POLL: Is Novato Ready for an In-N-Out?

The results of our poll might surprise you

Last Friday we opened up our poll for voting on the question of whether or not Novato was ready for an In-N-Out. Many comments and over 200 votes later, the poll - still on-going - has some interesting results for locals. (See below; vote to see results or click "See Results" if you've already voted.)

The distinctive red-and-white In-N-Out drive-through chain is planning to open a new franchise at the corner at 399 Entrada Drive and 400 Enfrente Road, as previously described on Novato Patch, but adjoining properties would make the location even more desireable. The business would presumably be visible from Hwy. 101 Southbound, just before the Ignacio exit.

In-N-Out Burger standards specify that a drive-through have enough space to allow at least 12 cars to stack up in addition to 45 parking spaces, according to this article on Patch. In Mill Valley, traffic was a big hurdle for In-N-Out Burger and the location in Strawberry was approved without a drive-through window.

Parking might also be a hitch for the Enfrente Road property, without the neighboring lots. Square footage falls short of the company's minimum 45,000 square feet required by about 16,519 square feet. Until these requirements are met, and the city planning department approves the business, In-N-Out is just a proposal.

Other In-N-Out locations are in Petaluma and Mill Valley, as well as Santa Rosa. The Santa Rosa diner near Steele Lane has caused numerous traffic problems and driver complaints since it opened a little over a year ago, according to articles in the Nov. 18, 2010 Press Democrat. 

Finally, at a public meeting in the Ignacio area last August, there was considerable objection to the proposed location, as the accompanying video shows.

All of which begs the question: Do we need an In-N-Out in Novato? Let your vote be counted, and your voice be heard. (Remember, this is a non-scientific poll, and your civility is requested in your comments!)

