Need to find an In-N-Out burger fast? Get the official iPhone app
Sitting in front of Santa Barbara deli Metropoulos Fine Foods Merchant, where we’d made a pit stop for pasta, beans, olives and such on our way up to Big Sur, the question of In-N-Out burger was raised.
He wanted one.
"It’s only 11 o'clock," she said. "Too early for a burger."
He insisted that it was their only chance. Santa Barbara is the last In-N-Out stop on the 101 before we turn off for Big Sur.
"I'm not so sure," she said, pulling out her iPhone. She found the In-N-Out site, but didn't have a ZIP code to plug in to find a location.
Aha! In-N-Out has a free iPhone app: the In-N-Out Burger locator app, which uses Google maps to plot locations.
She downloads it, opens the app, which spots where the car is sitting right away and shows several locations north of Santa Barbara — Santa Maria, Arroyo Grande and Atascadero among them. The app reveals how far away each location is, how long it should take to get there, and shows both the address and a detailed map. Nifty.
In the old days (not so long ago), I used to call an 800 number and someone would give directions to the nearest In-N-Out. While I appreciated the courtesy and attention, this is better because you can anticipate what's ahead on your route.
In the end, we tried Arroyo Grande, but the place was mobbed and so drove on to Atascadero. This one's a winner: great workers, really crispy fries (ordered that way) and a burger with good texture, toasted bun and not too much sauce.
The app does have one little problem: locations that I know have drive-thru windows are listed as not having any. Does there even exist one without?
And in case you're wondering, no, the app does not include a guide to the "secret" menu.
-- S. Irene Virbila Twitter.com/sirenevirbila
Photos: Screen shot of the In-N-Out app in action. Credit: In-N-Out