The wait is almost over. In-N-Out has a targeted open date for its newest restaurant on Santa Margarita Parkway at the 241 toll road.
Although it's not etched in stone, the iconic Southern California burger drive-thru hopes people will consider a Double Double in any Valentine’s Day plans.
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Store No. 281 will open to the public on Feb. 14 if all goes according to plan, though construction has hardly been picture perfect for the newest link in the Irvine-based restaurant’s chain.
There were the massive underground pipes that didn't fit together, and rain that slowed down the pouring of asphalt on what used to be a corner of Santa Margarita Ford. And there were a lot of rocks on the site.
Of course, none of that will matter once the doors and drive-thru open.
"If all goes well over the next few days, we hope to open the restaurant late next week," said company vice president Carl Van Fleet. "So far we’ve hired close to 30 new associates and we also will have some transfers to bring the total number to just under 50."
Van Fleet indicated that new employees start at $10 per hour "and we are still looking for a few more great people." Click here to begin the employment process.
There are currently no grand opening festivities. "We do our best to open 'business as usual,' " Van Fleet said.
Regular hours will be Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Friday-Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.
"We will probably open early on opening day, especially if we have some customers waiting," Van Fleet said. "We’re very excited to be coming to Rancho Santa Margarita and everything has gone well. Yes we’ve had some minor, routine construction delays but nothing out of the ordinary."
If the restaurant is not ready for business on the 14th—which falls on a Thursday—it will open as soon as possible after that date, meaning residents could still be in animal style bliss before the weekend is over.
As of right now, all the construction on the site is completed, and all the inspectors have been lined up to filter through the 3,665 square foot facility by the end of the week.