Gourmet burgers are one of our main lines nowadays. Despite the campaigns for healthier heating, veganism etc, burgers are still massively popular.
Like most people I have made many a visit to the famous American chains over here, namely McDonalds and Burger King. In fact I am old enough to remember when Wimpy was a massive chain, and truth be told, what I remember of them, their burger was better than either of the USA behemoths.
However there are many other chains or ‘burger joints’ in the US of A. Non at the size of the main two, but some pretty big and expanding. Some of the smaller ones are nowhere near in size, but have massive public followings. We are gonna look at a few of these, their history and menu’s.
Our first contender is the quaintly named In-N-Out Burgers. First launched in the Los Angeles suburb of Baldwin Park California by Harry and Esther Snyder in 1948. The original store was tiny, only some 10ft square. Harry would visit the local wholesalers each morning to pick out the freshest ingredients whilst his wife Esther would take care of the administration and bookkeeping.
The beef patties were made by hand fresh every morning, and quality was a watchword for them from the off.
Harry would work in his garage on a night, after long days of cooking burgers. Later in 1948 he put together a two way voice box allowing his customers to order food without even leaving their cars. This focus on drive through was a mainstay of the companies business model. In fact it wasn’t until restaurant No.21 in 1979 that they even had a sit down section to allow guests to consume their food on the premises.
By 1963 they had grown to the extant that they opened their own processing plant for the burgers, up till then Esther had prepared each patty using a hand press.
By the time Harry Snyder died in 1976, at the age of 63, the chain had grown to 18 restaurants.
Harry’s son 24-year-old Rich Snyder took the reins after his fathers death and expanded the chain rapidly, building the chain to 90 stores over the next 20 years.
Sadly in 1993 whilst returning from opening store No. 93 in Fresno, California, Rich died along with four other passengers when the light aircraft he was in crashed due to being caught in the wake turbulence of a larger aircraft that landed in front of them.
His brother Guy took over and aggressively expanded the company to over 140 locations in six years before dying from an overdose of painkillers.
Esther Snyder died in 2006 at the age of 86 whereupon the presidency passed to Mark Taylor, former VP of operations.
They launched their ‘Animal’ burger in 1961, where the beef pattie was fried in a thin layer of mustard, add extra pickles and grilled onions were added.
Their protein burger, dispenses with the bun and wraps the whole lot in lettuce, for a healthier option.
A real unusual one this, think of taking the burger out of the bun and , well and nothing. That’s what you get, two patties, two slices of cheese (well that yellow stuff the Americans claim is cheese), pickles salad and wrap it in a slice of paper. In N Out have many items on their secret menu. Not on display in the restaurants, but viewable on the website.
In n Out Burgers Crossed Palm Trees
The company tend to have a pair of crossed palm trees at the front of each location. This is allegedly in allusion to Harry Snyder’s favourite movie, It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World.
In keeping with his Christian beliefs, many In n Out Burgers items such as the drinks cups have bible references printed on them.