First restaurant: Baldwin Park, Calif., in 1948
Company home: Corporate offices in Irvine, Calif., (the state where 201 of its restaurants are located)
Total restaurants: 251 in four states (Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah)
Closest restaurant: Chandler, Ariz., 1,051 miles
Future north texas locations: Former Steak ‘n Shake on Central near Caruth Haven; Coit near junction of 75 and 635; Firewheel Town Center in Garland; West Seventh in Fort Worth; Stonebriar Centre Mall in Frisco; The Village at Allen; Hurst; Las Colinas
What’s the big deal?: Its food is fast, but never frozen: The company touts the fact that every hamburger patty is made fresh at one of its distribution centers. The menu is minimal — three burger options, fries, sodas and shakes — but the restaurant’s loyal cult following evangelizes an entire subset of off-the-menu items with names such as “the Flying Dutchman” and “animal-style fries”.
From the horse’s mouth: “We are a private, family-owned company … We operate all of our restaurants ourselves, and we don’t franchise, so slow growth has always been part of our strategy. The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is vibrant, strong, growing and filled with opportunities. We will have everything we need there — from warehouse/commissary and patty production facilities to a large, metropolitan area that those facilities can serve. Long term, we will also be able to serve other markets from that central distribution center. We are now under construction on our first two restaurants — Allen and Frisco. … If everything goes well, we hope to open both in the spring. We should also start construction soon on the Caruth Haven site and, hopefully, a few others.” —Carl Van Fleet, planning and development vice president
Expert opinion: “They’ve been very tight-lipped about their expansion process. What I’ve heard is they plan to open Dallas-Fort Worth with five or six units, and open them all at the same time.” —David Shelton
“They are a cult dynamo on the West Coast. Anybody that’s been out there, they just love the whole program. Food is good, fresh, quick and efficient.” —Robert Young
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