In-N-Out: Pros & Cons Weighed

In order receive early community input on the project, In-N-Out Burger invites you to attend a neighborhood meeting to learn more about the project, ask questions, and offer comments.

Back on April 7th, the Patch reported the possibility of In-N-Out coming to Novato.  Now that possibility looks like it is one step closer to reality. 

According to a neighborhood meeting notice posted on the city’s website, In-N-Out “…has submitted development entitlement applications to the City of Novato to construct and operate a new restaurant on a 1.10-acre site consisting of two parcels located at 399 Entrada Drive and 400 Enfrente Road. In-N-Out Burger's proposal would involve the construction of a 3,750 square-foot restaurant providing dine-in, take-out, and drive-through service

I believe In-N-Out would be a great addition to Novato.  Currently residents have to head to Mill Valley or Petaluma to get to an In-N-Out and many gladly take their dollars outside our city for a quality burger.  Instead, Novato should be a place that draws people and In-N-Out could help provide that appeal. 

Also, the company has a strong track record of giving back to the local community and would be a great employer offering good paying jobs.  Lastly, rather than driving north or south for a late night Double-Double and Neapolitan shake with animal style fries, students can stay off the freeway and remain in Novato.

Granted there are some cons that will need to be weighed here—most importantly the traffic congestion that could exist.  However, with proper planning, I believe the congestion could be mitigated and hopefully we can get this project moving as soon as possible. 

