There are only four things on the menu: hamburger, cheeseburger, a double-double and french fries. Plus Coke products and a lineup of three shakes. Yet, In-N-Out Burgers' cult status is undeniable.
Live in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Texas, and you're gloating. Live elsewhere? You're gnashing your teeth in frustration, harkening back to that beautiful trip to Irvine when you ordered the double-double "animal style" (that means extra pickles, cheese, grilled onions and dressing mixed together and spooned over your burger). In fact, there are whole websites devoted to In-N-Out's many charms, rock songs written in its honor and celebrities who have famously swooned over its burgers (Sammy Hagar, PGAer Phil Mickelson, even chef Gordon Ramsay).
Notoriously slow to expand, in May 2010 In-N-Out announced a new distribution center in Dallas, and that got Floridians thinking. If new locations need to be within a day's drive of a distribution center, wouldn't that now mean the Florida Panhandle was eligible? And what if distributors drove really, really fast? Could they make it farther south?
Early this week, Tampa Bay fans thought they had their answer. At the site of a defunct Checkers at 201 N Fort Harrison Ave. in Clearwater, a large poster went up on a blank sign. It had the telltale yellow arrow logo with the words: "In-N-Out Burger Here Soon." The Tampa Bay Twitterverse exploded with burger fever.
Ah, but don't count your double-doubles before they hatch. According to the media relations department, the company has no plans of moving into Florida at this time. The sign, it seems, is a hoax.
So next time you're pining for a "Flying Dutchman" (two patties, two slices of cheese, no bun, no veggies), there is but one choice: road trip. The billboard prankster is cruel, indeed.