In-N-Out Burger Coming to TexasBy Todd • May 30th, 2010 • Category: Burger Blog
If everything is, in fact, bigger in Texas, then residents of the Dallas suburb of Garland had better get ready for some ungodly-long lines. The iconic California burger chain In-N-Out has confirmed long-rumored plans to expand its reach to the Lone Star State for the first time.
That was the scene in 2007 when In-N-Out opened its first location in the Tucson, AZ area. By the store’s 4th day of business, the line of cars waiting at the drive-thru was still 1,000 deep. The burgers may be outstanding, as evidenced by the chain’s showing in Esquire’s recent poll of famous chefs’ fast-food faves, but fanaticism seems to be what In-N-Out really specializes in.
The 62-year-old chain operates with an unusual level of secrecy and has never franchised; all 245 locations (in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah) are privately owned by the company and sited within 1 day’s drive of the chain’s lone distribution center in Baldwin Park, CA. The Garland store will be the first outside that 500-mile radius, meaning that the chain will have to open a second patty production facility and distribution center in Big D. And that means that In-N-Out’s first location in Texas certainly won’t be its last.
As you can see, In-N-Out’s menu is astonishingly sparse, remaining true to co-founder Harry Snyder’s guiding philosophy, “Keep it real simple. Do one thing and do it the best you can.” No chicken sandwiches. No wraps. No jalapeno poppers, mozzarella sticks or fried cheesecake bites. The craziest they get is the not-so-secret “secret menu” of a handful of unadvertised items available anytime at every store, like a grilled cheese sandwich and their famous “Animal Style” burgers and fries (the burger is dipped in mustard before cooking; the fries are smothered with cheese, onions, and sauce).
You can also order extra-large 3×3 and 4×4 burgers (triple and quadruple both the meat and cheese, respectively). In fact, until just recently, In-N-Out would allow you keep custom-building your burger bigger and bigger, adding patties and cheese slices at will. But after a group of 8 party pals tied up the kitchen of one Vegas store with a 100×100 order, the line was drawn at 4.
I wish I could chime in with my own personal take on why this burger joint has developed such a cultlike following. But I got nothing. Truth is, I actually made it to an In-N-Out Burger once. I’d flown to Phoenix to visit my brother. It was late. I’d spent all day in airports and airplanes. I was starving and jet-lagged. He took me to In-N-Out, down the street from his apartment. I had heard of it, but didn’t realize it was some sort of institution. I was stunned by the tiny menu. And I wolfed down my Double-Double so fast that today I can’t list a single distinctive thing about it. Now that I know more about the legendary chain, I’ve often wished I could have a do-over. With family in Dallas, it looks like I may get my wish soon.
In the meantime, as you wait for In-N-Out to make it to your neck of the woods, check out the book In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules. Written in 2009 by Stacy Perman and published by HarperCollins, it’s a fascinating look at the chain’s rich history and truly unique place in both the modern fast-food landscape and American culture. Once you devour the 288 pages, you’ll have a much better understanding of why the Texas debut of In-N-Out is such a monumental deal.
You’ll also be pretty damn hungry for an Animal Style Double-Double.