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New In-N-Out Burger in Oregon is the closest location to JBLM

Would you drive the six-hour round trip for a Double-Double?

The In-N-Out Burger’s Double-Double and Fries, animal style! Photo credit: Missy Bouchat

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Cult food followings are no stranger to the Seattle/Tacoma areas. In fact, most regions have some sort of fan base circulating around a local cuisine or restaurant. Ask any local what you absolutely have to try and you may hear anything from the Seattle Dog (a hot dog served with cream cheese and onions), to the infamous Vietnamese Pho soup, to Beecher's World's Best Mac & Cheese. However, if you're a California transplant then you'll be ecstatic to hear that In-N-Out Burger's newest location is only three hours south of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, bringing their cult following further north.

A six-hour, round-trip car ride may sound excessive for one meal, but how far would you go for a taste of home? For many Californians, In-N-Out Burger is a staple food growing up, with over 300 locations in California, Nevada, Utah and Texas, and in the last five years, two additional locations have popped up in southern Oregon.

On Dec. 12, 2019, the newest location in northern Oregon opened in Keizer. If you're an In-N-Out newbie, the very simple menu they offer might leave you wondering how and why such an establishment could be so popular. One of the reasons, other than the burgers are actually that good, is their secret menu.

The menu itself consists of five items: the Double-Double, Cheeseburger, Hamburger, fries, and shakes. From there, you can either go with the standard versions, or figure out their famous, not-so-"secret" menu. My personal favorite is the Double-Double animal style, where they take the classic double cheeseburger, mustard fry the patties and add pickles, grilled onions, and extra special sauce. You can even get your fries animal style! While there is no "vegetarian" option on the menu, they have a secret menu item that is essentially a grilled cheese with all the fixings of a burger. My daughter gave it two thumbs up!

We are not from California originally, but like most folks, after my first experience with In-N-Out I made it a priority every time we were near one to make a stop.

After a light breakfast, we left the Tacoma area around 9 a.m. and drove the two-hour stretch down I-5 to Portland. I researched a dog-friendly park to stop at to stretch our legs and build up our appetite. From there we made the final 45-minute trip to Keizer. We were all pretty hungry at that point, and given the restaurant's grand opening was back in December, I was not expecting the line wrapped around the building. We had come this far, so we hopped in line and waited about 45 minutes to order. From there it was another 30 minutes of waiting for the food to come out. Seating inside was pretty much impossible; there were literally hundreds of people standing around waiting for food, so we took advantage of the sun and took our hard-earned meal al fresco.

If you're looking for a fun day trip with great food, consider making a day out of trying In-N-Out Burger. You have many options for stopping along the route including outlet shopping, hiking, downtown scenery, and more. The drive and the wait were definitely worth it, and we already have plans to go again.

In-N-Out Burger, 6260 Keizer Station Blvd. NE, 1.800.786.1000,

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