Animal-style. Double-double. Neapolitan milkshake. The cult around In-N-Out, the California-based burger chain, is so intense that even people who don't live near one are familiar with the items on its "secret menu."
For as long as CultureMap has existed, we've tracked every rumor, every hint that someday Houstonians might get to decide for themselves how In-N-Out compares to beloved Texas fast food joint Whataburger. We've seethed as first Dallas, then Austin, then San Antonio (are-you-freaking-kidding-me?!?) got their own outposts before we did.
It seems the city's seven year-long wait may finally be coming to an end. Speaking at a luncheon on Tuesday, CBRE First Vice President Jazz Hamilton told the audience that the company is finally making firm plans to come to Houston, the Houston Business Journal reports.
"This time, they're doing it," Hamilton said. "You’ll see them closing (on sites) quietly, and then all of the sudden, they’ll start building all at once."
Hamilton would certainly be in a position to know. He represents landlords all over the city in their negotiations with national retailers.
CultureMap has contacted In-N-Out for comment on Hamilton's statement and will update this story if we receive a response.
Update: In-N-Out vice president for planning and development Carl Van Fleet writes in an email that the media reports about the company's plans are premature:
Thank you for checking in again, we have heard some of those media reports as well. While it’s true we are evaluating additional opportunities in Texas, including Houston, we are still in the very, very early stages of that process. It would be extremely premature to speculate when or even if we will open a restaurant there.
Hopefully, Van Fleet is just being coy and the rumors are more true than he's willing to acknowledge. Then, instead of being mad about being snubbed, Houstonians can start arguing about whether In-N-Out is overrated.