Saturday, April 25, 2009

In-N-Out Burger, Santa Ana

Anonymous writes about memories of In-N-Out burger in Santa Ana, where the owner would walk out to your car to take orders...

I remember going to the In-N-Out on Main st. in Santa ana as a teenager with my nieces & friends. The owner himself would take our order from the car and then bring us free homemade chicken soup while we waited. The hamburgers & fries were always freshly made. I tell my kids that the In-N-Out burgers from today are good, but the ones from back then were the best and we knew the original owner!
I don't remember the one on Main St, but I always went to the one on Bristol St and Civic Center Drive. This was back in the mid-1980s when I worked for the Santa Ana Public Library. And back then there were long lines at lunch time, and I imagine it's the same today.

Anyone know about their "secret menu"? If you want three patties and three cheese, tell then you want a "3x3". If you want 4 patties and eight cheeses, tell them "4x8". Simplicity and elegance in ordering.


  1. the one you remember was located on the east side of main st and several blocks south of first st if i remember right,and was just a hole in the wall and was run by a guy named al,but the food was awesome,the in and out people know today is big corp owned and run and not related to the one you remember

  2. I remember the old In and Out on Main St. across
    from Lathrop Jr. High. We would hang out after
    school and have a lot of laughs. Know Santa Ana
    well. Remember the old Mayfair Market on Main and St Andrews. Would walk a long way. Remember hitch
    hiking to the beach along Harbor and Warner. My mom dated some "not yet noted" celebrities from the O.C. like Dick Dale and one half of the Righteous Brothers. A previous entry mentioned the Helms Bakery truck with drawers that seemed unending full of the best bakery goods a kid could want. Remember walking (sometimes running) through the orange groves that "old man Irvine" owned. We would walk home singing those oldies but goodies attempting the harmony. Was a good time. E.S.

  3. I worked at the In-n-Out in Santa Ana on Bristol from 1979 - 1982 or so. When I worked there we had no cash registers and no adding machines in the store (only cash drawers) -- you had to remember the order and add it up in your head. Had to pass a math test to work there. It was sure a lot of fun...

    That was the only In-n-Out related to the modern day company. The one on Main St. wasn't related -- the founders of the current In-n-Out had their first store in Baldwin Park in 1948, that's where they could be found.

    BTW, In-n-Out is still owned by descendants of the founding Snyder family (grandaughter of Esther and Harry). It's not franchised and it's not public.

  4. The In'n'Out on Main Street was owned by Alex Molinar. He ran aa great establishment and made the best burgers and homemade chicken soup. Al was a great friend of all the kids. What a guy and what a place.

  5. What ever happened to Al? When did Al's In and Out Close? That place had great burgers and there were no better FRIES!!!!

  6. Larry L. Means, Ph.DDecember 26, 2009 3:12 PM

    Al Molnar who along with his Sister and their families died about five years ago. They moved to the East Coast about fifteen years ago to be near one of their daughters. The name of the restaurant was KWICK SNACK although the big "IN" and "OUT" signs hung at the two windows on the sides of the building. Al was ahead of his time with the use of old Drive-In Speakers and PA system to take the orders. As the stories indicate, the current In and Out was not related to the Molnar family establishment. I ate there for many years when I was a student at Lathrop then again at SAHS where we enjoyed the open campus that allowed us to drive off-campus for lunch and to get our burger and large bag of fries with a little cup of catchup from Al. Of note - the restaurant was closed because the landlord demanded a sizeable increase in the monthly lease rate - Al decided it was time to close. He managed other restaurants in Or. Co. after closing his drive-in but none was very successful and he retired. He was a true friend to my generation and always had a great personal greeting for all his customers - often naming special items after the names of his customers. He named the fried hot dog on a hamburger bun the "Larry Nut Dog" - this was just one of probably 20 special meals. I shall never forget the large bag of french fries. He prepared the potatoes everyday. Remember the barrell of pickles that doubled as a stool to sit in the back and eat while talking to him. His list of former employee's has to be a list of who's who from Santa Ana - I miss Al as a friend and his great food - something this current generation will never have the opportunity to enjoy.

  7. I remember the Main St. location. I just got off of the phone with a high school friend to make sure I wasn't imagining things and he said he worked there and it was his first job.

  8. I went to SAHS from 1956-1958 and remember the In n Out drive thru restaurant. The best hamburgers and fries ever! The owner, Al, greeted all of us by name--he was so friendly and cared about everyone. I have wonderful memories of going there during school lunchtime. It was the "in" place to be. That was over 50 years ago and I still remember Al and the rest. with fondness. Wish we could do it all again! However, better than the In n Out is the LORD JESUS CHRIST-He is the creator of heaven and earth and my best friend. Invite Him into your life today--He will forgive your sins and you will receive His gift of eternal life. He will give you His perfect peace. Just ask Him!

  9. Arnoald was the original owner.

  10. Did Al look like Robert Young of Marcus Welby,M.D.
    TV show? They were great burgers and crinkle fries. Does any one remember Beenie's burgers on Main and Edinger close to Red Wings Shoe store?

  11. The old In-n-Out building is still there at the south east corner of Cubbon and Main streets if you look at Google street view. The address is 1001 South Main St. A sad little place now, and it stands empty. Al Molinar lived across the street from us for a while until his retirement.

  12. I remember the bldg was kinda made from some red painted wood and you could get a dbl cheese burger as big as your head for a buck and a sack of fries to die for for thirty cents. What great memories.
    we used to load up on food and those old cokes in the little greenish bottle that you had to open with a church key HA! every sat nite and/or sun morn on the way down to the long beach drag strip.the lucky strikes rolled up in the T shirt sleeves, levies and engr boots we reeked of carburator cleanor and gas and oil palm aid in our flat tops and spent the nite trying to go faster than 85 miles an hr in a quarter mile. whew things have changed!!!!!!!!

    signed Fonzie retired

  13. there will never be fries as good as they were at the in and out. We ate there everyday, I went to Lathrop Jr. high.

  14. Wow, the In and Out on Main st. We would go there sometimes before going to school at Lathrop and then sometimes after school. I remember Al so well. Nice guy. The Fries were the best and the Vanilla cokes were awesome. those were great days.Thanks for the memories.

  15. I myself went to Tustin High in the 50s. We always drove to Santa Ana after for fries and a chocolate coke! Al was a great and friendly
    guy and did have the best food ever. He also
    had tasty pastrami on crusty buns too with dill pickles.Yum!! But, that gigantic bag of french fries was the best ever. Nothing like it today!!

  16. Dear Larry Means,

    Thank you for filling us in on what happened to Al. If there ever was the hamburger joint of our dreams (and so now it is), it was Al's Quik Snack. (I still think of it EVERY time I go to the current IN and Out).

    Dan Bleskey

  17. The fries were the most amazing I have ever had even to this day! A full order filled a brown paper lunch bag to the top. You could get a full or half size order, you could also get them extra crispy....yum, the best! Vanilla or cherry cokes made it all perfect!


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