In-N-Out Burger Opening Madness in Dallas: A Report From the Field

In-N-Out staff smile through the store window before opening the doors.

Brooks Powell spent some time last night and early this morning at the opening of the first In-N-Out in Texas. Not only did he get to talk to the owner of the company, but he met the first guy in line and the first guy in the drive-thru line. These are serious INO fans (aka freaks). Jump for Powell’s report.

The Bun Also Rises
By Brooks Powell

Followers of Southern California’s In-N-Out Burger chain sometimes describe their experiences as religious in nature. Some say the burgers are heaven. Others compare the cheesy, greasy patties to God Himself.

One such devotee is Ron Russek, a 44-year-old Southern California transplant to Cleburne. He owns a total of nine Domino’s Pizza franchises in DFW and Waco but gave up his day job for two days this week to stake his claim as first in line for an In-N-Out Burger at Texas’ first store, which officially opened this morning in Allen as In-N-Out #255. (Frisco’s is store #256, so it’s technically the second store in Texas.)

Russek is more than an In-N-Out enthusiast. He claims to have eaten at more than 170 locations and admits to having slept overnight to be the first customer at several stores. He has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of store locations and can recite on cue exactly how to get to each using street names.

For the record, his burger is a Double-Double (two patties, two slices of cheese) with spread (the company’s special sauce), lettuce, ketchup, and pickles.

The draw, Russek says, is the quality of the product and the customer service. “It’s always fresh, never frozen, and I like having real potatoes for my fries,” he says. “But the service just blows everybody away.” Russek says he’s had just two mistaken orders in nearly a lifetime of eating In-N-Out, and both times the mistake was corrected immediately.

Kip Cummings, 47, is another In-N-Out devotee — but he’s even more fanatical. Faced with a choice of attending his son’s graduation as a pre-med student from Louisiana State University or missing the opening of Texas’ first In-N-Out store, Cummings told his son to videotape graduation. He was headed to Dallas.

Cummings is an insurance salesman who splits time between Shreveport, Louisiana, and Lufkin, Texas. His upbringing in Los Angeles left him with an insatiable In-N-Out craving that he seeks to satisfy no matter the cost. Cummings says that when he flies to a state with In-N-Outs, he selects the airport based on how quickly he can get his lips around a juicy Double-Double.

At the store opening in Allen, Cummings was first in line to get drive-through service, which, he says he knew would be exactly the same as he has experienced in his native California.

“I’ve been eating In-N-Out for nearly 40 years, and the burgers now are exactly the same as they were then,” he says. “It’s all about consistency.”

Tuesday afternoon, Russek and Cummings were invited to a ribbon-cutting and special reception for In-N-Out VIPs at the store. The menu: In-N-Out burgers, of course. So, technically, those in attendance, including company execs and Allen’s mayor, were the first to eat In-N-Out in Texas. But who’s keeping track?

On hand Tuesday afternoon and early Wednesday morning for the grand opening, Lynsi Martinez, the owner of the In-N-Out chain, says she’s ecstatic about the brand moving into Texas. “It’s been a long time that we’ve been talking about coming to Texas,” Martinez says. “Actually, being here today, and it being a reality — and us being this far from where we started — it’s monumental.”

For now, the privately owned burger company plans a total of seven locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including locations soon to open in Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Irving.

As for the religious nature of the burgers and the company’s faithful following, customers might be intrigued to know two scripture references are included on the company’s packaging. John 3:16 is found on the bottom of every cup, and Revelation 3:20 is printed on every burger wrapper. The tradition dates back to the company’s founding in 1948.

Lynsi Martinez, the owner of In-N-Out left.

Comments

  • Brian

    That is just sad. People have f-ed up priorities. It is just a burger, fatty.

  • LJ

    You missed your son’s college graduation for a damn hamburger? You are a worthless waste of a father.

  • Bronco

    I remember when Krispy Kreme and Steak n Shake came along with the same hoopla. Now I drive by a couple of the empty former locations every day. Years ago it was Crystal’s Pizza…does anyone even remember that place today?

  • Steve

    according to wikipedia, the bible quotes did not happen until sometime during the ’80’s, however I recall seeing them in the early ’70’s as a kid. But since I grew up in Baldwin Park, CA., maybe those locations were the first.

    But I’m with the other Californians on this, this is the best! Brian and LJ, we forgive you.

  • Ken

    In N Out is a culture that most people just don’t understand. I’d gladly miss my son’s graduation for a chance at a Double Double right now. For those who don’t get it, you just never will. Hey In N Out – how about some So Cal love in D.C.!!??

  • Go away

    Yup, this is all we need. Another fast food place in the DFW area. The people are so skinny here already! LOL

  • Agreed

    I agree with the rest. If you missed your kid’s graduation from ANYTHING to get a burger you deserve to be kicked in the wedding tackle. HARD. Missing a couple of days of work would just be a punch in the face.

