Nothing builds an intimate bond like a shared secret. For years, In-N-Out Burger benefited from a “secret menu” that only aficionados knew about. Wink and ask for a “2-by-4” and you got two burger patties with four slices of cheese. A request for your burger “Animal Style” got you mustard, pickles and grilled onions. Now it has become the “Not-So-Secret Menu” and is on the chain’s website, but it’s still cool to have a private language.
Now The Habit Burger Grill–which, like In-N-Out, is based in Irvine, Calif.—has stepped forward to claim that it, too, has had a “secret menu” that it has decided to expose. This may sound like an attempt to make a new menu introduction sound mysterious and sexy, but, no, the 57-unit chain insists that employees and customers have ordered items not on the menu for decades.
A “Santa Barbara Style” Double Char Cheese burger is one of these blown-cover former secrets. It has two beef patties, grilled onions, chopped avocado, tomato, mayo and lettuce on grilled sourdough. Avocado’s already on the menu as a $1 add-on, but now this combination is being officially promoted, so customers won’t have to remember the long name or complex build. The chain says this is one of the its most popular items “even though it’s never officially been on the menu.”
Another “secret” the chain says it is outing is the “Half & Half” side (half french fries, half onion rings). It also claims that a Caesar salad with grilled albacore tuna and teriyaki can be ordered, though it, too, is a secret. Shhh.