Oro Valley has its In-N-Out Burger.
The family-owned California company, with stores in Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah, opened store 241 at Oro Valley Marketplace on Wednesday, June 9.
People showed up. At lunchtime, the interior was crowded with eager customers and the drive-through line stretched across the parking lot. Drivers had to wait about 15 minutes, inside guests about 10 minutes for food.
William Cornelius, a Northwest Medical Center worker, waited in line on his lunch break to experience In-N-Out for the first time. "It's a great idea," said Cornelius. "Especially with the hospital and businesses in the area. It's good for jobs, and apparently the police like it as well." A cluster of officers was in line behind him.
Oro Valley residents Tammie Hill, daughter Sierra, and son Cheyenne enjoyed their food on the outside tables. "We'd been anticipating its arrival," said Hill. They were longtime fans of the restaurant since eating at a Las Vegas location.
The food isn't the only thing that brings customers. "Everyone is so friendly," said Hill. "For example, there's a girl out front with a gorgeous smile talking to people as they come in." As if staged, two young women in uniforms came to the outside dining area, asking if anyone needed drink refills or anything else.
What makes In-N-Out so different from other fast-food burger places? "Quality food," said division manager Dave Fry. "We just open the doors and serve the best burgers we can."
In-N-Out had its plans reviewed by several Oro Valley governing boards. Questions were raised about the compatibility of its orientation with other buildings in the development. David Malin of Marketplace developer Vestar Development said the final orientation is the "best situation because the drive-through is hidden from Oracle."
In-N-Out was not allowed to plant its signature crossed Washingtonia robusta palm trees, trees than can reach nearly 100 feet tall. It's a practice that alludes to founder Harry Snyder's favorite movie, "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," in which characters locate hidden treasure beneath crossed palms.
"The crossed palm trees show that the treasure is right here," said Fry, the Tucson division manager.
The Oro Valley Town Council added a friendly amendment to the restaurant's development plan denying the planting of the palm trees, which according to the minutes of the meeting are forbidden within the Oracle Road Scenic Corridor Overlay District.
"Of course I wish we had them," said Fry, "but when I first came to check out the location of the store I just looked up at the mountains and thought 'what a beautiful area,' and they've done a great job with the landscaping."