In-N-Out Burger, the famous California fast food chain, is expanding east all the way to Tennessee, a move that Tennessee’s governor called “life-changing.”
The family-owned burger company will open an “eastern territory office” in Tennessee, as well as several restaurants in the Nashville area, by 2026, according to state officials, and the owner of In-N-Out said further eastward expansion is in the works.
In-N-Out, a “burger and fries cult,” as Bon Appetit once put it, was founded in suburban Los Angeles and has expanded to just six other western states in its 75-year history. He currently sells his burgers as far east as Texas.
“We’ve been getting a lot of requests in different states to open, and I’m very happy to meet customers here and make their dreams come true, and probably a few other states a little excited,” Lynsey Snider-Ellingson, In-N-Out’s owner and president, said. is at a press conference in Tennessee announcing the expansion.
“Don’t worry, there are others who will eventually be included in this plan,” she added.
The burger chain, founded in 1948, is famous in California for its nostalgic decor, never-frozen patties and oddly disappointing fries.
It has hosted wedding photo shoots and even wedding receptions, and has also sparked backlash in recent years over the family-owned company’s conservative policies, donations to the California Republican Party and its public refusal to comply with San Francisco’s 2021 vaccine mandate.
In-N-Out’s slow expansion east of California has been met with an enthusiastic response in the past, with customers in Texas camping out in parking lots overnight to get early access to their burgers, the Huffington Post reported in 2011. “You’d think the Pope was here,” said a local journalist.
But some residents of the eastern United States also greeted the excitement surrounding the West Coast burger chain with skepticism. New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called In-N-Out “overrated,” in a 2022 interview, citing the quality of the fries in particular.
Many Californians continue to subscribe fully to the In-N-Out cult. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who moved to California in 2020, have touted their love of In-N-Out in multiple interviews with US news outlets, saying the staff at their favorite location know their typical order. Harry recently told People magazine that his favorite meal is “two double-doubles [cheeseburgers]animal style fries and cola”.
Bill Lee, the governor of Tennessee, said he has a vivid personal memory of eating his first In-N-Out burger in Southern California and cherishes the Bible verse famously printed on the bottom of the burger chain’s cups.
He called In-N-Out a “great American company” and said he was excited and grateful the company chose Tennessee for “its first center in the eastern United States.” which is expected to create at least 275 new local jobs.
“It’s a life-changing decision.” “It’s exciting for our state,” Lee said.