In and Out Burger Double 2011 Summer Vacation California Las Vegas July 24, 201126 originally uploaded by Steven Depolo
A few weeks back I was asked to attend a preview event for a new restaurant chain coming to Minnesota. The information from the PR firm was thin but I signed up to attend the event anyway and I headed over on Friday evening to see who was coming to Minnesota who may be worth visiting.
I have to admit that after receiving similar invitations for both Old Chicago and T.G.I. Friday’s I was a little skeptical that this would be worth my time. When I arrived and smelled burgers cooking I was even more skeptical. Minnesota has been inundated with burger joints lately and with so many other local and chain restaurants serving pretty decent burgers as of late, I really didn’t see why they were making such a big deal out this new chain. Until they revealed the name: In-N-Out Burger.
Now, I admit to being no fan of In-N-Out burgers. To me they’re no better than Wendy’s. However, I know that there are plenty of people who absolutely adore this chain and will be lining up for months to get a taste of what they used to have to fly to the West Coast to get a taste.
The restaurant was filled with employees, a few bloggers toting cameras, and some city officials. We were told we could order anything we wanted and we were asked to give our honest feedback about the product and whether we’d had the burgers before.
I ordered a double-double with everything: lettuce, tomato, spread, and onions; an order of fries; and a vanilla shake. The Wife ordered a cheese burger without onions, fries, and a strawberry shake. While we didn’t have to pay for our items as part of this promotional event, from what we were told the prices will be competitive with Five Guys and the various other similar chains serving burgers around town.
- The burgers, again, didn’t impress me much. Even though I hadn’t tried a Nookie Supreme in 2006 when I had my first In-N-Out, time and experience did nothing to improve these for me. That said there were lots of smiles around the room–much in the same way that people believe the burgers at Lion’s Tap in Eden Prairie, because they heard they were great, not because they actually are.
The fries, which never impress me regardless of venue, were fine. Nothing special there but I do appreciate that they make them fresh and in-house–just like any other restaurant worth its salt does.
The shake was ok. I love shakes and have them very rarely and while this was tasty, it wasn’t enough to make me want to drive to Hastings on any regular basis to get them–especially when I’d have to fight the droves of the clueless to do so.
In addition to not caring for the burgers themselves, I really didn’t understand the decision to open the first Minnesota In-N-Out location in Hastings of all places. I feel this would be much better suited somewhere more centrally located such as Minneapolis or St. Paul but the staff on hand assured everyone in attendance that their market research showed Hastings would be an exceptional location for them to begin. At this time they have no plans for other Minnesota locations but they said it is definitely not outside the realm of possibility within the next 2-4 years.
Overall I was unimpressed with the burgers, the location and especially the hype they’re planning around the opening of In-N-Out’s first Minnesota location. I am sure it will be wildly popular and get the traffic they claim but it’s not because it’s really worth it but instead because people want to think it’s a great burger, not because it really is.
Have you ever eaten at In-N-Out before? If so what did you think and what did you order? How do you think it compares to other burger joints both chain and local? Are you planning to be there, waiting in a day-long+ line (their prediction) as soon as it opens next week? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.
15912 153rd St NW
Hastings, MN 55033
Monday to Sunday: 10:30 AM – 1:30 AM