janna nikkola February 18, 2012 at 12:37 AM
YES! Novato does indeed new an In n' Out Burger! This writer forgot to mention the one in Rohnert Park which I always visit when I got to Home Depot or Walmart in Rohnert Park. I don't know exactly what they do differently, but I LOVE their burgers, and I stopped eating burgers a decade ago, but I still go for theirs. Maybe it's because they're grilled rather than fried. Maybe it's because each burger is made fresh to order. Maybe it's because the lettuce and tomatoes are always fresh and crispy. Maybe it's because their employees are so energetic, enthusiastic and pleasant because they're paid better there than at other fast food places. Whatever the reason, we definitely need one in Novato. Having to drive south to Mill Valley or north to Rohnert Park is too far.
Victoria February 18, 2012 at 06:05 AM
In N Out would be good for tax revenue and jobs and the best of all fast food options esp if one orders unsalted patty and (free) extra tomato. Good treatment of employees, health insurance, starting wage always hugger than minimum.
Victoria February 18, 2012 at 06:06 AM
HIGHER than minimum. Darn predictive text.
janna nikkola February 18, 2012 at 03:37 PM
If it doesn't work out at the current proposed site on Entrata Drive, I hope they'll be able to find another place in Novato to build one of their restaurants -- it would be great if there was a place in Vintage Oaks. I hope the City of Novato is working WITH them on this as City staff knows all the available buildable sites. I can see where building a restaurant on top of an ex-gas station may not be such a great idea. Those sites are often permanently contaminated, so food preparation and eating/dining may not suit such a site.
KS1241 February 18, 2012 at 03:45 PM
It will be a another positive move on Novato's part to increase, not only the tax base, but also create more jobs. Because of it's location it will not hurt other fast food places.
Jeffrey Schaub February 18, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Build it and they will come. It will also be a terrific place for local kids to get decent paying jobs.
Lou Judson February 18, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Yes we want it! Mill Valley was epically stupid in not alowing a drive-thru, as the parking there is horrendous. The corner there looks perfect; I'm surprised it is too small... Hope they find a workaround.
Lou Judson February 18, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Oh, I just noticed that video. It is a prejuducially slanted excerpt of a longer meeting - Brent, you keep only the negatives and left out the positives! Not faor or balanced reporting. Notice the same people kept complianing the same tings over and over again... Many more people spoke up in favor. I was there. 7 months ago!
Lou Judson February 18, 2012 at 04:29 PM
There is a little stub of a road behind the MV location. They could have had the drive-thru come from there. Mainly MV's NIMBY attitude killed it, not the physical layout. The parking lot is second only to WF on Miller for lousy parking design! But they can do a better job in Novato, one way or another.with a drive thru less parking would be needed anyway... true?
Lou Judson February 18, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Well, okay then. I thought you were saing none at all. You never know with people who don't use their real names on the interwebs... Maybe even the new development at Hanna ranch? I just hope they make it visible from the freeway, unlike some locations where you drive by before you see it and have to double back around... That would be a problem on Enfrente. Perhaps even the now extinct Smokehouse location..
Cammie Griffin February 18, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I would love an In 'n Out in Novato! I also think they serve a portion of people who won't eat at Jack in the Box, but will go to an In 'n Out (like myself).
Jack February 18, 2012 at 06:43 PM
In n Out rocks, good food, good service and great employees. They never screw up our order and always communicate clearly. My wife stops at the one in MV a few times a month on her way home to grab us dinner.If we had one here the fries would still be hot! I vote for them to be here, best fast food resturant there is, hands down.
honu74 February 18, 2012 at 07:01 PM
It's just plain wrong to place it at the Entrada Exit on south 101. Traffic is already confusing there. There are already a lot of people coming from S Novato Blvd. who just stay in the rt. lane and get right off there. That exit is going to need to be revised. There's already the Famous Deli and a Jack in the Box. If you're that desperate for an IN-N-OUT, find another completely separate location.
Pauline Jaworzyn February 18, 2012 at 07:11 PM
honu74 February 18, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Consider the location of that exit. It lies about 1/2 mile beyond the entrance ramp for 2 lanes of traffic from Hwy. 37 as well as the traffic coming from S. Novato Blvd. Whenever a "burst" of traffic is released from Vintage Oaks at Rowland, a swarm of cars comes with the weaving of many cars entering and exiting the highway. Thinking just of myself? How about we all try thinking as a group as to how we can all get what we want.
Sam February 18, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Entrada site absolutely not. Vintage Oaks possible. With all the restaurants at Vintage Oaks closing there would be plenty of room.
Christine February 19, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Bad location!
docB February 19, 2012 at 01:26 AM
The traffic situation is a major consideration. On an aesthetic view, I am disappointed to see the gateway to Novato to include the garish architecture and colors of corporate fast food to be the predominate visual. Burger king, mcdonalds, jack in the box line the freeway into our town. The one fast food place that has responded to the community is the mcdonalds in terra linda across from the civic center. Just because it is a corporate fast food should not allow them to paste our city with indelicate colors, lighting and architecture
Tony Elshout February 19, 2012 at 03:30 PM
In-N-Out would be a great asset to the City. Not only will it eliminate the trashy buildings now on the site but it will bring shoppers to the Ignacio Center. We need On-N-Out now
Tony Elshout February 19, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Either properly identify yourself or keep your (misguided) opinions to yourself
Craig Belfor February 19, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Vintage Oaks is the right place, not just because the freeway access is better, not just because the drive up will have more room, but also because the same fat slobs who go to Costco and buy Ding Dongs by the pallet load, and fight for parking as close to Target as they can get so they don't have to walk far will also buy their cholesterol bombs at the drive up at at In-N-Out while still in their urban tanks, thus avoiding any exercise, and assuring us they'll die sooner, thus saving our Social Security System from enormous payments for retirement and medicare. Drive up eating will save America as it kills us.
Hutch Turner February 20, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Good company, good pay, questionable location, do we really need another fast food place? My personal opinion is that the standard In-N-Out appearance is tacky designed as an attractor, not necessarily to aid those that are lost. Look at who works at other fast food places in Novato, many if not most don't live in Novato. What's the working language? Spanish not English. Want another driver for high density afordable housing stuffed down our throats by MTC/ABAG?
Craig Belfor February 20, 2012 at 01:40 AM
WOW! We made it all the way to the 29th comment before the old affordable housing folks chipped in. I had a bet it wouldn't go 5.


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