In-N-Out Burger to Powell St. Plaza Burger King Space?

1 min read

In what could either be the greatest thing – or worst thing Emeryville has ever seen, the Powell Street Plaza shopping center may be getting an In-N-Out Burger. With the current closest location being Alameda, the convenience would be a welcome one for fans of the popular, California grown burger chain. But can the notoriously bottlenecked area of Christie and Shellmound handle the addition of vehicle traffic it is sure to bring?

The September City Progress report notes:

Conditional Use Permit In-N-Out Burgers, 5701 Christie Avenue. A Minor Conditional Use Permit and Design Review application to add 54 square feet of building area and for exterior changes and a revised site plan for a new In-N-Out Burgers at an existing Burger King restaurant was submitted on September 20 (pending).

The proposed project would develop the existing 3,677 sq. ft. Burger King building on a 29,280 sq. ft. lot into a In-N-Out Burger and include:

  • 57 indoor seats
  • 4 outdoor tables with 16 outdoor seats
  • 20 parking spaces including 1 ADA and clean air/van pool spaces
  • 9 short-term bicycle parking with rack



The restaurant would operate 7 days a week, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 AM Sunday through Thursday, and from 10:00 AM to 1:30 AM on Friday and Saturday.

The privately owned burger chain is known for it simple, yet customizable menu and a highly loyal customer base. They also have a well-earned reputation for treating their employees well (unlike the business it would be replacing). They’re also known for snaking lines of vehicles through their drive-thru’s and it’s difficult to imagine how the Powell Street Plaza lot could accommodate this.

As proposed, the initial application submitted by In-N-Out requires a Minor Conditional Use Permit and Minor Design Review. Minor permits are reviewed by Emeryville’s City Planning Division and do not require Planning Commission approval. In-N-Out has not provided a timeline for providing revised plans.

[Update: Post initially indicated the building as 29,280 sq. ft. which is the lot size.]

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


  1. That lot is a nightmare as is with people parking there for free and walking to the mall. This sounds like hell.

  2. I looooove me some In n Out! But unfortunately it always brings traffic nightmares. I dont see any possible way that would work. I’m surprised either side would even consider it. Jiminy Christmas that would be a traffic nightmare!
    I hate to say it, but I hope it doesn’t happen ( at that location).
    Maybe they would pay for a pedestrian bridge across Powell… now that would start a conversation…

    • Serious suggestion: could we tear down City Hall and put it there? Kind of a win-win for the community plus better traffic flow.

  3. Oh, no. Traffic is congested at dinner time as it is. The area near Michaels parking lot is empty. Let In N Out build their building from scratch in a less congested area. Please. Please. Please.

  4. Lost in the shuffle of all this excitement is the fact that all those BK employees that EBASE’s Jennifer Lin lined up to speak in favor of Fair Work Week will be heading to the unemployment line. In-N-Out will NOT be hiring adults to do kids’ jobs.

    • Jennifer Lin has put over a thousand Emeryville employees in the unemployment lines in the last year. That’s an impressive record for one person.

      So Jennifer, you took advantage of local BK employees to drive BK out of Emeryville so that all the BK employees would lose their jobs. And you get a raise from your union pals.

      Your mother must be very proud.

  5. Yay! They only get traffic because there aren’t enough of them. Build more and each one will get proportionally less traffic.

    Plus they’ve designed for quite a long drive-through queue; it goes along the building to the south, then along the east side of the lot, wrapping around the north and then the west side of the In-N-Out.

    Did you see a western elevation of the building? If the final drive-through window is on the west side, that extends the available drive-through queue by a few car lengths. From the northern elevation, it looks like there’s a second carport area on that side, presumably for the food window.

  6. The restaurant is fine, but given the already bizarre and nightmarish traffic flow patterns around there, you’ll be sorry. And building more of them will NOT lessen the traffic problems, unless you build two more in the surrounding blocks. Good luck, you’re gonna need it.

  7. It says a lot that the Eville Eye got 80 responses to its poll for city council in a month…and over 400 votes in 24 hours for a burger joint.

    The Hamburglar should run for Emeryville City Council. He’d be a shoe in.

    Come to think of it, he’d fit right in to the current cast of characters.

  8. Try the in-n-out in mill valley along the 101. It doesn’t have a drive thru. The city dictated that it couldn’t have one. The plan can be revised per that model.

  9. The area already has the worst traffic flow planning I’ve ever seen, and it’s an absolute nightmare for bike and pedestrian use as well (even with the bizarrely contrived protected lane added recently).
    Adding a drive-through will undoubtedly increase occurrences of gridlock in the surrounding intersections.

    • That protected lane is HORRIBLE! They never bothered to flatten it or even it out, they just paved over what was there after they were done jack-hammering the asphalt and concrete. Great idea, terrible execution. I literally had my rear rack vibrate so hard on my commuter bike that one of the struts separated…and considering that my commuter bike is a converted mountain bike, that should say something.

      That being said, as much as I would LOVE to see an In-n-Out there, unless they do some major renovations (and bulldozing), I can just see it becoming a bit of a nightmare for vehicular, pedestrian, and cyclist traffic all around…but I still want one here! Gah…so torn…

  10. Biggest challenge seems like folks who jump off the highway to stop at In-N-Out, and then need to make that left onto the single-lane of Christie to get back to the highway entrances.

    • Compare that to the Burger King menu and it’s DEFINITELY a lot healthier (plus it won’t give you diarrhea 20 minutes later…unlike what’s currently sitting in that spot…)

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