The "secret menu" is one of the worst kept secrets ever, and rightly so. It's only a secret of omission, failing to be displayed on the menu hanging above the cash register or glowing outside in the drive-thru. But ask any true west-coaster, and they will go into an exhaustive explanation of "animal style" versus "protein style" versus "extra-crispy" versus "neapolitan" versus a "plain grilled cheese." I remember my first inundation to the secret In-n-Out society, with the double-double shaped fezzes, elaborate thick and creamy hand-shakes, and Bible-verse-revealing decoder rings. It was a youth group trip, I can't remember if it was the "ski trip" I spent eating my feelings inside the cabin or the "lake trip" I spent eating my feelings inside the tent, but regardless, it was, as my brother would describe, a "wild tempest of hormones" filled with guitar-sing-alongs, french braiding, and wistfully dreaming that the cute eighth grader noticed me. He didn't. But the burgers were great!
The secret menu goes as such:
Animal style: this can be done to your burger, fries, or if you're super top secret your grilled cheese. It's basically thousand island dressing, chopped up pickles, and grilled onions on top of whatever you order.
Protein style: skip the bun! Your burger will come wrapped in lettuce.
Grilled cheese: for that lonely vegetarian amongst in-n-out eaters.
Extra Crispy and Extra Extra Crispy: where they cook the fries until they're crunchy or until they're rectangular potato chips.
Neopolitan or Black and White: Mixing your shake flavors any way you like.
The triple triple: Like the double double, but with three patties and three slices of cheese.
The 4 x 4: My brother's favorite, and you guessed it, four patties and four slices of cheese.
The other secrets:
Also no-so-secret is the enduring quality behind the product and company In-n-Out puts out. Started in 1948, it has always been a family institution, never being franchised or publicly traded. Because of this, In-n-Out can pay their employees a starting wage of $10 per hour, which is more than I was paid to be a producer's assistant; they can have a policy where if you can't pay when you pull up to the window, they'll give you the food anyway, just to be nice; and lastly, they can print bible verses on the bottom of every beverage cup and burger wrapper, reflecting the spiritual beliefs of the family.
And I must say, the Lord hath blessed them with a damn good burger.