Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Road Trip, Part 1: Free Refills!


My old friend (and former neighbor) Tim Fall moved with his family from Venice Beach to Oklahoma City a few years ago. Tim and I did a lot of writing and producing together (still do) and he was an actor on a lot of shows (some of which I produced.)

So this Memorial Day weekend, in between working on a script together, we’re driving from my house to his house in Oklahoma City. There was some stuff I was keeping in my garage, but really it’s just an excuse for a road trip.

And a road trip in anywhere in Southern California isn’t complete without a stop here:

In-n-Out Burger is simply the finest fast-food burger in America. And that’s actually saying something, because America has some excellent fast-food burgers, as my friend John T. Edge has convincingly proven.

What I like most about In-n-Out — and America in general — are two things:

1. Each cup has its own little biblical message printed on the lower rim. Which is wonderfully American. The family that owns In-n-Out has a lot of strong, positive faith, and they want to share it. John 3:16. So cool. Can’t imagine that happening anywhere else.


And 2. Free refills. In America, we expect, and get, free refills. In fast-food places, they give you a giant cup and point you to the fountain. In a lot of restaurants, they walk around the place with giant pitchers of iced tea or whatever and fill ‘er up. I especially love when they have to pour from the side of the pitcher. Because we’re Americans, and we love ice. In France, for instance, there’s no such thing as the free refill. They measure drinks out by the centiliter.

I’m really only half-joking, here. There’s something about our sense of abundance, of generosity, of plenty, that’s worth thinking about, on this Memorial Day. There’s a reason life in America can be such joyful fun.

Of course, we can go too far. Next stop: Las Vegas,

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  1. John Boyer Member
    John Boyer Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    In-N-Out is great (it’s finally coming to Texas!).

    Rob, have you tried The Habit burger chain in SoCal? Very good stuff and more free refills.

    I think one of the silliest refills policies is Red Robin which refills your fries. Drinks are one thing, but a never ending amount of starch? I think I’ll pass.

    • #1
    • May 31, 2010, at 8:40 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  2. Will Collier Member
    Will Collier Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I take a back seat to no one as a fan of In-N-Out (it will be my first stop during a work trip Westward in a few weeks), but for the best burger on the planet, you’ll have to travel to Atlanta and Ann’s Snack Bar. Sadly, Ann does not do free drink refills, but trust me on this one, where her burgers are concerned, “abundance” is the epitome of understatement.

    • #2
    • May 31, 2010, at 9:20 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. George Savage Contributor

    Florida also has some must-visit restaurants. This week I had dinner at this one in Hobe Sound:


    Harry and the Natives is an “old Florida” place: no air-conditioning, a lanai seating area surrounded by lush greenery, and understated statuary, like the non-native species represented below.


    Where else can you find camels and pink flamingos living together in peace?

    • #3
    • May 31, 2010, at 9:51 AM PDT
    • Like
  4. Morituri Te Inactive

    Rob, my daughter goes to school in Canada, and whenever she comes home to visit I pick her up at the airport. From the airport we get on Highway 101 south, and immediately exit again at Millbrae Avenue, where there is an In-N-Out Burger. Driving through for a burger there is her favorite “welcome home to America” ritual.

    Here’s a geek burger anecdote: Before coming to the dark side I was a software engineer, and once I decided I needed to read about the old Windows (pre NT) operating system. I learned that the key memory allocation system in Windows was a heap structure known as the “Burgermaster.” Years later I spent a year commuting to Redmond for a joint project with Microsoft, and while there I spotted an old-fashioned drive-in called, yup, Burgermaster. I asked around, and sure enough, the team that wrote Windows used to frequent the place, and decided to immortalize it in their software. So, Burgermaster probably holds the distinction of being the only drive-in with a data structure named after it.

    • #4
    • May 31, 2010, at 10:17 AM PDT
    • Like
  5. Profile Photo Member

    Ah, yes…our “sense of abundance”…Here in Spain there’s no free fill-ups, no ice, and you pay for that little basket of crackers they bring as an “appetizer”. Our Everything’s-Bigger-in-Texas trip in June will more than make up for the lack here! Happy American Day!

    • #5
    • May 31, 2010, at 11:16 AM PDT
    • 1 like

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