SAN ANTONIO – In-N-Out Burger, a fast food chain that was born in southern California more than 60 years ago, now is putting down roots in San Antonio.
It opened its first location in the city on Culebra Road near Loop 1604 two hours ahead of schedule on Thursday morning.
More than 100 people had already begun lining up outside the establishment to be among the first to get a taste of the popular burgers and fries.
"Seeing this many people line up and talking to them and hearing their enthusiasm for the burgers, it's thrilling," said Carl Van Fleet, vice president of planning and development for the chain.
He said the restaurant originally was scheduled to open at 10:30 a.m., but due to the big crowd, it opened closer to 8:30 a.m.
"It was cold. We had a lot of people lined up really early. We had the staff," he said.
At the front of that line was Eric Velez, who arrived at the restaurant around 3 a.m.
Chomping down on a cheeseburger hours later, Velez said he already knew what to expect from In-N-Out as a result of prior trips he took out west.
"I've driven as far as Arizona just to eat it," he said. "It's great."
For Corey Benshoff, the visit to In-N-Out was like taking a trip back in time, a place he had visited with his family as a child.
"I'm a native Californian so I've been waiting for 17 years for In-N-Out to open (in San Antonio)," Benshoff said. "It reminds me of my childhood."
Susan Rodriguez, meanwhile, already had reason to celebrate.
She said the restaurant opening made an important day in her life even more special.
"Today is my 49th wedding anniversary and my husband asked what I wanted, and I said, ‘In-N-Out,'" she said. "I got up this morning and I'll be gummed, it said it was opening. And I'm, like, ‘Yes!'"
According to promotional materials, In-N-Out Burger began in 1948 as a single burger stand in Baldwin Hills in southern California. The company now has more than 230 locations.
Another In-N-Out Burger is set to open in Windcrest in a few months.