When the moment finally came, no one was more emotional or animated than Danielle Crybaby DeInnocentes.
She was among the few hundred people who either camped out or got in line early in Frisco and Allen for a taste of the first In-N-Out burgers to come off a grill in North Texas. It was most definitely not business as usual at these two strip malls, as drive-through lines snaked around, packed with rows and rows of cars. (Be sure to check out our photo gallery of the insanity.)
Both restaurants (at 2800 Preston Road in Frisco, and 190 E. Stacy Road in Allen) were slated to open at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, but the crowd size compelled management to open both stores early, at 9.
DeInnocentes got to the Frisco store at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, and was No. 10 in the campout line on Wednesday morning. By the time she exited the store with her meal, her white In-N-Out T-shirt was splattered with Coke, and she was a jabbering mess. I spilled a drink and they gave me another free shirt. How does that happen?
She said that when she ordered, she was so overcome that she actually cried. I cant go back in there, Ill start crying again, she said. Ive waited eight years for this day. For proof, she held up a cardboard sign with those words printed on it. (And she was in ecstasy over her burger, natch.)
Los Angeles-raised Kip Cummings had the first spot in the drive-through line in Allen, and he thought he was going to have to miss his sons graduation for the historic In-N-Out moment (he wouldve too, but it turns out the days didnt end up coinciding in the end).
Its really a turning point for this area, Cummings said. The California spirit hits right here and begins to get entrenched. Its very much a milestone. Though most early In-N-Out trekkers bore grease-streaked smiles of double-double bliss, a trio of young guys walked toward their cars, grumbling: Its not all that. Whataburger is better.
Dissenters! I chased them down. Whataburger is bigger, juicier, and their fries are better, said Jesse Rede of The Colony. Id come back, but its not worth all the hype. His buddy, Miguel Zapata, is originally from California, and he was similarly let down. Its not what I remember.
True, not everyone will get the mystique, but for people like Crane Billingsley of Garland, theyll be back, and often. Weve driven through forest fires to get to In-N-Out, said the California transplant. There would be ashes on our car.
While I was fraternizing with the In-N-Out faithful, I got a few tips. Most people familiar with the burger chain already know how you can order different toppings and styles from its Secret Menu which is actually accessible at www.in-n-out.com. But theres a special parlance to the ordering, and Mark Taylor, the Chief Operating Officer of In-N-Out helped me place my very specific order. Im an onion hater, so theres no animal style for me. I wanted a cheeseburger with mustard and lettuce.
You really like mustard? he asked.
Yep. Turns out they also have a fried mustard option. (While the patty is on the grill, theyll squirt mustard on top of it, slap down a pickle, and then flip the burger so that the mustard gets fried into the beef.) So, this, he said, is exactly how to present your order: Cheeseburger without onion, mustard instead. Can I have fried mustard, no pickle.
Thats how I ordered, and that along with a few sheaves of crisp, fresh lettuce and tomato slices is what I got. While it doesnt rise to the level of a Freds, a Pops or a Smashburger, but it's probably the best fast-food burger Ive had. (Sorry, Whataburger and Five Guys.) Just juicy enough, packed high with toppings, gooed up with American cheese, all on a soft bun.
Im no campout-level convert, but Ill be back for more, heavy on the fried mustard please.
Fans who want their In-N-Out a little further west will have to wait until the end of June or early July, when the Fort Worth store opens at 2900 W. 7th St. The chain plans to open about a dozen locations in DFW over the next 12 months. Under construction now, in addition to the Fort Worth spot, are Arlington, Dallas-Caruth Haven, Dallas-Coit Road and Las Colinas.