What are your thoughts?  Share them below and/or come to the neighborhood meeting on Monday, August 15 at 7:00 p.m. at Inn Marin.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Robert J. Cleek August 09, 2011 at 04:22 PM
Get your facts straight, Steve. Your report is rather exaggerated. http://www.snopes.com/business/alliance/inandout.asp In-N-Out is family owned. Sorry, but you heathens are just going to have to live on Big Mac's if you want to make a political statement when you eat.
Robert J. Cleek August 09, 2011 at 04:26 PM
See above. The really interesting story will be how "Marin Madness" drove In-N-Out from Novato. After the majority gets over thinking, "Great!" the "vocal minority" (we know the usual suspects) will be forming committees and filing lawsuits against supposedly defective EIR's, passing laws against plastic burger bags, and all the rest. In-N-Out will shrug and take their business elsewhere. They don't need us.
Tony Elshout August 09, 2011 at 11:59 PM
Bob, you made a really good point! I've already heard that one Council Person wants to do a public design review to possibly "improve" on In-N-Outs standard design. The Vegans will be next then god only knows what will come next. In this economy we should be handing out awards to all those who want to invest in our community.
Christine Scioli August 10, 2011 at 12:01 AM
I've got to rave about the McDouble when you need a fast food burger fix, Tony and Bob - across the street from the purported In-N-Out - at a lean 390 calories and dirt cheap, good news in these lean economic times - though the bun it's on is kinda scary ingredient wise.
LP August 10, 2011 at 12:42 AM
In-n Out would be great for our town. They hire local help, the teens will have somewhere to hang out and see their friends working. The fun part will be seeing the high school students creating a massive line at lunch. Maybe if they bring their teacher something back they won't be marked late.
Robert J. Cleek August 10, 2011 at 01:59 AM
Tell whoever that city council person might be to "stick a sock in it!" When are they going to get the message that the populace is really getting fed up with obstrutionistic politics. Politics was once called "the art of the possible." It seems around here politics has become the "art of making things impossible."
Robert J. Cleek August 10, 2011 at 02:16 AM
God forbid I ever need another fast food burger fix! LOL I've had 'em all and In-N-Out is definitely the best, as evidenced by the fact that their places are always packed. Being a conniseur of junk food at one time, I can attest that the reason In-N-Out is so much better than the competition is because they cook each burger to order. You order a burger and you wait for them to cook it. What you get is a freshly cooked burger, not one that has sat in a cardboard box under heat lamps for who knows how long. That said, while I welcome In-N-Out's interest in a Novato location, any burger lover worth their salt will have to agree that the best burgers around are at Pete's Henny Penny truckstop in Petaluma. Fresh local prime beef and locally baked chiabatta buns... ahh, burger heaven. Definitely worth the twenty minute drive up the road.
Christine Scioli August 10, 2011 at 03:21 AM
I've lived here for 28 years and I've never heard of Pete's Henny Penny! Going to put it on the weekend list. Thank you, Bob.
Tony Elshout August 10, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Bob, you forgot Phyllis Giant Burgers on 4th Street, San Rafael. The Novato Phyllis doesn't seem to come up to the same standard as San Rafael. Each Phyllis burger is also cooked to order.
Novato Chess Club August 11, 2011 at 02:37 PM
In and Out have shown they hire quality young people, and expect the best in service, manners, and attitude in dealing with the public----it would be a nice addition to Novato, Let us pray that people having "no idea about running a restaurant or designing a restaurant" get this approved. The only concern would be encouraging the use of local labor
Pam August 11, 2011 at 05:57 PM
They do offer a GREAT Grilled Cheese. It' on their "secret not so secret menu. Take a look...http://www.in-n-out.com/secretmenu.asp :) Hope that helps!
Sara August 12, 2011 at 09:00 PM
Actually Robert, they are not *that* exaggerated. The son of the founder and his wife were both Born Again Christians; Rich Snyder (the son) headed the company when the verses appeared, when he died his wife continued the Tradition. She passes away a few years ago, we'll have to see what the granddaughter does. And the promoting of Biblical verses on the cups, napkins, etc. is well known. A simple Google search returns the company as a Christian one lumped together with Chick-Fil-A. The Snopes link you provided didn't dispute any of that and in fact it's marked, "true". Most of In-n-Out Foundation's donations go to various children's orgs. That includes plenty of pro-Christian/anti LGBT ones such as the Boy Scouts of America and does not include any that overtly help LGBT kids. I'd say the company is politically savy in that way; they let others do the discriminating for them, with their money.
Robert J. Cleek August 12, 2011 at 09:06 PM
Well, Sara, I guess youi'll have to "eat your conscience" as well as "vote your conscience" and buy your burgers elsewhere, but if you are going to boycott every outfit that contributes to the Boy Scouts, I'm afraid you aren't going to be eating out too much.
joe k August 13, 2011 at 02:12 PM
All interesting reading but do we really need another traffic jam because of another fast food outlet? In the 25 years I have lived in the bay area I have never understood the interest in this fast food chain. I last tried one about 6 months ago. Boring, greasy, fattening and zero healthy food. 50 minimum wage jobs for kids has some benefit but I would live to see Novato grow beyond its hayseed hillbilly roots and fast food chain anchors.
Tony Elshout August 13, 2011 at 05:35 PM
Sorry Joe, but In-N-Out pays substantially more than minimum wage, something in the order of $12.00 per hour. Yes In-N-Out is "fast food", but Thomas Keller of French Laundry and Per Se fame has stated many times that their burger is the best in the country. If it is good enough for Chef Keller it is more than good enough for you or me.
Tina McMillan August 13, 2011 at 11:07 PM
Steve: Best secular burgers! Marvin's! The most amazing food ever. Both my boys were grown (literally in the womb) on Marvin's Hamburgers. It is more expensive than In and Out (which I like once in a while) but it is worth it! Marvin's Restaurant 1112 Grant Avenue, Novato, CA 94945-3114
Tina McMillan August 13, 2011 at 11:18 PM
There is an old saying it goes…"Novato is where businesses go to die..." If the city decides to pound them with exaggerated costs then they will find somewhere else to build. The council says we need business to bring taxes to support our city. In and Out is a solid business with a great product. It would be a shame to lose a chance to have them come here. Most of the reviews describe them as a good employer while you are working and going to school. We could use jobs that would help young people. Though Marvin's remains my favorite burger place it isn't open the same hours as In and Out. The company has a great work ethic, they have a reputation for respecting their employees and they make a good product. Novato would be crazy to pass up the chance for this business finding its way here. Check out the Strawberry, In and Out. You can barely find a place to sit they are so busy all of the time.
