In-N-Out Passes on Novato for Now ... What's Your Reaction?

Fast-food chain had plans to build in Ignacio, drumming up a wide array of supporters and detractors.

Novato, you'll have to keep driving to Mill Valley or Petaluma to satisfy your cravings for In-N-Out burgers, at least for the time being.

According to a story in the , the popular fast-food chain has nixed a plan to build a restaurant on Entrada Drive in Ignacio. But the door remains open for a spot at another Novato site.

Are you thrilled? Are you ticked? Share your comments below.

In-N-Out executive Carl Van Fleet told the IJ that soil problems at the Entrada location created problems.

Things must have changed quickly on the deal. As of Monday, the city planning staff said In-N-Out had not withdrawn its development applications and was under the impression that In-N-Out was continuing negotiations with property owners.

When In-N-Out held a to share plans with residents near the location, the reaction was more hostile than friendly. Debates ensued on Novato Patch and at some public meetings, and even Novato City Council member Eric Lucan chimed in on the issue while campaigning for his council seat in August 2011.

In December 2011, the city said the approval process for In-N-Out's plans  as the company put its energy into securing two parcels at the site. But In-N-Out allowed the property to fall out of escrow, although it might reconsider the site at a future date, Van Fleet told the IJ.

What other locations should In-N-Out consider if it is determined to find a site in Novato? Chime in below.

