In-N-Out is back, this time in South Salt Lake’s new ‘downtown’

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In its quest to shore up a tax base at all costs, the city of South Salt Lake is on track to approve yet another sprawling drive-thru in the heart of what is supposed to be its downtown neighborhood.

California-based burger chain In-N-Out is hoping the second time’s the charm for bringing its car-centric business to 2100 South after failing to locate it across the street, in Salt Lake City, in 2021.

Now the chain and its representatives are back with a bigger proposal at 28 E. 2100 S. and 50 E. 2100 S., which is the former Mad Greek restaurant.

The area is supposed to be on its way to becoming a thriving urban district rising out of a former industrial wasteland. Instead, the city is doing what it can to turn it into a suburban dumping ground for big box retail and drive-thrus, with an occasional housing project mixed in.

The small suburban city whose biggest asset is its proximity to Salt Lake City somehow believes the cars that stream through it are key to its economic future.

“This area of the Downtown has a million cars a day that pass through it,” a city planner told the commission last week. “Continuing to support businesses and encourage businesses to develop and operate in this area is a great thing for the Planning Commission to do.”

Ironically, In-N-Out needs to rezone it into the city’s mixed-use zoning, which allows drive-thru fast food restaurants.

South Salt Lake once owned the tract of land that is now home to the Winco, an incoming drive-thru Chipotle, drive-thru Raising Cane’s and townhomes that displaced Parleys Trail that should run through the heart of “downtown.”

Come up with a less efficient use of land contest. In-N-Out will be located on the corner of 2100 S. Main St. in “downtown” South Salt Lake.

It has since systematically worked to clear the way for car-centric businesses and parking lots that take up what could be valuable land.

“We have been looking in this area for quite some time,” an In-N-Out representative told the commission last week. “This is really an area that we’ve wanted to serve for quite some time.”

“Staff has been just phenomenal in helping us walk through all of the issues,” the representative added.

The development will also continue South Salt Lake’s ongoing damage to the regional bike network along Main Street.

South Salt Lake’s alleged leaders have decided they want to reserve State Street and Main Street as places that are convenient for people to drive cars. That’s in contrast with Salt Lake City, and Millcreek, which have both maintained and improved a bike lane on Main Street.

South Salt Lake instead would like people to find their way to West Temple if they have the misfortune of passing through town on a bike. There, they’ll join high-speed heavy truck traffic while navigating a bike lane that zig-zags from curbside to left of parking and back again, when the paint is clear enough to see.

If the application itself wasn’t enough, it is being supported by the billboard lobby, which is planning to relocate an existing billboard on the site somewhere else in the community.

“You will be seeing in a future date an application from Reagan Outdoor Advertising as a proposal to move and relocate this billboard to help support the proposal for In-N-Out on this site,” the planner told the commission.

Email Taylor Anderson

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Posted by Taylor Anderson

Taylor Anderson grew up near Chicago and made his way West to study journalism at the University of Montana. He's been a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune, Bend Bulletin and Salt Lake Tribune. A move from Portland, Oregon, to Salt Lake City opened his eyes to the importance of good urban design for building strong neighborhoods. He lives on the border of the Liberty Wells and Ballpark neighborhoods.