In July, the Demaras family visited sunny Southern California, as our resident racer Daniel had qualified for the K1 Speed e-World Championship. When the competition was over on Sunday, our family still had a couple days of fun in the sun before returning home to Toronto. After visits to Neptune’s Net and Ruby’s Autodiner, there was still one more California original to check out.
On the night before the flight back to Toronto, we went for a drive around Los Angeles. This gave Daniel the chance to drive the Maserati Quattroporte before returning the car. But rather than street racing the Italian car, the destination was the In-N-Out directly under the flight path of LAX’s landing strip.
The line of cars at the drive-through was unbelievable, so we parked the Maserati. There were so many vehicles in line that the restaurant had staff outside directing traffic on South Sepulveda and walking up to car windows to take their orders. It was almost like the ‘carhop’ idea from the ’50s had come full circle.
In-N-Out is closely connected to car culture; they invented the drive-through window! In-N-Out Burgers opened in its first location in 1948 in the LA suburbs (Baldwin Park) and allowed motorists to place orders via a two-way speaker system, totally unique from the “carhop” style at diners like Bob’s Big Boy and Mel’s Drive-In where roller-skating waitresses brought food orders out to waiting cars.
In an even stronger car connection, restaurant founder Harry Snyder was also a 50% owner in Irwindale Raceway, an NHRA dragstrip. Today, 50 years since the founders passing, his granddaughter Lynsi Snyder sponsors multiple NHRA dragsters, and she herself races in NHRA Top Sportsman,when she’s not too busy with her day-job as president of In-N-Out.