Lou Judson May 23, 2012 at 05:19 AM
Corner of Bolling and Nave. Across the freeway from Burger (peon) King, and within walking distance from Hamilton and me. It is empty and available since Comcast moved out last month... with excellent access to the freeway, where travelers can take the next exit and go back if they miss it...
John Glennon May 23, 2012 at 05:29 AM
In & Out's citing soil issues as a reason to not develop on a site that was, in part, once a gas station, makes sense to me. The regulatory hassle and expense to deal with those issues may have been a deal-breaker. For those not familiar with San Marin in the late 70s/early '80s, guess what once was on the southeast corner of San Marin Dr. and San Andreas Dr. Brent - an article about the sad saga of the failed attempts to develop that site, one that looks to the casual observer like a prime lot, would be a good story.
sheri May 23, 2012 at 06:05 AM
I don't think that was a good site for In N Out in the first place. What I'm really bummed about is that they forced out my favorite nursery - California Bay Nursery because In n Out was supposedly coming and now they pull out. I really hope we get something useful and decent in the Ignacio location, or that the nursery will come back!
Brian Laird May 23, 2012 at 06:08 AM
Although I enjoyed the thought of having an In and Out so close (my healthful urges and diet did not), I dreaded the impact on southbound 101 traffic to my already ridiculously dangerous exit ramp. Slowing down to exit while crossing over the two lanes that blend the S. Novato blvd on ramp and Rt 37 to SB101 is often treacherous and nerve racking while blending with traffic that is rapidly increasing speed. I strongly believe there would be a significant increase in traffic accidents adding to additional tie ups on the 101. In and Out will draw their own business and should be located, if we must have one, closer to the downtown Novato area to benefit our local businesses. @Sharon collins - With Respect, your comments are disturbing. The world is a much larger place than Novato and people come and go, creating jobs, stimulating economies with money for local businesses and taxes, bolstering housing prices, and contributing to their new communities. After living here for a year and a half this "transplant and idiot" is enjoying life in Novato and its amenities and am saddened that you have not taken any opportunity to uproot your five generation snootiness and move farther back into the woods. On my way to Vintage Oaks I'll monitor my nose while I'm dodging the backbone to our children's and our communities lives, our beloved Moms! (soccer, ballet, baseball, dance class or football, you choose)
Robert Atkinson May 23, 2012 at 07:08 AM
The proximity to the antiquated freeway offramp and the immediately adjacent neighborhood made this site a poor choice for a restaurant. Those neighbors that would have been most impacted by a late night drive thru fast food restaurant on this site are relieved and hopeful that In No Out will locate in Novato at a sensible location. Tearing down the Smokehouse Restaurant at Vintage Oaks gets my vote!
Robert Atkinson May 23, 2012 at 07:11 AM
In N Out was thinking that building a restaurant on a contaminated lot probably wasn't a good business decision or something that environmental regulations would allow.
Robert Atkinson May 23, 2012 at 07:16 AM
Good and intelligent response Brian. Between the traffic and environmental issues with the proposed site, In N Out realized they could do better. Let's hope the City can work with them on a more suitable location.
Dave Robertson May 23, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Sure it's not "native Oklahoma?"
NovatoAVID May 23, 2012 at 02:25 PM
More will come and test the waters...hopefully business with good paying jobs
marie Borders May 23, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Obviously -- maybe not to some -- In N Out would have had to mitigate the soil contamination issue to their lender's satisfaction PRIOR to opening their restaurant. They were probably NOT thinking of what it might cost them to do it, which is unfortunate...
DINAH MATTOS May 23, 2012 at 02:59 PM
That's a good place for it. Keep it over there.
Dave May 23, 2012 at 03:20 PM
In N Out likes easy freeway access. North or Trader Joe's has that and doesn't bother near by neighbors. Vintage Oaks would be a good alternative as well.
Dave May 23, 2012 at 03:29 PM
I have always thought a frontage road from Bel Marin/Hamilton industrial near the PG&E old sewer complex connected to the road behind Costco was needed. It should be considered with any Hanna Ranch development. I doubt that could be done in a timely manner. I vote for North or Trader Joe's and rework the Atherton Exit to accommodate peak traffic.
The Diggler May 23, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I think people should spend more time cooking together and eating with their families. One less fast food restaurant is a great start, even if it was the most delicious and "clean" of them all.
Shonni Tidwell May 23, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Not Vintage Oaks because the parking is so bad there, and besides that there are so many restaurants there.
docB May 23, 2012 at 05:12 PM
As one enters novato from the south you see burger king then mcdonalds then jack in the box then burger king again then toyota then staples - great first impression.corporate cookie cutter. could be anywhere. What identity does novato want to project?
Mark Burnham May 23, 2012 at 05:41 PM
it is no wonder we are saddled with the current city council and we are all about to get screwed with the biggest capital improvement blunder in novato history. as much as i like in and out burger.. there is far more interest on patch in whether a fast food joint opens in ignacio or in north novato. since the city council is planning on spending $15 million or our taxes on their home, and drastically impact downtown parking in the process, it would seem there would more energy put in to letting the council know that we don't want our money wasted. apathy and misplaced priorites are going to send this town to the poor house. oh well.. i'm off to get a burger at in and out in petaluma and/or mill valley
Christine May 23, 2012 at 06:15 PM
@Jenni....they are one of the few that use all natural beef with no fillers. It's the only fast food place I would consider eating at.
Christine May 23, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I agree with Hans. Sara should be more accepting of others beliefs and religion.
Erin May 23, 2012 at 06:34 PM
This gets my vote. As a whole....people (those with obesity issues and lack of exercise) need to cook more, enjoy interacting with your family. We don't need another fast food location. Enough already! Novato doesn't need more fat (fast) food!
Rick Fraites May 23, 2012 at 07:07 PM
I agree with Sheri. There was a very decent nursery at that site and now it is gone. It moved out to make room for the proposed In-N-Out. Now Novato is faced with another empty lot and no nursery. Bummer indeed!
Susabella May 23, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Susabella I'm thrilled to have IN-n-Out in Novato. Its my favorite fast food. If I'm going to indulge in something good and tasty once in a while, its IN-N-OUT. Best hamburgers since the Emporium downtown SF. I just wish they would add one more item, Onion Rings, then the menu would be perfect.
JaneDoe4 May 23, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Your reaction is that downtown Novato couldn't handle it but Vintage Oaks could. Of course, anyone exiting 101 at 4:30 or 5pm as I do every day, would disagree with you as the congestion is incredibly bad already at that time of day, often backing up onto the freeway. As for the rest of your comment, unless you are upset at the turn of events, it really makes no sense. In fact, your comments are ignorant and unnecessarily rude. If you wish to make a point you need to learn how to do so intelligently and without hurling unnecessary insults. Also, if you intend to call other people idiots, you absolutely should learn to construct proper sentences and proofread. As an aside, my parents have lived in Novato for almost 50 years and come from generations of San Franciscans. I have lived in town practically my entire life and am proud to have purchased a home here, so my opinion is neither based from a transplant, idiot, or soccer mom's point of view.
Douglas K May 23, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Yes, in my particular branch of the variant universes, we also scored an In-N-Out Burger in Novato -- and they do have onion rings. Tasty! And we had the city offices "Taj Mahal" plan built in all its glory back in the 1980s. That's tasty, too. And our international airport in Hamilton is so convenient....no reason to take the hi speed rail to LA. That probably true in all the universes.
janna nikkola May 24, 2012 at 12:06 AM
I'm sorry to hear In-&-Out won't be coming to Novato. I rarely eat burgers but, when I do, it's gotta be In-&-Out. I'm not surprised there are "soil problems" at that site, which had been a gas station at one point. Most such sites have gas and oil leaking into the soil which may never wash out, so it's not a healthy site for a food service. I hope they find another site -- I'd like to see one at Vintage Oaks, away from residential areas.
Lou Judson May 24, 2012 at 05:49 PM
My Mom shopped at that nursery for many years. The owner was ready to retire anyway, so he was not really "forced out" - he was planning to close in the next year or so anyway. We miss it, but not In-N-Out's fault.
Pam Over May 24, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Build near Lu Sutton School and I could go there every day - Otherwise I go to Petaluma just to eat there.
Melissa Bradley May 24, 2012 at 09:24 PM
There is a restaurant also in Mill Valley called Super Duper Burgers and they have a drive thru and they serve organic fast food. Personally, I love it and would be thrilled to see one in San Rafael and in Novato. It is a locally owned business. I met one of the owners from San Rafael. That's my 2 cents.
Melissa Bradley May 24, 2012 at 09:28 PM
P.S. Super Duper Burgers have the best veggie burgers!
Private Citizen of Novato May 29, 2012 at 09:31 PM
My frustration is that the wonderful local nursery was closed down BEFORE the deal was locked in, and now it was ALL FOR NOTHING! I hope the owner of the property pays through the nose to clean up the proper AND that nothing gets approved for the site for years to come. PS I am SO glad there will be no In-N-Out Burger near me!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something