South Lamar Blvd. could be the setting of the ultimate showdown in Austin's ongoing Burger Wars.
Rumors are swirling that In-N-Out, the California chain with a cult following and growing local presence, will set up shop at 3701 South Lamar Blvd. This comes from a new site plan submitted to the city of Austin on March 14 that is still currently under review. The location, just down the road from the Broken Spoke, is currently occupied by Wendy’s.
If approved, it would be In-N-Out’s second location inside Austin proper, and its fourth in the area (there are locations in Cedar Park and Round Rock). More importantly, with the South Lamar location, In-N-Out will face stiff competition from nearby burger joints that have already staked their claim in Austin.
Just a few blocks north on 2901 S. Lamar Blvd. is Phil’s Icehouse, an Austin establishment whose burger names (such as the Allandale and the Violet Crown) reflect the chain’s ties to the city. With possibly the best buns, along with backup from neighboring Amy’s Ice Creams, Phil’s is ready for the West Coast burgers encroaching on its turf. Head north on Lamar Blvd. and you reach the spot where Shake Shack will open in late 2014. Shake Shack is, essentially, the East Coast’s answer to the cult of In-N-Out, so expect a coast-to-coast war to heat up when the beloved burger joint finally opens.
When you pass Barton Springs Road, you come across Austin’s most popular homegrown burger spot, P. Terry’s. P. Terry’s has an automatic leg up on In-N-Out by offering a breakfast menu, catering to Austin’s hungover demographic. There's one more dark horse in this grilled beef race: Wholly Cow Burgers' original location near the Zen Food Mart. This local spot may not have the brand recognition of the others, but the grass-fed burgers speak louder than words.
If In-N-Out stakes its claim on one of Austin’s most popular streets, South Lamar’s burger scene will undoubtedly become "Burger Boulevard." You can either choose a side in the ever-growing battle, or just be thankful to have one more option for fast dining after a night of two-steppin’ at the Spoke.