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Burgers worth the wait?

The early birds who queued successfully for In-N-Out burgers enjoyed their meal, while many others who arrived past 11am found themselves out of luck. (ST PHOTOS: NURIA LING)

Publication Date : 25-07-2012

 

There were only 300 burgers available, but fans of the American burger chain In-N-Out turned up in droves early yesterday at its pop-up store in Circular Road. Queues started forming at about 9:30am.

An hour later, the line, which included many students on holiday and working professionals from nearby offices, started snaking around the corner into the alley and up Boat Quay.

Red wristbands, which entitled each customer to buy one burger, were all given out five minutes after distribution began at 11am. Desperate fans were offering up to S$50 (US$40) for a wristband.

The pop-up store is the first in Singapore for the chain, which took over the Golden Grill restaurant for four hours yesterday.

Known for fresh, made-to-order burgers, the family-run chain is famous for setting up stores only on the West Coast of the United States.

It set up the pop-up one in Boat Quay to see if it would be a good move to open a permanent eatery in Singapore.

The company has also tested the waters in Sydney, Shanghai, Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

For the store here, In-N-Out's already-small menu was pared down even more. No shakes or fries were available and customers were given only three choices of burgers that cost between S$4 and S$6. These were served with crisps.

In-N-Out T-shirts were also on sale for S$5 each.

Student Tyron Tjong, 15, was one of the first in line at 9:30am. He roped in his parents to get one each of the three burgers: Double Double, Animal-style and Protein-style burgers.

He said: "It's just one day and I really wanted to eat the burger after trying it in Los Angeles a couple of years ago. The meat is just so juicy and it's a really good burger."

Similarly, housewife Selena Freese, 42, headed straight to the eatery after her husband read about the pop-up store in the Life! section of The Straits Times in the morning.

The Los Angeles native, who heads to an In-N-Out outlet every time she goes home, said: "I'm in love with the burger and I just had to have it. The one here tastes just as good as the burgers in America."

Some fans, such as Abhishek Radhakrishnan, 26, were not as lucky and were turned away after all the wristbands were given out. The game developer arrived at 11:l5am, only to find himself at the tail-end of the line.

He said: "I thought that coming here earlier was a bit of an overkill as I didn't expect so many people to turn up. I learnt my lesson, but I'm pretty bummed that I didn't get a burger."

The manager of special foreign events at In-N-Out, Brian Nakao, told Life! that he expected the event to be a success.

He said: "Even if people didn't know about the brand, walking around this area, we can already tell how much Singaporeans love good food."

He remained tight-lipped about expansion plans to Singapore, though he said the chain would be back eventually.

He added that In-N-Out was considering expanding outside of the US despite not venturing into the American east coast, as the Asian market was a good place to move to.

It was well worth the wait for those who got their hands on the coveted burgers.

Lydia Pok, 22, who was there with two friends, said: "It is the best burger I have ever eaten, especially the last bite, where all the flavours of the cheese, sauce and meat come together."

The recent university graduate, who had her first In-N-Out burger five years ago, added: "I just wanted to remember the taste of how good it was. Now that I've had it, I feel like a champ."

 

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