FORT WORTH-In-N-Out Burger, the iconic West Coast burger chain,is expanding into the Lone Star State.

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The Baldwin Park, CA-based company signed a lease at CypressEquities’ West 7th project, a 13-acre developmentlocated on 7th Street and University near the city’s urban core andcultural district. The new restaurant, situated at the northwestcorner of West 7th and Currie Streets, will open mid 2011.

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The Fort Worth restaurant is the first of several the chain hasin the works for Texas, according to Carl Van Fleet, vice presidentof planning and development for In-N-Out Burger. “We are veryexcited about the opportunities in North Texas,” he tells GlobeSt.“We continue to work on several locations in and around theMetroplex.”

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Van Fleet declined to disclose how many stores In-N-Out Burgerplans to open in Texas. “We don’t have a targeted number ofrestaurants in DFW or Texas overall,” he says. However, industrysources confirm that the chain plans to open more than 10 stores inthe Metroplex over the next two years.

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Initially, In-N-Out Burger is focusing its expansion onDallas-Fort Worth, according to Van Fleet. However, he adds thatDallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin are “all great areas andwill provide us with many growth opportunities in thefuture.” He adds: “The markets in Texas are big enough andthere are so many opportunities that we believe there is ample roomfor our concept there.”

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In-N-Out Burger’s Texas expansion plans have been in the worksfor nearly two years, according to local sources. “Leasenegotiations with In-N-Out Burger have been in the works formonths,” says Kirk Williams, Cypress Equities’ senior vicepresident of development. “It has been a challenge to keep theexciting news quiet.”

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The chain will employ approximately 55 to 65 people at its firstTexas store. On average, In-N-Out Burger restaurants are 3,400square feet and situated on one-acre lots.

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Known for its never-changing, simple menu of hamburgers,cheeseburgers, French fries, fountain drinks and three flavors ofreal ice cream shakes, In-N-Out Burger is a family-owned companythat got its start in 1948 in Southern California. In addition toTexas, the chain has stores in Arizona, California, Nevada andUtah.

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The chain’s growth depends on its ability to service its storeswith freshly ground beef patties. When entering a new market,In-N-Out Burger also establishes its own commissary anddistribution center.

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“We will be making our own hamburger patties in Dallas, and wehaven’t yet finalized that location,” Van Fleet says. “We willlikely lease space for a commissary and distribution center whileour permanent home is being located and built. We’re lookingin the Dallas area for both the leased space, as well as ourpermanent home.”

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