  • White Castle

    This is nice and all, but how about bringing down some White Castle? Those would KILL here in DFW.

  • Buggy

    Sorry to say… I went to try one of these burgers this morning..after the LONG wait in line I got the “famed” burger. Not all it is hyped up to be. I just left “Griffs Burger” in Mesquite for lunch… MUCH BETTER THAN THE HYPE! I won’t be going back to “In-N-Out” anytime soon…food is not all that good, and the service was far from good…too many people trying to be on tv and have their pics taken. Oh yeah… I said no pickles, but they ended up on the burger anyway!

  • txspammie

    I know R.W. would love to have a burger!

  • atom44wat

    Man that was a good burger!!!! I spent 2 hours in that line and would do it all over again. I could ask for more friendly service. My burger came just the way I wanted it. Stock! Lettuce, Tomato, Spread, and onion if you’d like. BTW you only get pickles if you ask for them 🙂

  • JG

    @Buggy – I call complete and utter bullshit on your “story.” Nice try trolling a food blog.

  • Virg

    Sorry Buggy… you got it all wrong!!! Everyone knows In n Out does not have pickles on their burgers but they do have pickles for those that request them. So I ageee with JG you are so full of it!!! Hey even try the shakes delightful too!!!

    So Buggy go to Grifffs (had them in FW nothing to brag about) Thats one less person in line at In n Out.

    Everything is FRESH at In n Out never frozen, lettuce is hand leafed, fries cut on premises etc

  • Rienone

    Jeez! In-N-Out is SOOOOOOO overrated and crappy! Dont be stupid americans and tjhink there is something special about this place… There is not! It WILL NOT fulfill the expectation that has been built up by out of state-ers. I PROMISE you have had better fast food burgers around here.

  • In N Out Lovah

    I second that BS call on Buggy. Who has the time (not to mention desire) to wait in line at In-N-Out all morning, eat a burger, and then go to a different place for another burger for lunch? BS, Buggy, BS!

  • Rienone

    Morons!

  • Hilare

    First of all, sorry to say, INO’s is certainly not a fad. Since their inception in 1948 and now 256 stores later, there has never been a location shut down, closed nothing, nor any associates ever laid off. INO is here to stay. But honestly it’s one of those places you’re obsessed with or could live without. Buggy is definitely making stuff up on his “visit.” There is a possiblity on the pickles thing if he ordered “Animal Style”, because that would automatically come with pickles, but there is absolutely no was in hades he received “far from good service.” Especially with an opening and 100+ associates working… not going to happen.

  • Hilare

    Maybe all you haters could focus on the 1000’s of jobs that In-N-Out is bringing to your state (well-paying ones for that matter), or the 100’s of families who are relocating to expand the company and will be buying homes, and bringing more business to TX companies.

  • MC

    You haters just like to gripe. You like to be the ones that poke at other’s. INO is a superior burger & fry. It may not be the best ever, but it’s not ‘crappy’ by any means and it is not stupid to be a fan of a company that provides decent wages & benefits to their employees, sells a very inexpensive product, and most of all, gives us the highest possible quality available. Go ahead and keep hating.

  • MC

    And to those of you who say it will be gone next year. I will love it when you are proved wrong. Steak & Shake was over-priced and while it had a decent burger, was not a fun eating experience. The rest of their food was below average.

  • JB

    I am a southern cali native and Im sorry to say that if you take away Animal Style the burgers are mediocre at best…its a fact, the meat is just OK. Fries on the other hand, no complaints here 🙂
    But for the idiot who would missed his son’s graduation for a burger, that’s RIDICULOUS!

  • MDS

    Wow – Kip Cummings. I can’t believe you missed your child’s graduation to buy a hamburger. You seriously need to re-examine your priorities. SMH

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  • I went this morning to the Allen store and the service was awesome. The burger was good, the fries were better, and everyone that worked there was super helpful. So saying the service sucked seems a little silly, considering today of all days would be the day they’re working hardest at customer service.

  • Twinwillow

    I’m with all the lovers of In-N-Out burger and totally agree with Hilare regarding the jobs, etc. Gotta look at the big picture and what 7 new stores and a prep facility means to the economy of North Texas and the DFW area. And besides, I love In-N-Out burger. Double, double animal style and extra crisp fries for me.

  • Hospitality Instructor

    I am not sure I REALLY believe that this guy skipped a grauation ceremony for INO. Sounds like BS attention grabbing. But whatevs.

    I will be in line for a Animal Double Double with extra pickles, IN TWO MONTHS. Jeez.

  • The wait is over! Let the hangovers be cured!

  • Suzanne

    As a So Cal Resident I can assure you that you will not want another “fast food” burger after In-n-Out! The ordering lingo is awesome! My fav double double spread only grilled onions! Welcome to a So Cal tradition!!! My friends in Dallas are very happy!

