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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.

59 comments on “In-N-Out Burger Opening Madness in Dallas: A Report From the Field

  1. “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.

  2. 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!

  3. @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.

  4. 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.

  5. @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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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 ;)

  9. 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.