In-N-Out Burger in Dallas: Let’s Talk About It

Animal style double double in Long Beach.

My good friend Evan and I like to go to In-N-Out Burger. On a slow news day Evan half-heartedly encourages me to “throw up a post” on In-N-Out to get SideDish moving. It’s a hot topic and it keeps Twinwillow busy.

Rumors about In-N-Out Burger coming to Dallas have been swirling for years. I am sick of calling headquarters and getting the usual corporate retort: “At the moment we have no plans, blah, blah, blah, but that doesn’t mean that blah, blah, blah in the future.”

So last week when I shared a meal with a commercial real estate dude who promised me he was “on the inside” of the deal, I kept quiet. He gave me specific sites and growth plans and business strategies. I thought, wow I’m finally going to get confirmation and this is really going to happen.

Then I started to think. If In-N-Out Burger came to Dallas, where would I eat when I go to Las Vegas? Or Phoenix? Or Napa Valley?

Jack Bauer couldn’t save Krispy Kreme Donuts in Dallas.

Any of you remember the craziness that surrounded Krispy Kreme Donuts when they opened in Dallas? It was like an intense rescue scene from Season 7 of 24: A helicopter hovers over an urban Krispy Kreme store where thousands of innocent customers wait for hot donuts. Inside, a Russian terrorist inserts tiny nuclear rods into the cinnamon twists rolling off the line. Jack Bauer dangles on a rope from a helicopter. Spoiler alert: He  kills ten terrorists and hands a small Middle Eastern child a bag of warm glazed donuts. Fade out.

Sorry, I  got a little off track there but the point is that even Jack Bauer couldn’t save Krispy Kreme. Last year they closed nearly half of their Dallas-area stores.

I love the thrill of hitting an In-N-Out when I’m out of town. It’s a guilty pleasure.  Perhaps putting an In-N-Out Burger location by Bachman Lake would ruin the allure, mystique, and fascination of procuring an animal-style double double. Should we be careful what we ask for?


  • Gipson

    It’s a risk, but it’s one I’m willing to take.

    Actually, the real irony for me is that, as much noise as I make about wanting In-n-Out Burger in Dallas (or Plano, actually), I know I’ll end up going there very rarely. The wife and I have struck fast food from the diet, so it would be a kind of inexpensive splurge restaurant. So close by, yet still a hallowed destination.

  • pistol

    From sprawl, to plastic surgery, to strip malls, to superficiality, Dallas becomes a little more like greater L.A. every year.

    Go What-A-Burger, go!

  • charm offensive

    I, for one, welcome our new burger overlords…

  • James

    If you remember, there was a similar buzz about Steak N Shake. People were extolling the greatness of the Steak Burger and how this place would clean up in Dallas. I even remember Kidd Kraddick talking about it on the radio many years ago before they moved into the DFW area. I’m sure business has been okay for them, but was it the game changer people thought it was going to be? I’ve actually seen several locations already close and I rarely hear from anyone who says they go to Steak N Shake… Just like Krispy Kreme, people will soon realize it’s nothing but overhyped food. Should be interesting!

  • tom

    They basically have copied the original “hot and juicy” Wendy’s burger except round, not square hamburger patty. Meh………..

  • CABornNRaised

    I really hope this is true and not just another rumor!!! I grew up in CA and took advantage of it and now I miss it…and no, I’m not 500 pounds.

    There’s nothing like a good protein style burger with fries and a chocolate shake!

  • I’ve enjoyed In-N-Out on trips out west, and think it’s great that they’ll be coming here. Not that I don’t like our existing burger joints, but what’s bad about more burger options? Yes, we’ve got a lot already but judging by the out the door lines at many of these places, the market is not saturated yet.

    I think 5 Guys and Jacks are the closest things to an In-N-Out style burger that we’ve currently got – would y’all agree?

  • luke

    i fly to cali 8+ times a year – in’n out is top priority.

    in’n out quality is far beyond steak & shake, and who goes out to eat doughnuts for lunch/dinner? gross

    as a person who ate in’n out last week – i say bring it on. i prefer it over whatever we’ve got around here for sure

  • Me

    In ‘N Out isn’t anything special. People who go because of the (baffling) mystique will be disappointed.

  • Jim

    Tom, my thoughts exactly.

