Ok, so the other day when I posted my review on Five Guys, and several of you commented that you thought that it was actually 96 Street Steakburgers that was more like In ‘n Out Burger, hubby declared that that was where we were going for lunch. So who was I to argue?
Well, there are certainly similarities in the way things are done there to In ‘n Out Burger. You order at the register, your food is made to order, and they call your number when it is ready. They serve their burgers in the little paper wrapper just like In ‘n Out (although without the Bible verses), and the fries are fresh cut potatoes which are served in nearly identically shaped containers. The menu is simple—burgers, a grilled cheese, a hot dog and I think chicken fingers (which is actually twice the stuff they have on the In ‘n Out menu) and they serve their burgers (singles or doubles) with a set grouping of toppings (lettuce, tomato, pickle, special sauce), although you are free to change and add things if you want. The burgers are made from fresh, never frozen, beef. They do, however, serve beer at 96th Street, which is something I don’t think you will ever find at an In ‘n Out. Actually it is kind of funny that the California chain is the one with the Bible verses and the Indiana restaurant in the one with beer, but hey, I am not complaining.
So as for the burgers, they are good (that one on the left is my son's plain cheeseburger with his first bite taken out--he asked me to take that picture). The meat is high quality and so are the toppings. They do have a similarity to In ‘n Out, more so than Five Guys, and I preferred the size of the 96th Street burger. It was smaller and thinner and had the crispy edges that I like on a burger. The buns are nice and soft. The “special sauce” tasted similar to thousand island dressing. I think I have told you all before that I have a preference for the thinner type burger in general, so this would be more up my alley than Five Guys.
The fries at 96th Street are also freshly made, and are thinner than the ones at Five Guys, they are cooked darker, but they are not overly crispy (and full disclosure we got this to go, just as we did with Five Guys). I tend to like thin fries, but I like them to be real crispy because they tend to go soft a lot faster than fatter fries. So on the fries aspect, I think I would choose Five Guys. They both have the fresh potato-ey taste from being freshly made, but the Five Guys fries traveled better. At some point, I need to do an in store taste of both. I think though, I would be more likely to return to 96th Street based on the burgers—even though I like the fries better elsewhere, I don’t think fries alone will get me in somewhere when the burger didn’t wow me. I don’t know that the fries particularly remind me of In ‘n Out though, other than the container that they are served in. They are lighter and a little bit fatter than 96th Street.
Overall though, 96th Street is a good find for me, and a decent alternative to my favorite burgers at Workingman’s Friend and Steak n Shake. And hey, they have beer!
96th Street Steakburgers
4715 East 96th Street