In-N-Out Replica

Los Angeles Explorers Guild: In-N-Out Replica

In-N-Out Replica

In-N-Out Replica

Visit the In-N-Out Replica, a museum dedicated to the early days of the historic Los Angeles drive-thru at the location of the chain’s first (well, second) store in Baldwin Park.

Harry and Esther Snyder opened the very first In-N-Out on October 22, 1948 at the corner of Francisquito and Garvey in Baldwin Park. It was California’s first drive-thru burger stand. Shortly after the joint opened, Snyder invented a two-way loudspeaker to help diners order his burgers without leaving their cars.

A drive-thru restaurant was still a novelty in 1948, and Snyder’s concept of fast service helped cement both Los Angeles’s reputation as a burger town and its role in popularizing drive-thru culture.

Six years after the shop opened, the road that eventually become The 10 freeway (back then it was the US 60) rolled though the intersection where it sat. To make way for progress, the world’s very first In-N-Out was demolished … only to be rebuilt about 100 feet or so down down the street.

And there it stayed, serving burgers to hungry car-bound Californians for 50 years. Until, in 2004, a new, modern In-N-Out opened at 13850 Francisquito Avenue, just on the other side of the freeway from the old location (and adjacent to the In-N-Out Company Store).

The previous location shut down and the building fell into disrepair. Eventually it was torn down in 2011. A few years after that a shiny new In-N-Out Replica was built in its place.

The In-N-Out Replica from beyond the locked gate.

An In-N-Out Museum

The In-N-Out Replica is very much an In-N-Out museum, a homage to Snyder’s very first restaurant. Outside, along the drive-thru path (which you can’t actually drive on), there’s a small building with classic red-and-white striped awnings, a copy of Snyder’s original “Two-Way-Speaker,” a large menu board (reproduced from the days when a hamburger would set you back a quarter), a pole-mounted cigarette machine, and a potato washing machine around back.

The tiny (about 10 feet by 10 feet) replica restaurant is outfitted with a griddle, a fryer, hand-operated potato slicer, cheese grater, refrigerator, and drink cooler. But it’s all for show — the In-N-Out Replica doesn’t serve food. (But if you have a hankering for a Double Double, a fully functional In-N-Out is still just down the block.)

Off to the side there’s even a pair of crossed palm trees, a fixture at almost every In-N-Out location and included on much of the chain’s packaging. Lore has it that Snyder was a fan of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (which opened at the Cinerama Dome in 1963) and added the trees outside his restaurants to indicate that beneath these crossed palms, you’ll find his treasure — an In-N-Out.

The site also features two classic In-N-Out signs: the original design from 1948 and the redesign from 1957, complete with a clock, which introduced the iconic yellow arrow. You can also see a third sign, the modern design, of the functioning In-N-Out down the street poking up across the top of freeway.

The In-N-Out Replica has very limited hours. It’s only open on Thursdays through Sundays from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. If you visit within this narrow window, you’ll be greeted by a docent dressed up in a period In-N-Outfit, who’ll recount the history of the chain as you look around. If you visit any other time, however, you’ll be limited to looking at the little building and its accompanying pieces of nostalgia from a distance through a locked gate.


In-N-Out Replica


Tom Fassbender is a writer of things with a strong adventurous streak. When not exploring Los Angeles, he’s been known to enjoy a cup of coffee or two. You can find him at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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