I had a late morning meeting near the new In N Out in Austin today, so I popped over afterward to see what the fuss is about. Can I just say, while it was fine, and certainly a notch above the usual fast food burger, it wasn't exactly what I'd call an epiphany. I just ordered a double double combo, no secret menu BS. I wanted unfiltered for my first taste of the Texas version. Disclaimer: I ate at In N Out many times while visiting the left coast. At that time, I thought it was the cat's pajamas. Of course, that was relative to my experiences with common fast food circa mid-90s.
Austin has several great burger chains. My favorite is P. Terry's. It's the same basic concept as In N Out. Simple menu, few options, focus on the food, inexpensive. They do what I call "normal sized food" too. None of these half pound monstrosities. Just old school flat, 1/5 pound griddled burgers on a one-handed bun with a few veggies. But P. Terry's meat tastes better. It's spicier and meatier. Their fries are hand cut and crispy fried. Honestly, I thought In N Out's fries, which are supposedly their big draw, were sort of soft and mealy. They definitely didn't taste fresh and homemade. I can't see why I'd pick In N Out over our home-grown option, and not just out of local pride. It's just better.
Anyway, I'm not going to dump on it too much. You guys loooove In N Out. I mean, there were Cali transplants taking their pictures outside this place, exclaiming for everyone to hear, "FINALLY!" I know the Texas version might not be as authentic as the original Cali-style joints, but still, give me P. Terry's, Dan's, Hill-Berts, or Top Notch for a quick fast food burger. Not to mention the MANY gourmet-style burger places around these days (dear lord, Hopdoddy's). Am I just missing something? Does the secret menu make up the difference?