Carson City In-N-Out Burger
Carson City, Nevada finally has its very own In-N-Out Burger. It was built during the summer of 2004 in the new Carson Valley Plaza shopping center, located just south of the Douglas County line along Hwy 395. So, the restaurant isn’t actually in Carson City, it’s in Douglas County. But that’s just a semantic distinction. And to really confuse matters, it’s being called the “Carson Valley” In-N-Out, even though it’s up on a hill and not really in the Carson Valley at all!
But no matter where it is, it brings people from all over. This restaurant serves Carson City, Minden, Gardnerville, Dayton, South Lake Tahoe, and points beyond. As one of only three In-N-Outs in Northern Nevada (the others being in Reno and Sparks), you know it’s popular!! Ground was broken in spring of 2004. Opening day was October 14th. This page is home to pictures and news from the construction up to grand opening.
May 30, 2004
Soon after groundbreaking, forms were set up for the slab, plumbing was laid down, and a couple of steel pieces were stuck up into the sky. At the time, this was still a mystery location. It would be two more months before they posted a “Coming Soon” sign confirming that this would, indeed, be an In-N-Out Burger. Until then, all I had to go on was speculation. They were building an In-N-Out in Reno, one that had been confirmed, with a sign and everything. That construction was a few weeks ahead of this. So I would watch the one in Reno, and see how closely this site in Carson matched up. The foundations were identical, so I knew I was looking at an In-N-Out.
August 2, 2004
By the beginning of August, framing was finished. Plus they finally put up an In-N-Out sign, putting an end to months of agonzing speculation and doubt. Work on the roof and the stucco was soon to start.
August 18, 2004
In the middle of August, scaffolding had been erected to work on the exterior walls. Stucco work was already finished, and they were furiously painting the structure white.
August 23, 2004
Stucco work and painting was finished before the end of the month, and the scaffolding came down. They left the bottom few feet of the building untouched, probably to do some kind of rock or tile treatment. Now they’re starting to work on the inside. You can’t see it in these photos, but all the tile work around the ordering counter is finished, right down to the little painted palm trees.
August 28, 2004
Doors! Windows! Excitement!
September 13, 2004
Rockwork was finished around the doors and windows of the building.
September 14, 2004
The In-N-Out Burger is being painted in the “official” colors of Carson Valley Plaza. Most of the chain’s restaurants are completely white, including the one they’re building in Reno. For this one the company apparently agreed to match the colors of the rest of the shopping center.
September 23, 2004
The Reno In-N-Out Burger has opened! The first of three In-N-Out restaurants being built in Northern Nevada opened its doors this morning to enormous crowds of people. The store is located at 8215 South Virginia Street, right at the Hwy 395 overpass—the overpass at Patriot Blvd, that is, next to the Scolari’s (Hwy 395 crosses S. Virginia three times, so I have to be specific about which overpass we’re talking about. Exit 61 if you’re on the freeway). I’ll collect news reports about the opening as I find them.
- Reno Gazette Journal: In-N-Out opens to crowds in south Reno
- KTVN TV: In-N-Out Opens
- KRNV TV: 90 minute wait at first In-N-Out Burger in Northern Nevada
KTVN News also reports that
the In-N-Out in Sparks is set to open sometime in October, and ours here in Carson City will be the last, opening in “November or December.” Hopefully by then the craze will have died down, and we’ll only have a two-hour wait instead of four hours.
Correction: I heard from Denny Warnick, the general manager of the Carson Valley store, that KTVN got it wrong. They’re actually shooting for three weeks from now for opening day. That would put it right about the middle of October, before the Sparks store. Even more excellent!
September 24, 2004
Today we made a trek up to Reno. Unfortunately we had to pick somebody up from the airport, so we didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to brave the line and eat at In-N-Out. But we did cruise by and snap a few photos of the new place.