  • ok its way better than mcdonalds and burger king But not better than whataburger ! But overall the hype of waiting in line for it was great got to meet alot of people in line that was the awesome part! Everyone was smiling no one was gripping about the wait that made it even greater ! Love the Experinence thanks In and Out Burgers for coming to Texas!!!!!!!!!!!! love now you biggest fan Paula

  • Mark

    I’m from New Jersey. I live 5 minutes outside of Manhattan and I’ve been to the IN and Out in L.A. I think it was in Hollywood. It was about 4 years ago and still till this day I miss that delicious burger!! Best burger I’ve ever had in my life and I am a 4th generation butcher!! I know my meat!! In and Out please come to the east coast!!!!!!

  • Narg

    For those that get upset at the “fanatics” here, and in the story… Hey, it’s their problem not yours. If you have a problem with them, then YOU have a problem, not them. You’ve only lowered yourself to _below_ their level. Nobody needs to follow YOUR lifestyle. Get over yourself.

  • Penelope

    Oh yeah, well I’m a 5th generation butcher on my mother’s side and 6th generation butcher on my father’s side. And I love it more…so…

  • Penelope

    Oh yeah? Well I’m a 5th generation butcher on my mother’s side and 6th generation butcher on my father’s side, and I love it more…so…

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  • Matt

    I live in Southern California. There are 2 In-N-Out burger’s within 5 miles of me.

    PEOPLE – FOR FUCK’S SAKE. IT’S NOT THAT GOOD.

  • RICH

    I’m not the best burger critic, but I do like IN-N-OUT burgers. They are tasty and have always used fresh ingredients. Their beef paddies are from 100% beef from one source,no soy fillers and never frozen. The buns are baked fresh daily. Real ice cream in their shakes an floats. Their menu has barely changed in 60 years. Their philosophy:Keep it simple.Do one thing and do it well..and customers will keep coming back.

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  • Jessica

    Guys – I totally get it! I would wait in line for hours as well. I mean come on, it’s only open for a short time, get it before it goes!

    Oh wait, you mean that store is open permanently?? IDIOTS.

  • Hilary

    Maybe this will help:
    “In-N-Out was one of the very few restaurant chains given a positive mention in the book “Fast Food Nation”. The book commended the chain for using natural, fresh ingredients, cleanliness and great treatment of employees.”

  • Suzanne Castillo Devlin

    Yes……they do have a pickle. The dressing is really no secret. It’s 1000 Island. The reason In-N-Out are iconic is because they are made with top quality ingredients and fresh ingredients. For less then $5.00 you get a cheeseburger, fries and a drink. A little more for a Double-Double and a shake made with real quality ice cream. I love mine with grilled onions. Want something different? Just ask and you’ll be met with a smile. Never, ever, rude; always spotless and they pay their employees $2 an hour more then the usual minimum wage to start and benefits we would all love on our jobs: healthcare, dental and eye care plus pensions. Their mangers make very good money. I went to school with Donnie back in the 50’s into 1962 when he worked there after school and on weekends. He’s now an executive with this fabulous company. Lynsi is the third generation owner and grand daughter of Ester and Harry Snyder, the founders of this iconic company that remains family owned. No franchises have ever been sold. Not ever!

  • Ponderosa

    IN-N-OUT is the best!!! Try out not-on-the-posted-menu items:
    – protein style burgers (lettuce wrap instead of buns)
    – grilled cheese
    – neapolitan shake (layers)
    – fries cooked just the way you want (there are 7 levels; 3 above “normal” and 3 below)
    – 4×4 burger
    etc.

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  • George

    Buggy is a liar. They don’t come with a pickle. LOL!

  • InNout Lover89

    Okay I’m from Las Vegas to me In-N-Out has the best burgers ever. Everyone has different taste so yes there is going to be people who disagree but if you don’t agree then just save your comment. I have been here in Texas for 3 years and had been waiting for one to open. I hadn’t had one since last August when we went back to Las Vegas for Vacation. So yes the 2hour wait at the Allen location was most definitely worth it. By the way PICKLES only come on the burger IF YOU ASK FOR THEM! I have taken some family who had never had it before and they agreed as well.

