The Hilarious Story Of New York City's In-N-Out Burger Mystery

While walking through the Queens area of New York, a California-born passerby by the name of Lincoln Boehm noticed an In-N-Out Double-Double Burger, fresh and still wrapped, just lying in the road. "It genuinely shook me to my core," he told The New York Post around the time of the incident in July 2019.

The reason for the head-scratching has everything to do with geography — and the fact that In-N-Out is a cult-worshipped burger. The chain is almost exclusively a West Coast phenomenon. According to Scrape Hero, the eastern-most state with an In-N-Out restaurant is Texas. So, the presence of a fresh burger that was thousands of miles from its grill simply boggled Boehm, who told the paper that every time he's tried to bring one back from California to New York it becomes "inedible" with a soggy bun. He added, "This one was just in such perfect condition... It just felt strange... at first I thought it was some sort of viral marketing thing."

So, Boehm took some photos that were uploaded to his Instagram. Then, he spent the next four days searching for an answer to the mystery. His original theory — before the case was eventually solved – was that some wealthy individual brought In-N-Out burgers back with them via a private jet. And, once in New York, they might have thrown a few into the street as a prank on Californian expats that remain devoted to their state's national treasure.

The In-N-Out mystery has been solved

Four days of hype ensued after Boehm's initial discovery, as seen in his own words in an authored Vice article: "I assumed this was just a mystery that would consume a part of my brain until the day I die, much like how the JFK assassination consumed my parents' generation."

However, as People notes, after those first few days, an answer finally appeared. A Brooklyn teenager by the name of Helen reached out to Boehm to explain that she had visited relatives in San Diego and, before her return, had stopped by an In-N-Out Burger joint to try the local novelty, grabbing some bites to go. In order to preserve the burgers for as long as possible, the 16-year-old student followed an employee's advice to order them without sauce and with the vegetables packaged separately to reconstruct later. On the way home from the airport, the Brooklynite said her bag opened as she chased down a bus, which ended up dropping one of the burgers into the road. And because she's only five-foot-two, the burger was thankfully not damaged, leading to Boehm's near religious experience.

Perhaps the whole thing was overblown, but at least now someone has learned the right way to transport this precious cargo from coast to coast.