The walk-up line stretched through the outside seating area, underneath the red umbrellas. It actually didn’t look very long, certainly not as long as I expected. The drive-thru line, however, seemed endless. It must have been a quarter mile long, and it spilled over into the shopping center next door. That parking lot was swarming with In-N-Out workers, directing traffic to prevent gridlock. They actually routed the drive-thru line through a back alley behind the supermarket. The official entrance to the drive-thru was a driveway at the far end of the shopping center, several hundred yards down the road. A temporary sign and a waving employee marked the right place to turn. I think it’ll be a while before traffic settles down to normal in that part of town.
September 28, 2004
Wearing a fresh coat of paint, the In-N-Out stands tall, waiting impatiently for the finishing touches to be applied. In the last week some signage has been put up, concrete has been poured, landscaping planted, and a lot of little details filled in. The place is hopping with workmen everyday as the opening date draws closer.
This is defintely unlike any other In-N-Out I’ve seen. First of all, there’s not a drop of white paint, aside from the thin stripes. Also, the red tile has been done away with, in favor of brown brick. Then you’ve got the flat roofs and a few other architectural flourishes. All this was done to make it fit in with the other stores in Carson Valley Plaza. And yet, it’s still instantly familiar as an In-N-Out. Even without the arrows.
On the other side of the building, the rest of the drive-thru has been poured and landscaped. The building’s looking more ready to go every day. Looks to me like they’re right on track to open in mid October!
October 5, 2004
The outside of the building is now done. Or mostly so, at least. There are a few touch-up items they still have left, but essentially it’s finished. Opening day should just be a couple of weeks away now, as they continue to work on the inside and finish things there.
The sign is now up too. Not so tall as I expected, but there might have been constraints put on them by the county or the shopping center. And instead of just sticking it on a pole, they’ve built this nice column for it to sit on. Here you can see the workmen putting on the last of the decorative bricks.
October 8, 2004
No pictures today, but big news. We have an opening date! October 14th, which is Thursday of next week. Six days from today, and our In-N-Out will be open. Will the crowds be as bad as they were in Reno? Will there be a two-hour wait? It took our new Del Taco a couple of months to settle down to a normal level of business. Who knows how long In-N-Out will take.
Well, I guess we’ll find out on the 14th!
October 13, 2004
This evening we went to the invitation-only pre-opening party at the Carson Valley In-N-Out. This was a final run-through for the crew before opening day, with real customers and real orders. And there was quite a crowd there, since the invitations were flowing pretty freely. Friends and family of crewmembers were invited, as well as employees of neighboring businesses and friends and family of employees of neighboring businesses. There sure were a lot of blue shirts milling around, as it seemed like every single employee of Best Buy showed up. My invitation came because of this website, so I guess it pays to drive around taking pictures!
Closed for a private party. This sign about opening on Thursday is just about the only public announcement they seem to have made. Since they don’t do much advertising, they just let the customers tell each other when it’s open.
The drive-thru wasn’t being used this night, but the signs are installed and everything is ready to go. You can also see more of the desert landscaping they’ve put in. Palm trees don’t grow so well here.
October 14, 2004
The grand opening wasn’t so much pomp and circumstance as it was just unlocking the doors like on any other day. There was a big employee rally, and everyone posed for pictures outside, but that was it for the festivities.
So let’s take a look around the place while it’s still sparkling and new.
The just-risen sun shines on the morning of the opening. A few people are lined up outside, but certainly not a ravenous crowd. The ravenous crowds are still burnt out from the Reno opening three weeks ago.
And pretty soon the first paying customers have lined up. Only a few die-hards showed up for the 9am opening, and the crowds never really materialized like they did for the Reno store. Of course, the Reno store was the very first In-N-Out in Northern Nevada. By the time this one opened, the buzz had died down a bit. I still expect it to do brisk business, though, and the neighborhood they picked hasn’t finished growing yet.
Welcome to Nevada, In-N-Out. I think you’ll do well here.