Photo: Ming Yeung (Getty Images)

Update, July 25, 2019: The story that transfixed the nation for a week finally draws to its disappointing, utterly logical conclusion. Per Vice, a young girl brought an In-N-Out burger on a flight to New York City from San Francisco, then dropped it on a Queens street as she boarded a bus. That’s it.


Update, July 23, 2019: As New Yorkers and those around the world continue to wonder about where that mysterious In-N-Out Double Double in Queens came from, the company has weighed in. In-N-Out VP of operations Denny Warnick remarked to the New York Post in a statement that “Because our burgers are only cooked fresh to order in six states, it must have taken considerable planning for that burger to make the trip from the grill all the way to the Empire State.” The company was reportedly “surprised” by the discovery.


Original story, July 22, 2019: Submitted for your approval: The case of an In-N-Out Double Double, the signature dish of one of fast food’s most prized and debated chains, found on a sidewalk in the New York City borough of Queens. Somehow, it made its way there despite In-N-Out ownership’s insistence that no locations will ever move further east than Texas. The strange appearance has dragged the curiosity of NYC diners into... the Twilight Zone.

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It’s also set off The Takeout staff’s bullshit detectors, but we’ll get to that momentarily. The New York Post reports the burger in question was discovered in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, around 6:30 in the morning, by a 31-year-old creative director at an advertising agency who stopped to capture a picture of the burger. Lincoln Boehm insists that “it genuinely shook me to my core,” and maintains that it would be impossible to bring a Double Double from the western U.S. to NYC intact: “Every time I’ve done it it becomes inedible... The bun gets soggy and it becomes a mess. This one was just in such perfect condition… It just felt strange… at first I thought it was some sort of viral marketing thing.”

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So did we, Lincoln. While there’s no current evidence of a viral campaign, and In-N-Out has not publicly responded to the image as of this article’s publication, a few counterpoints we’d like to make at this time:

  • Boehm acknowledges that the burger was “sitting comedically” upright in the street. Almost photogenically, you could say.
  • The burger was found on a “nearly empty” block. While the time of day is definitely a curious wrinkle in the whole situation, again, it feels like exactly the kind of presentation that somebody purposely leaving an In-N-Out Double Double out for the public to find would utilize.
  • The burger appeared “... as if it had come off the grill five minutes ago.” It looks like a Double Double, sure, but since Boehm did not opt to sample the street burger, who’s to say that it actually tasted like In-N-Out at all? It could just as easily be an impostor in a well-maintained wrapper.
  • This whole thing began on Instagram, which is one of the last places on the internet that a person should treat as a bastion of transparency.

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Since we’re not putting a lot of stock in Boehm’s offered theory about a private luxury jet transporting the intact mystery burger across state lines, it’s proving far tougher to come up with a plausible explanation. It’s much easier to assume that the whole thing is bunk. Teleportation? A secret In-N-Out on the east coast? Sentient Double Doubles? All equally absurd.

In the days to come, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the mystery of the migratory In-N-Out burger, which has now not only made the morning news, but compelled us to spend nearly 500 words on its existence. Nobody wins, at least aside from whoever’s responsible for all of this.

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