Rancho Santa Margarita area residents may be able to fill their In-N-Out urge in 2012 without having to drive to Foothill Ranch to do so.
City officials met recently with representatives of In-N-Out Burger and continued to try to hammer out details and ideas that would bring the iconic Southern California chain restaurant to Santa Margarita Parkway in a lot next to the Santa Margarita Ford auto dealership.
A memo from RSM city staff indicated that In-N-Out "is moving forward with its plans to come to Rancho Santa Margarita. They are planning to construct a restaurant similar to the one that currently exists at the former Kaplan's Deli site in Costa Mesa (off Harbor Blvd.)."
Mike Bailey, regional real estate manager for Irvine-based In-N-Out, said the company has been in talks with Jim Graham, owner of the , for a piece of land on the property. He indicated that Graham and city representatives have been nothing but helpful.
"The deal I have presented to senior management has been approved," Bailey said. "We don't go through these exercises for nothing. We talked to the city and I think we'll be very successful getting a building permit. There's a lot that has to be put into it, but it involves our ability to work with CalTrans. The kicker is really CalTrans."
Ingress and egress issues—basically getting in and out of the site—would have to be resolved through CalTrans.
At this stage, nothing official has happened. In-N-Out has yet to file any papers with the city, but it has clearly indicated it desires to be in Rancho Santa Margarita.
"I’m very confident there’s going to be a store in RSM," Bailey said. "Everyone I’ve talked to in RSM has been very receptive, but we haven’t started the process yet. It’s a process that has to play itself out. I’m very comfortable with what we put together and very hopeful we're going to open a store."