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The long wait for In-N-Out Burger

By Daniel Williams; photo by Terri Wiebold

Picture of sign

A frequent stop for travelers landing at LAX, this In-N-Out Burger location is only a few minutes from the airport. The iconic branding of In-N-Out Burger and its signature palm trees is synonymous with Southern California, although the brand is now in six (soon-to-be seven) states.

By now you have probably heard that In-N-Out Burger, the California burger joint with the cult following, is expanding to Colorado. But if your mouth begins to water upon hearing that news, you might want to temper your enthusiasm. According to Denny Warnick, vice president of operations for In-N-Out, it could be three years before the first patty fries in the Centennial State.

Carl Arena, vice president of development for the company, announced last November that In-N-Out “plans to build a patty production facility and distribution center in Colorado Springs to support future restaurants in Colorado.” The burger chain agreed to buy a 22-acre site at Victory Ridge, a 153-acre mixed-used development in northern Colorado Springs.

This patty factory will allow In-N-Out to distribute burgers to some 50 restaurants within 350 miles of the facility, according to Otis Moore, a principal with Westside Investment Partners, the Denver-based developer of Victory Ridge.

“They won’t have to be frozen,” said Moore. “The patty factory will allow In-N-Out to deliver fresh burgers to those surrounding locations.”

Moore added that In-N-Out will roll out the first location at Victory Ridge. When asked if residents in the Castle Pines or neighboring communities could expect a location sometime in the future, Moore said, “No other locations have been announced. We’ll have to wait and see.”

I was introduced to the tasty burgers in 2000 when I moved to Orange County, CA and promptly gained 20 pounds. I worked in an office park in Irvine and had an In-N-Out within walking distance, but chose to drive so I could begin eating those scalding cheese fries while still in the drive-thru lane.

I became a vegetarian three years ago, but when I am asked what I miss most about my former diet, I reel off a quick list: Fried chicken, crispy fried chicken, original recipe fried chicken and the Animal Style burger from In-N-Out.

Wait, what? If you look for “Animal Style” on an In-N-Out menu, you will not find it. That is because the burger chain has a “secret” menu known only to its fanatics. This secret menu carries items such as: The Flying Dutchman, two patties with cheese melted between them; Protein Style, a burger with no buns but instead is wrapped in lettuce; or, the aforementioned Animal Style burger, a mustard-grilled patty that is covered in pickles and grilled onions and smothered in cheese.

For now, Coloradans will have to wait (and wait and wait) for a chance to place their order.


The first In-N-Out facility opened in Baldwin Park, California, a city located in the San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County, in 1948. Since then, the headquarters relocated to Irvine and a total of 328 restaurants have popped up throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Utah.



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