    They’re a little better than Wendy’s.

    Not as good as Whataburger.

    But I’ll take Maple and Motor every day of the week over In-N-Out.

  • Double/Double Animal Style and well-done animal fries are something I enjoy at the In N Out when im either in LA or Vegas. Im hoping these rumors prove true and they are moving into the market, as its a place that both makes fresh food from high quality ingredients AND pays their f/t employees a true living wage plus provides amazing benefits.

  • JonnyDallas

    Hmmm…What specific sites? And are they moving into areas where Whataburger does not have a presence? Like say…Casa Linda. Its a good little drive from my hood to a Whataburger. Or Lakewood. Or Oak Cliff. Or Deep Ellum. Or Downtown. Or a number of other areas around town.

    A quick check of Whatburger’s website listed 20 stores when I searched a 25 mile radius and input ‘Dallas, Texas” as the search criteria. So 9 stores is gonna be a lot of competition. I would think they would target Whatburger poor locations.

    If they put all of them in Addison/Plano/Frisco/McKinney/Yankee-land, I may never ever go there and just stick to the Dairy-Ette. Screw ’em.

  • I have a feeing that In-N-Out is looking at quite a few of the closed Steak N Shake locations around town, as the buildings are plentiful and ready for a flip over.

  • Mark

    Whataburger > In-N-Out. In-N-Out doesn’t suck, they’re consistent and certainly better than the Texas outlets of Steak ‘n Shake. They’re just not as good as Whataburger.

    Of course, Nancy apparently disagrees so YMMV.

  • Brandon

    1) Commercial real estate guys are full of sh*t. I know this because I am one of them.

    2) In-n-Out Burger is OVERRATED!

    I’m not buying this until I see/hear something official from the company or see evidence of the companies ownership of a property on the appraisal district website.

  • What-a-burger is a poor comparison to what one would call a “decent burger”. In N Out has pretty strict quality control over their product(meat/buns/veg/ice cream) put into their stores. In other words: you dont see the Sysco truck pulling up to their door every third tuesday of the month, you see their corporate trucks delivering to their stores every single morning without fail..

  • tom

    I predict the same business life cycle as any other ballyhooed fast food chains entering our market. Long lines at first followed by slow decline with half the locations closing within 3-4 years…………Soggy buns and soggy fries are nothing to get excited about…………..

  • Jason

    Trying to compare Wendy’s and Whataburger to In and Out, is way off! While I believe that a lot of North Texans won’t get In and Out in the same way that folks from California do, In and Out is one of the few fast food chains that really do it right. The burgers are always fresh and they use real ice cream in their shakes. The fries are freshly cut every day and never frozen. Simply put, their food epitomizes what was great about the old school drive in. YOU WOULD NEVER GET A MICROWAVED BURGER FROM IN AND OUT. I hope this is a true rumor and I hope the fickle 500 (or 5,000 in this case) give it a chance.

  • Glenn Campbell

    In n out burger, greatly overrated. You’d over rate it too if your best fast alternative was a fish taco.

    We need a white barn. That would be a coup.

  • Robb

    I grew up in California and loved he outings to In-n-Out. Since I moved to Texas, I either have to go to a restaurant style place like Jake’s or Snuffers when I want a good burger…as the drive-through burger joints like Whataburger, Sonic & Braum’s just don’t come close. There is something to be said about Whataburger later at night…or Sonic’s burgers from time to time…but give me In-n-Out anytime over any of the above.

    Bring it In-n-Out!

  • Royal with Cheese

    It seems unlikely for the same reason it hasn’t happened yet. In-N-Out Burger does not freeze their food, so all restaurants are within a few hour’s drive of Baldwin Park, CA. Maybe they’ll change their entire structure to accomodate stores in the Dallas suburbs, but that strikes me as a way long shot.

  • clark

    Yay the Dairy-Ette!!! Best burger in Dallas.

    I think that the Burger House in East Dallas is pretty close to In-n-Out, only plus a big dose of Woodrow snottiness.

    And, Krispy Kreme had a lot of problems besides their donuts suck. They saturated the market BAD plus they cannibalized their stores by selling through other channels. In-n-Out is not well-known for stupidly fast expansion, and you won’t see those burgers at Minyard’s either so bad comparison.