Tina McMillan August 13, 2011 at 11:32 PM
Joe K Once again, Marvin's on Grant Avenue has amazing everything! They have been in Novato since its inception. Each owner has continued the tradition of cooking the food in a similar fashion and then adding some of their own recipes. Novato is not Paris, France. We are a wonderful, eclectic combination of different foods, stores and people. There use to be more independent businesses but they suffered a slow and painful demise due to poor city planning. One of the many painful rounds was the rebuilding of Grant Avenue which wreaked such havoc with so many businesses that owners gave up and closed. I admire the courage and tenacity of the businesses that survived. We had both Amber Griffin Books (Peter was the third owner) and Odyssey Bookshop but could not consistently generate enough income to make either viable in the long term. Amber Griffin (a new bookshop) was in Novato for about 18 years and Odyssey (a used bookshop) for 7 years. If you want small, independent businesses to survive then you must frequent them.
David Randolph August 14, 2011 at 07:24 PM
Three cheers for an IN-N-Out in Novato. And let's identify by name the council member who wants to put up roadblocks to this great addition to the town. Who is it?
Tina McMillan August 14, 2011 at 11:53 PM
Steve B (an anyone else willing to chime in) Please tell me we are not talking about discriminating against a business based on the religious beliefs of its owners.
Tina McMillan August 15, 2011 at 06:51 PM
Steve Here is the snopes link to this issue: http://www.snopes.com/business/alliance/inandout.asp In all the years I have gone to In and Out I have never even noticed the notations. There are no actual quotes, just bible notations should you want to look them up. No one at In and Out has ever proselytized about religion and it took my teenagers to teach me about the secret menu.
Molly Brown August 15, 2011 at 08:22 PM
Tony you are kind of funny "the vegans will be next." I'm vegan and I would love to see In and Out in Novato! They do have vegan options---the yummy fries and off the menu "veggie burger" (no meat, no cheese, no spread, just veggies & ketchup and mustard--sounds boring but I don't think In and Out could make anything that didn't taste good!)
Michael Hoeber Jenkins August 15, 2011 at 09:14 PM
I think we all are missing the bigger picture here. Fast food is not good for you. I own the Body Kinetics Health Club and Spa in Novato and am trying to promote healthy choices for the residents of our community. You may read about adult and childhood obesity and it does happen right here in Marin County. High calorie fat loaded cheap food is not a good choice for our kids or anyone else. How about locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables? How about more farmer's markets that support your local farmer, and leaves the money right here in Marin County. How about the environment? 30% of trash is made up of fast food waste. Every time you remove a locally owned business and replace it with a out of area chain you diminish your community. I live, work and spend money right here in Marin County. I actually live a 10 minute walk from the In & Out burger in Strawberry. Right across the street is Harmony Chinese Restaurant which has great healthy organic choices. Bring your own container, they have takeout!
Tony Elshout August 15, 2011 at 09:31 PM
Hi Molly, didn't know about the veggie burger and I'll have to try one! Hope there are no beef products in the frying oil like I believe McDonald's used to use. I have great respect for the vegan movement if for no other reason is that it takes real dedication to stay with it.
joe k August 15, 2011 at 11:53 PM
I so agree. We should work to expand our farmers market which is weak at best and avoid putting in another unneeded fast food restaurant. There is no long term value to adding a fast food chain for our kids except it will encourage them to eat more badly and put on weight. Super Size me and Fast Food Nation proved that without a doubt. Their right wing religious values leave a distaste in my mouth as well.
Cliff Jacobs August 16, 2011 at 08:11 PM
It was a very interesting meeting last night. I love In-N-Out Burger's food; and the way they contribute to the community. I was not convinced that the site location is optimal, or even feasible for the amount of commerce typical of this very popular restaurant. The quality of life of the very local residents would definately be impacted, and they were absolutely passionate and relentless in letting that be known; but there was also a strong contingent of supporters in attendance that favored and welcomed the restaurant. They also wanted this restaurant for several non food related reasons, such as the great jobs that would be created, beautifying the currently blighted property where it is proposed to be built, and the fact that In-N-Out is a great community partner and supporter.
Spiro Stratigos August 21, 2011 at 02:56 PM
The Freeway location for is perfect for In-N-Out! Easy on and off. It will make that location come to life again.
Robert Atkinson August 23, 2011 at 06:05 AM
Eric - what qualifies you to say "However, with proper planning, I believe the congestion could be mitigated"? Do you have any experience as a traffic engineer? I do and until a traffic study is properly completed, the possible mitigation measures are unknowns. As a local resident, I can attest that In N Out will make a bad situation worse and it will have a huge negative impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.
Robert Atkinson August 23, 2011 at 06:37 AM
Yes, your correct, "the quality of life of the local residents will be impacted" and in a very negative manner. Those of us living in Pointe Marin already suffer from "cut thru" traffic that utilizes Oak Grove Drive to access South Novato Boulevard and we will see a big increase in traffic and the speed of this traffic right in front of our homes. If this was happening to any of you, I would anticipate you would also have concerns about the safety of your children and the declining value of your home. If In N Out is the community partner they claim to be, they will address these concerns. However it's my understanding that the impact on this neighborhood is not even part of the traffic study scope! Needless to say, this must be addressed by the City ASAP.
Thomas August 23, 2011 at 09:41 AM
I am dubious of any "huge negative impact" in the area from this. Yes the frontage road servicing the offramp and onramp to ignacio and 101 will see traffic and I am curious how they will address the offramp traffic with people trying to turn left into In-n-out, but a "huge" amount of people are not going to just start melting into all those residential side streets because a new burger stop opens up. Much ado to not much...


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