  • Emilia Rak

    I had a very unpleasant InNOut experience in CA and vowed never to frequent again. I only have a burger one/two times a year so if I’m going to have one it had better be good. The wait was unbelievable and once we got our food (it was over an hour) there was absolutely no place to eat it. Since we were on the Harley we had only a trash can to eat over. NO THANK YOU. No food anywhere is *special enough* for me to eat over a trash can. Needless to say, my stomach turned and I lost my appetite. (I am petitte and eat frequently so when I get hungry I have to eat NOW.) Now a few years later while serfing the web, I read about the Heart Attack Grill opening in downtown Dallas. I just had to go and it was a treat. Funny thing? I only learned about InNOut’s simultaneous opening because of the information posted on the thread about Heart Attack Grill. LOL The burgers were awesome. The atmosphere was fun. The service was GREAT. The wait was manageable and we sat and ate at the counter like human beings, not like animals at InNOut. Sorry… but I won’t be going to InNOut for any reason whatsoever. By stark contrast, I will frequent the Heart Attack Grill whenever I get those infrequent pangs for some good old-fashioned unhealthy down-home, fresh-made burgers and a Pabst Blue Ribbon with my candy cigarettes served to me by friendly waitresses. Good Luck InNOut…

  • adam

    I moved from southern cal. to San Antonio five years ago. One of the things I’ve missed was in-n-out. It’s easy to tell when someone is making up BS about this great food chain. Dallas is very lucky. Damn…I wish they would come to San Antonio. Sigh.

  • Adrienne

    In N Out Kicks ass! It’s not just a burger, It’s the whole experience. Screw all of you that bitch about it!! To the person that said fatty honey u must be the fatty!!!!

  • Disgusted

    In N Out does NOT treat their employees well. My daughter has worked at a location here in Arizon for over 3 years now. Works hard, made Allstar but only got to work one week at a new location (same for the other allstars), goes in early to help out whenever she can etc, yet after all these years still has to beg to get more than 14 hours a week even though she is constantly informing management that she wants to move up within the company. And to top it off, is required to purchase her own white work pants at $45 a pop. Only the ones that do not have to pay bills or raise a family have the chance to suck it up and work the years needed to finally reach a good level within the company.

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  • “BJ’s Butcher Boy” in Russellville (AR) is delicious: fresh meat, real fries, great service. Even better and more consistent than “5 Guys”, in my opinion. Will compare to INO once the crowds leave. And, BJ’s has pickles on the burger if you want ’em.

  • HoustonCarol

    Ok, born and bred in TX, lived in Cali for a while. I love INO hamburgers, the fries had to grow on me though. Used to think Whataburger and Sonic were the best but they pale in comparison. 5 Guys makes me sick, the smell of the place is nauseating. Although missing my daughter’s graduation for anything won’t happen but to have one here is well worth it. Road trip anyone???…..From Houston…INO bound!

  • Hilare

    @Disgusted: There are always two sides to every story. The All Star program isn’t like in baseball, you don’t make it, you volunteer and get accepted. And if she’s been at the same store for 3 years and is not moving up then something is missing. The managers are tracked on their associates’ progress, so she would stick out like a sore thumb if that’s the case. A parent complaining about her child’s job on an internet site could be the start of the problem. Accountablility, Responsibility, Ownership.

  • Neil

    INO is the Best fast food burger hands down. Its head and shoulders BETTER than Whataburger, Smashburger, McDonalds, Wendys, Carls jr,. All the ingrediants are fresh, the food is consistent and you get out there will a full double double combo for 6 bux! Awesome! Are there better burgers? Yeah, usually at restaurant type places and usually at two to three times the price….but are they dramatically better? No not really.

  • Neil

    @emilia rack. You wont give in n out a chance because the one time you went it was too crowded to get a seat? Arent you being a little unreasonable? Think about it any fast food restaurant is limited by the size of its location. Running out of seats at a busy lunch time or a particularly day is out of any restaurants control. They didnt serve you bad food or give you bad service. They didnt seat you at the trash can. You or your friend/husband/date chose to eat there. This is not a valid post as to say why INO is good or not. Be fair.

  • Sara G

    I don’t know that much about INO, but I hate Heart Attack Grill. I want them shut down, how are they able to keep that filthy business obtained?

  • Tamica from Cali

    If you have never been to an In N Out and you have talked junk about people going to extreme measures to eat something…I can’t wait until you wrap your lips around a Double Double. The moment you do…all will be so clear and your questions will be answered. I’ll be driving 3.5 hours just to eat one. Also, In N Out burger lines a always long…so in about a year when you think the “Hype” has died down and people will forget about the “new place”…you will be eating your own words. Find any In N Out and you will see….because I’ve can remember many times as a kid in the 90’s where it took forever just to order your food. People, stop being so uptight and narrow minded. In N Out will be around and yummy for a long time.

  • We heard many great things about In N Out Burger and tried couple days ago, after 3 days of grand opening In N Out in Frisco location we waited 25mins to get inside, ordered double double and fries, It was pretty quick after the order, taste was great and enjoyed it with In N Out hats on 😉

  • Judy

    75 and 71 we are. Son taking us tonight to Allen from Ennis, Tx. for INO. Can’t wait to get there-we’ve been there since the very first in Ca. and now they’ve finally come to Texas.
    All you out there. . .good burgers everywhere, but INO is in a league of its own. I’ll let you know when I get back, if I can still speak.