Flagstaff's long-rumored In-N-Out Burger is finally coming. Here's the latest update

Michael Salerno and Lacey Latch
Arizona Republic

After years of anticipation, In-N-Out Burger will open its first restaurant in Flagstaff.

The Coconino County Recorder's Office just made public a lease agreement between In-N-Out and Scottsdale-based Diversified Partners LLC for a location on Milton Road, the main artery into Flagstaff.

The agreement shows signatures from In-N-Out's assistant vice president of real estate Mike Abbate and Diversified Partners' founder and CEO Walt Brown Jr.

It confirms long-developing plans for an In-N-Out restaurant in a 3,885-square-foot building at 1860 S. Milton Road, the site of a former Pizza Hut. In-N-Out solicited bids for the contract this summer, shortly after its plans met criteria from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

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When will In-N-Out open in Flagstaff?

The location of Flagstaff's first In-N-Out Burger just off Milton Road is shown on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2022. The building used to be a Pizza Hut but will be converted into an In-N-Out Burger.

It's still too early to say.

In July, Abbate told The Arizona Republic that In-N-Out was in the development application process for the Flagstaff location and gave an opening date of "sometime in the future." That is still true today.

"Once we begin construction on a new location, it usually takes us around eight to nine months to build a restaurant and open for business," Abbate said Tuesday in a statement. "Because it is early in the process, it would be premature to comment on a timeline or anything like a potential opening date."

In-N-Out's website lists 11 restaurants as coming soon; none is in Arizona. It listed seven locations in California and one apiece in Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and Texas.

In-N-Out Burger has 34 locations in Arizona, including 22 in the Phoenix metro area, nine in Tucson/southern Arizona and one each in Kingman, Lake Havasu and Prescott. The Flagstaff location will be In-N-Out's first in Coconino County.

Is In-N-Out Burger hiring?

The company isn't hiring yet for the Flagstaff location. The closest available opening on its website's employment page is a store associate position in Prescott.

How will it impact Flagstaff's economy?

Jack Fitchett, Flagstaff's business attraction manager, described In-N-Out opening in the city as "an economic development win."

It will support the city's economic growth by drawing residents and visitors as customers and creating new jobs. 

"We're getting a restaurant that the community has wanted for 15-plus years and now they will finally be here," he said.

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What will In-N-Out Burger mean for Flagstaff traffic?

Plans for the Flagstaff restaurant went forward after In-N-Out agreed to certain criteria from ADOT, including limited turn movements and a median along Milton Road to  prevent left turns from the restaurant, ADOT spokesman Doug Nintzel said.

The stretch of Milton Road between historic Route 66 and Interstate 40 is a bustling artery with an abundance of fast-food restaurants and other businesses. Some residents think the new location will add only more traffic to an already congested area.

But Fitchett thinks it won't create significant congestion, citing how the project required ADOT approval after multiple traffic studies. The lot is large enough to allow for a good amount of drive-thru traffic, he said.

"The way that they've approached this, I think, has been really smart," he said. 

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Reach the reporter at Follow him on Twitter @salerno_phx.

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