Hitting up famed California drive-thru In-n-Out Burger on a road trip to the golden state remains at the top of the list for most visiting tourists. The joint’s made-to-order hamburgers and tempting “secret menu” give the fried art connoisseur several tempting options before they have to pack their sorry butts back on a plane and away from the restaurant’s left coast hub.
The white-hot San Antonio Spurs, in a show of team solidarity, decided to eschew the typically bland baked chicken and brown rice meals a (literally) healthy portion of NBA types have to devote themselves to during the season to make a trip to the restaurant in Oakland on Sunday. Not every Spur was made aware of the plan – Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter had already eaten lunch in San Francisco by the time the bus rolled up – and not everyone was the biggest fan. Like wing Stephen Jackson, who ranks the outlet fourth amongst his favorite burger chains.
“It was one of those carpe diem moments,” forward Matt Bonner said. “You know you shouldn’t be eating a grease-laced double burger with fried onions, fries and a milk shake, but once in a while, you’ve got to go for it. It was one of those things where no one will claim responsibility, but everybody enjoyed it.”
Even [Tony] Parker, a native of Paris who considers himself a sophisticated diner, partook of the fast-food fare.
“That was awesome,” Parker said. “We did the same thing about three years ago, too, and that was awesome, too. Even though I’m a gourmet guy, it doesn’t hurt to eat a double-burger sometimes. I had two double-doubles and a milkshake. I was hungry.”
Not all the Spurs were thrilled about the experience. Guard Manu Ginobili was sated from lunch at one of his favorite Italian restaurants near San Francisco’s Union Square when the bus pulled into the In-N-Out parking lot.
“I was coming from lunch, so it was a bad idea,” he said. “Tiago (Splitter) and I ate lunch in San Francisco, but it was a team thing, so I ate a burger and had a shake.”
Stephen Jackson was ambivalent about the experience.
“It was good, but I don’t like In-N-Out like that,” he said. “Fatburger, Sonic, Five Guys, but not In-N-Out. But I ate one.”
Blasphemy. Or, “Stephen Jackson didn’t know about the secret menu.”
The star of the secret menu is the famous “animal style” burger, all full of mustard-y goodness and caramelized onions. If Jackson was unaware of his options, and simply went for a regular burger, I can understand being somewhat nonplussed in comparison to Five Guys’ giant patties. But, and this is coming from someone who isn’t a big fan of onions, the “double-double animal style” can act as a life-changing experience.
Especially when you’re far away from home, and all you can see on the road ahead are giant yellow arches or chances to run to the border.
It was likely a needed salve for San Antonio, who attempted to overcome a Tony Parker right elbow injury and Golden State’s new terrible uniforms in losing 107-101 on Friday night. And the extra fat and grease didn’t seem to get in the way of the team winning without Parker on Sunday afternoon against Phoenix.
It’s been a fantastic month for the top-ranked Spurs, who need just one win over the lowly Suns again on Wednesday to finish February with a 9-2 record. In all, the team just refuses to make mistakes.
Save for ranking In-N-Out behind Sonic or Fatburger. Come on, Stephen.