  • Coop DeVille

    Companies love to make money, and it’s pretty easy if their product is definitively better than the competition. If In-n-out was that much better than anything we already had, we’d have them already. I assume the persistent delays in expanding to here means they don’t foresee maintaining dominance over the long enough term to outweigh the initial investment.

  • Mark

    OK, not going to get dragged into a lengthy discussion about this, but…

    At the end of the day, it’s not about whether your tomatoes come from a mega-distributor or whether we poor stupid Texans don’t “get” In-N-Out, it’s about taste and the customer’s perception that he or she enjoyed the visit. Eating fast food is not a holistic experience.

    Perhaps one percent of fast food customers care one whit about how well compensated the person on the other side of the counter/speaker is. My personal experience with In-N-Out is that their employees are no more or less competent than the average fast food worker. As Leo Getz said, even in SoCal you get F-ed at the drive-thru.

  • tom

    What was Wendy’s old slogan??? “We never freeze our hamburger patties…” I have eaten at 7-8 locations in socal and had the same experience at all of them. A decent burger that is messy to eat and soggy fries. No big deal…..

  • Dallas Girl

    I am in Vegas right now and heading to In-and-OUt for lunch….Jealous???

  • luniz

    Not really worth getting excited about, but at least the food there is edible. Compared to Whataburger which is plain awful. Most of the time I’d rather pay $3-4 more and get something vastly superior. But restaurant hamburgers are a once or twice a year deal for me. I’d rather eat them in somebody’s backyard.



  • Rachel

    In ‘N Out is a dream. I recently moved here from LA and definitely think that it would be great to have the franchise out here. Their employees are wonderful and the food is fresh and fantastic. They only have basic burgers on their menu; like Chick-fil-A, because they specialize, they make a consistently good product. If you don’t like In ‘N Out because you’ve had it before, fine. But if you’ve not tried it, definitely don’t knock it. I think it’s wonderful.

  • Sammy

    Anyone who says In-n-Out is overrated is just crazy. It isn’t the Second Coming, but the freshness of the food is something you just don’t get at any other fast food burger joint (and I LOVE me some Whataburger).

    And there is a MAJOR difference in the quality of customer service, and the employees. I don’t know where they ship them in from, but they are consistently friendly, well-groomed, and seem happy to have you as a customer. The only other place I find similar attitudes is at Chickfila. I am so tired of surly, “I’m only here because my probation officer is checking on me” attitude at a majority of the fast food places in Dallas.

  • Brandon, I think you’re on to something.

  • Beda


    There’s a Whataburger on Northwest Highway between Garland and Jupiter Roads. That shouldn’t be too far for you to go.

  • Twinwillow

    Yes Nancy, You’re right. I have been busy. I think I’ve blogged this (perpetual) rumor on every food blog I know.

    I have to agree somewhat with “tom’s” post above. Although I don’t agree with the “soggy buns and soggy fries”, I do agree with his theory regarding chains coming to Dallas from environs where there’re well appreciated and long established and therefore are expecting the same popularity they enjoy from where they originated.

  • Karma Biotch

    @Dallas Girl: No.

    @luniz: How many people invite your sorry ass to their backyard?

    @RICHARD: Nevermind, too obvious.

  • Twinwillow

    I Just read Leslie Brenner’s comments on this subject over at the DMN Eats Blog. Leslie say’s she’s spoken to the people at In-N-Out and they have confirmed to her that they ARE coming to Dallas but, no locations are confirmed as yet.

  • mark

    Does this mean we are getting a Trader Joes also?

  • Seancom

    Now if we could only get a Claim Jumper and Trader Joes here, the Californication of Texas would be complete.

  • Twinwillow

    @Richard: In-N-Out is not a franchise! It’s a 100% family owned chain.
    And, learn to spell and stop shouting!

  • Scagnetti

    Krispy Kreme were exposed for the fraud they really were.

    OTOH, I have already put up $1,000,000 Yankee dollars of guaranteed money in the event that any Dallas In-N-Out Burger would fail.

    My hamburger pants are jumping out of control over the prospects of wallowing in In-N-Out burgers.

  • in dallas

    I have been to In-N-out twice and the second time I just bought t-shirts for the kids. I guess I was expecting the second coming and it just wasn’t. I had a Five Guys burger last week and didn’t think that lived up to the hype either. The fries were pretty amazing though.

