Flatiron Lunch: Fresh & Fast is an In N Out Ripoff and I Don’t Care

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All the Shake Shack chatter had me craving a good west coast style burger, but without all the waiting in long lines.  A few days ago, there was a deal posted for Fresh and Fast, the “In n Out Ripoff” that opened last year . I’m a fan of originality just as much as the next guy, but you’ll have to forgive me if I wasn’t put off. Usually, Five Guys would be my go-to spot for this kind of burger, but there aren’t any branches between 42nd Street and 14th Street, so I’ll take what I can get.

See what I found after the jump.

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The most attractive part of the Fresh and Fast experience right off the bat is that you can walk in and order. That’s good, because the place is so small, there really isn’t a lot of room for a hundred people to wait for their burgers. There’s a small counter on the side of the narrow storefront, but being just down the block from Madison Square Park, I’d recommend eating it there, preferably right in front of the Shake Shack line.

Less appealing, are the prices, which all seem a little steep for what are by definition, small burgers, but it’s not significantly more than the alternatives.

Keeping with my usual practice, I went for a double cheeseburger, which is a little pricey at $5.99, especially since neither the double shack, the double double or the double at Five Guys ever leave me entirely satisfied. When out west, I order the off the menu 3×3, which is perfect.

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The fries were unexceptional, not particularly crisp and thicker in the middle than I like. Five Guys definitely has them beat here.

I had a vanilla milkshake, which didn’t wash down my meal as much as get scooped on top of it. It was so thick that a spoon would have been much more appropriate than a straw.

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The burger itself was exactly what I wanted: a pair of small, thin patties, crisp on the outside, juicy in the middle and coated with a thick melty layer of cheese and wrapped in a chewy potato roll. The meat is definitely rougher around the edges than the others and the lettuce and tomatoes, while fresh, aren’t quite as dramatically bright as Shake Shack’s. That said, I walked away very satisfied with the meal and fully expecting to return.

The +

  • A good west coast burger without all the fuss! I’m there.

The -

  • Shake Shack is the be all end all of burgers forever and I’ll never, ever eat anything else.
  • $5.99 is a lot for a small double cheeseburger.
  • I know In N Out Burger.  I’ve eaten In N Out Burger.  In N Out Burger is my friend.  You, sir, are no In N Out Burger.

Fresh & Fast, 111 E 23rd Street (btw. Park+Lex)

15 Comments

  • Geez they even try to make the menu look like In-N-Out.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    last time i was there there was no line… no one there… at all… and i still got one of those beeper things like i was going somewhere?

    and despite their being no line i felt like it took a while to get my meal, also seems kinda steep for a cheap portion size? it was good but not that good

  • I’d hit it, just ask for the fries well done and Bob’s your uncle.

  • Hillstones!!!! HIllstones!!!!! Hillstones!!!!!!

    I feel better now.

  • shake shack is worth the wait.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    1. My co-worker ordered from here over seamlessweb. He tried calling while waiting and was always told it was on the way. The order arrived after 2 hours! He called to complain and they said, “If you have a problem with our service, don’t order from us again”

    2. I know its not technically btw 14th to 42nd but there is a 5 guys on 43rd and 3rd:) (so close!)

  • What is a “west coast style burger” exactly? But yeah, looks like they’re even going for the In-N-Out uniforms too. Check that hyphen key.

  • ONly if it’s 10 min or less Steve!!!!

  • Accept no imitations.

    Burger LOOKS aight tho.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I’m a godless heathen and have never been to In-N-Out (I’ve also never been to California, so that should take some of the sting out). I did go here for lunch on Monday and enjoyed it. I got the cheeseburger meal which was plenty of food for me (I clearly don’t have the appetite of many MLers). Getting the meal kept me in the same price range as Shake Shack and with a larger drink. The fries weren’t the crispest ever, but I liked the taste. This is going to be my burger spot when I can’t stand the SS wait.

  • So, I made the 13 block walk to check this place out–I had a serious need for burgerness, but there’s no way I was going to wait outside in July heat for Shake Shack. I have to say, the burger here was pretty damn good (got the double). Chocolate shake was good (real ice cream and pieces of frozen chocolate ftw), even if fries were “eh” (good flavor, but limp). Would definitely go back.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    One thing that drives me crazy is when employees of rival restaurants post negative stuff. JustinR, you have to get better at disguising that you work for in n out. Do you expect anyone to believe you are plosting a review on behalf of a co-worker? If you work for a pr blogging firm you should be fired.

    I had this burger and it was great. With fries, which were good, and a drink, it was around $10 so it’s not super cheap, but it was worth the money. Plus, I’m a real customer.

    • Says the woman who signed up to only post this…

      In-n-Out doesn’t operate within 1500 miles of here…..Utah or Arizona are the closest.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I liked this burger a lot. I liked the fries too, but the burger I thought was excellent. I liked the whole look too.

  • Tried this for the first time yesterday, since I had to walk by it, twice. @12:15, it was entirely empty which made me nervous. But when I had to walk by it again @1, there were a few customers, so I figured I’d give it a try. Burger was fine, nice bun, ok meat, decent tomato, wilted lettuce, but nasty pickle slice reminiscent of McD’s. Couldn’t taste the “special” sauce. Fries sucked – ordered them well-done (just like how I do at In N Out), they come out half cooked, soggy, and oil-laden. Gross. I’ll brave the line at Shake Shack if I’m craving a burger, as this doesn’t cut it.

    As for comparison to In-N-Out, FreshNFast’s look is a total rip-off, but taste doesn’t compare. Not to mention, part of In-N-Out’s appeal is the low, low prices where you can get a cheeseburger, fries, and shake for about the same price of just a Fresh N Fast cheeseburger with the extra 50c charge for grilled onions.

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