo at best.

  • Chad

    OK seriously… when will Dallas learn to leave things alone? Why do we have to customize EVERYTHING?!? Your first trip to INO and you have no idea what they truly are about. I am bias, I worked for INO for several years growing up in california and have had the opportunity to try MANY variations but the all time favorite and what I get when I go now… Double Double with onions. Remember food isn’t about “MORE” it is about the proportions and the balance. Animal style is a nasty mess. Before you start creating your own abominations wether it be fast food or fine dinning…. try what it is supposed to be first.

  • Jons

    OMG, We landed on the Moon?!

  • Mike

    If you think their fries are just like McDonald’s you should probably find something other than food to write about.

  • Brandy

    @Mike- I second that! The fries are absolutely nothing like McDonalds! Fine if you don’t like them, Andrew… but to say they are ‘like McDonald’s’ is bizarre. And describing the cheese as yellow pus? That just turned my stomach.

    What I think is so funny is that because the name is In n Out, people think only the ‘cool people’ do the drive thru. Go inside the damn store if you don’t want to wait.

  • twinwillow

    The only thing I don’t eat at INO are the fries! Yuk! Still love the burgers, though.

  • The Janitor

    The problem with ordering the fires crisp is that although they taste great, when they are through frying they are so full of oil that if you eat too many of them (which is a big risk, ’cause they are good) you will get sick to your stomach. Been there, done that, not going back soon.

  • The Janitor

    Hey Andrew, how’s the waste line? Double Double: 590 cal, Fries: 400 cal, Shake: 690 cal.