  • Chuck

    Only thing remotely decent about Whataburger is their ketchup.

  • Paty

    Wow! First off, In-n-Out is not a franchise; it has been family owned since it opened it’s first drive through in 1948, and has grown to over 200 stores. The menu has remained virtually unchanged in all that time, so someone should check their facts before they claim that they copied Wendys! While I would love to see them come to Texas, I personaly don’t think a place that thinks TEX-Mex has any relationship to Mexican food would have any appreciation of what a good burger is!

  • phil

    what about carls jr….they have been in oklahoma for years…..

    what about white castle…..

    less known….what about penn station….

  • JS

    Krispy Kreme is awful.
    Whataburger is average at best.
    Maple & Motor is awesome. I wish they could expand so I didn’t have to get there at 11 am to find a seat, though!
    In-N-Out also is fantastic. Whenever I am somewhere close to an In-N-Out location, it is always a top priority to eat there.

  • Peggy

    I am so excited about In-n-Out coming here! It’s one of those “must do” places when we go to LA to visit friends. We lived there for 20+ years. The last time we were there, we stopped at the In-n-Out near LAX BEFORE we got to the Valley!

    I don’t understand the comments about it being bland. Sure, it’s messy but that’s part of its charm.

    Now, if we could only get a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf … (and Trader Joe’s).

    Has anyone else eaten at Longhorn Steakhouse? That beats Saltgrass anyday.

  • Andrew

    @ Phil- Carl’s Jr is coming to dallas- they are building a location on Lemmon Ave, in an old Keller’s Cactus Jack.

  • JonnyDallas

    @Beda-Three major roads (Garland/Buckner/NW Hwy) and many stop lights and much traffic is too far for me.

    @Whataburger Bashers-You haven’t had a real Whataburger experience (later we’ll talk about why you HAVE to get a double with cheese), or you never gave it a chance instead choosing to lump Whataburger with McDonalds and BK and Wendy’s. For being a fast food burger Whataburger is far superior not only to every other fast burger out there, plus it beats most burger joints, IMO.

    I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, the idea with In-N-Out is to get a multiple patty, right? Double Double or a 3×3 or a 4×4. Right? Same idea with Whataburger. You have to at least get the double to get the real experience.

    I have almost always found Whataburger to provide reasonably fresh veg and buns, I see from their promo material that In-N-Out makes that claim as well.

    INO has a secret menu, Whataburger does it anyway you like it.

    Whataburger is a Texas company. Texans are all about beef. Not much pig or chicken for us thank you, but more cow please. INO is from California. I’m pretty sure Californians are all about avocados and wheat germ and dancing raisins, but maybe they like to eat cows as much as we do. Doubt it, but I’ll give the hairy hippies from Hollywood a chance.

    Really what I am most interested in is 1) is there going to be one near us city folks, and 2)how are INO and Whataburger gonna interact?


    And if any INO people are reading this between slicing avocados and mixing wheat germ, there’s a location at Buckner and Garland Rd. Currently its a place called Fat Daddy’s burgers, but no one in the neighborhood would mind if you just came and kicked them out and took over. There’s also a whole strip where East Grand turns into Garland Rd near the spillway that would be a great location. You could even build your own building to your specs!

  • Sammy

    Hey – I LIKE Fat Daddy’s!

  • Twinwillow

    @pistol ~ Yeah, now if we could only get more of their climate! Sans, earthquakes of course.

  • Big O’

    I agree w/Jim!!! Maple -N- Motor ROCKS!!!!

  • Twinwillow

    @Peggy ~ I Love, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (Montecito). However, I don’t think they can hold a candle to Pearl Cup or Drip here in Dallas.

