Growing up in Southern California, my idea of a “burger” is of course influenced by those served at the In-N-Out chain, for which the area is nationally famous. There was an old radio advertisement where a SoCal youth turned Harvard freshman drops out and leaves his scholarship behind, to come back home because he missed In-N-Out burgers too much. (Sound farfetched? It’s actually based on a true story.)
I was tipped off by this article in the New York Times to a new burger joint in the East Village, Blue Nine Burger (92 3rd Ave.), which seeks to emulate the In-N-Out burger style, only on the East Coast. So does it work? I tried them out today, abd while I wouldn’t necessarily say they’ve perfected their clones, they come pretty damn close. Unfortunately, they also closely imitate In-N-Out’s soggy fries. Even the menu, printed on an index card, mimics In-N-Out’s sparse minimalism (the full menu: hamburger $2.35, cheeseburger $2.80, fries $1.75, milkshakes $2.25). If there were enforceable fast-food copyright laws, Blue Nine would be in big trouble. Better get over there before someone gets litigious.
EDIT: I was able to confirm today that they do in fact have the “secret menu” items from In-N-Out as well. (2/6/03)