KEIZER, Ore. (KOIN) — After months of waiting and near breathless anticipation, the In-N-Out in Keizer officially opened Thursday morning.
Hundreds of people were already in line when store officials opened the doors around 8:30 a.m. People came from near and far to be among the first people to wrap their taste buds around an iconic Double Double or something from their so-called Secret Menu.
California native Ashley Acevedo was succinct. “I need a burger from here, like bad!”
For Garrett Blater, his younger brother Corbin has a straight-A report card at South Salem High School. Corbin got a first-in-line spot from Gino Corridini, who lined up early Wednesday and said he would give up his spot to the first straight-A student who came by.
Garrett held Corbin’s spot in the hours before In-N-Out opened. “I promised my brother that I would be the first customer with him,” he said. “He’s been working really hard. He turns down friends on Friday nights sometimes to do homework, so it’s well deserved, I think.”
Other In-N-Out fans were celebrating birthdays.
“I’m turning 21 today,” Sierra Lehman said, “so I thought this would kick it off.”
One of the people who camped overnight was Gordie Lerg, who knows the man that started In-N-Out back in 1948.
“He decided one day, he told some of his friends, I’m going to open a drive-thru hamburger stand’ because no one had ever done it,” Lerg said. “They laughed at him. He did it. Look at it now.”
Gordie said he’s been eating these burgers since he was 5. The all-fresh, never-frozen ingredients are what it’s all about, he said.
His review of Thursday’s burger: “Fantastic!”
The West Coast burger chain now has 3 locations in Oregon — Medford and Grants Pass are the others. But the opening in Keizer puts an In-N-Out just 45 minutes from Portland.
Traffic in the area
The doors at the Keizer location — 6280 Keizer Station Boulevard — will open at 10:30 a.m. every day, but the store opened earlier than usual to accommodate the crowd.
City officials are expecting a feeding frenzy with hundreds of cars from across Oregon and Washington and who knows where else.
The line of cars will be diverted to the Volcanoes Baseball Stadium’s parking lot behind Target. There are city-approved signs posted to help guide drivers in the right direction, as well.
ODOT is planning to be ready in case traffic backs up all the way onto Interstate 5.
For the uninitiated, In-N-Out has legions of fans in high food circles. Anthony Bourdain said it was his favorite restaurant in Los Angeles. Legendary chef Julia Child swore by it. Chefs Gordon Ramsay and Thomas Keller praise it — and Paris Hilton took a legendary trip through a drive-thru in 2006.