  • TripleWildcat

    Never fails. When In-N-Out is mentioned the cynics jump at the chance to shout “overrated!” People, it’s a burger. It’s not life-changing. And like said above, you gotta order a double-double. I would bet most of those who cry “overrated” just order a single, no cheese.
    The reason INO hasn’t come here yet is that it’s family-owned and they don’t like to move too fast and overreach. That’s what Krispy Kreme did. Plus, it’s donuts. You’re not going to eat donuts as often as hamburgers. Steak and Shake? Hangover food. Not going to do well as a new entry, especially in suburbs.
    But INO has an aura of quality and trendiness that it should do well, especially with the suburban crowd. Those people can’t get enough of Chick-fil-A, and if you want to talk overrated (and over-priced), it starts with Chick-fil-A.
    Just hate that when INO finally gets here, it will only be in the far-flung suburbs. No way they put one inside the LBJ loop, not in the first wave, anyway.
    And as for local joints, the No. 5 Special at Keller’s comes closest to the INO double-double.

  • joser

    all we need is a Tommy’s chili burger and a Shakey’s Pizza and we would all be happy. Whataburger doesnt even compare to In N Out, the burgers are disgusting…all the CALI people know what im talkin about

  • imjustsaying

    INNOUT has been talking about Texas for 20 years. Part of their master plan to expand east and then back west to fill in the gaps. The Burgers are made from quality ingredients and are pretty consistent. The patties are pretty small though. The fries look like McDonalds fries but taste like *@&%. Bottom line is it’s a good burger, and they do pay well so if you’re looking for a job…jump in line!

  • captain

    I admit it, I started the rumor.

  • Freedom

    I too agree that In n Out is probably the most overrated burger joint I’ve ever been too. Wasn’t bad, just nothing special. Doubt I would ever go over Whataburger or Burger House.

  • JS

    Burger House? Really? I would rather have a hamburger with doodoo as the meat than Burger House. And there is no way that Burger House comes anywhere close to In-N-Out. The folks on here touting the virtues of a Whataburger double have convinced me to give it a try one day soon. But today, Maple & Motor it is!

  • DGirl

    Dear JS, thank you for using doo doo in such an awesome comment. Love, DGirl

  • Chuck

    JS-you are now my leader

  • Echo

    4 Years ago they openned a In and Out in Reno… 1st day, you couldn’t get near the place… and a 1 to 2 hour wait was a requirement! Then they openned a second about 6 months down the road, and it too was a 1 hour wait! I know if they open one here in Dallas… They better build Double-Double cause.. the wait of a Burger and Fries is going to be a very LONG wait!! And hell yeah I’ll work for them they have great wages!!

  • Geof

    Unfortunately this rumor pops up about as often as the rumors of Disney building a theme park in Texas & holds about as much water.

    The company is family owned & it does NOT franchise. Partially because they ship every thing fresh daily, so new markets mean new corporate warehouses. A major part of the appeal is that everything is fresh & the quality is not something they’ll compromise.

    I had called the company a few times letting them know that if they opened a store at the corner of Park & Preston, they’d have a license to print money. All of my fellow transplanted Californians in the Metroplex would have made sure of it.

    But take heart – at least DFW didn’t pranked like NYC did this April Fool’s Day about INO.

  • Turtle

    I can’t believe there are people that even attempt compare Steak&Poop to In-n-Out Burgers. Their pattys are so thin you can literally see through them. Steak&Shake barely ranks above a basic cheeseburger from McD’s & doesn’t even come close to measuring up to What A Burger much less INO.
    I’m a Cali native by birth & IMO other than an original Big Boy from Bob’s Big Boy(it was sad to see that empire collapse, only a few left these days) or Double Double & shake from INO is the only thing I miss from CA. What-A-Burger & INO in the same area would be like finding fast food burger heaven.

  • Kevin

    Not one person here mentioned Mooyah. I have eaten over 1,000 Double-Doubles in my life so I know them well but Mooyah burgers are pretty close in quality (not taste).

    But the best burger I’ve found in Dallas comes from a literal hole-in-the-wall. It is located in the downtown Dallas underground underneath the Bank of America building. It is called Melters and their burgers AND fries are amazing. I’ll take those over In-N-Out any day. I just wish they would expand.

  • Brandon

    I don’t understand any of these people posting comments here. Whataburger is mediocre. It’s no better than Jack-in-the-Box or Wendy’s. Carl’s Jr. is way better than Whataburger. And In-n-Out beats the hell out of Carl’s Jr. Saying Whataburger is better than In-n-Out is like saying that McDonalds is better than White Castle. Seriously, Whataburger is overrated. In-n-Out is not. There is a reason there’s a 10-15 minute wait for In-n-Out and there’s never any wait for Whataburger.