Utah’s 10th In-N-Out Burger is coming to State Street and 21st South

In-N-Out Burger is bringing its 10th Utah restaurant to Salt Lake City, adding the cult-status drive-thru to a car-centric portion of the Ballpark neighborhood near State Street and 2100 South. 

The location at 61 East 2100 South will replace a Burger King and the now-demolished Sconecutter restaurant, a legendary SLC late-night munchies magnet that suffered a fire in 2020. The Subway on the northwest corner of the intersection will remain. 

The wildly popular slice of Southern California will locate in what is becoming a mismatched and increasingly dysfunctional portion of 2100 South. Nearby, developers are quickly adding apartments near the TRAX station at 200 West and east of State Street; meanwhile, state control of the road and CC Commercial Corridor zoning has locked the street into a car-centric present — and now, future.

Sign improvements that the project will bring. Image courtesy In-N-Out.

Drive-thrus are a permitted use in CC zoning in both Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake, which borders its big brother at 21st South.

Despite the zoning code of both cities becoming increasingly progressive in recent years, they have ceded the area to UDOT. The state agency has insisted on maintaining State Street as a highway that cuts through —  instead of contributing to — adjacent neighborhoods that are increasingly urbanizing. 

UDOT also controls 2100 South as it approaches the 1-15, I-80, and SR-201 interchanges to the west.

Despite UDOT’s priorities, and UTA’s indifferent treatment of its TRAX station at Central Pointe (200 West), the area has attracted apartments, where residents have no safe crossing to navigate the state road to access the light rail. Three-foot-wide sidewalks greet anyone traveling outside a car.

In an area that falls between the cracks of municipal jurisdictions, the off-cited connection between transportation and land-use is blatantly being ignored. Meanwhile, drivers will have easy access to Double-Doubles and string fries through driveway cuts off State and 2100 South just south of Redondo Avenue.

Project details

The 1.12-acre site will feature an L-shaped configuration, with cars stacking on the north and west sides of the property. A large parking lot, with 38 spots for In-N-Out, is contiguous with another 18 existing stalls for Subway.

In-N-Out site plan. 2100 South, bottom, State St., right. Image courtesy In-N-Out.

The project promises to deliver an “aesthetically-pleasing building designed with architectural enhancements that are timeless.” The application draws attention to its “‘Bone China White’ stucco finish and an ‘Inca Ironspot’ brick wainscot.”

The Baldwin Park, CA applicant claims the restaurant “enhances a prominent area within Downtown Logan [sic] with a family-owned establishment that provides a delicious product that is unmatched in quality to the community, well-paying jobs, and added revenue to the City.”

Good intentions to the south, inaction from the north

What will come of South Salt Lake’s desire to “create a quality urban neighborhood that appeals to new residents” and develop “an urban core” a half a block away?

Salt Lake City zoning in the area, In-N-Out location green square, right-center. Image courtesy SLC Planning.
South Salt Lake zoning. Purple = Downtown zone; Red = Commercial Corridor; Brown = Multi-family mixed use. In-N-Out location is the lil’ green square, top center. Image courtesy SSL, City on the Move.

In its MFMU Multi-family mixed-use district, just to the west of the 2100 South and State intersection, South Salt Lake has expressed intentions for urban design to transform the area from its current auto-centrism. Drive-thrus are prohibited. 

Yet the Winco supermarket was built with its back to the street and acres of surface parking. The city is preserving Main Street as a main thoroughfare through its purported Downtown — with four lanes plus parking and no space for bikes, hoping to convince the state to build another interchange with I-80.

On the north side of the street, Salt Lake City leaders seem content with its CC Commercial Corridor and CG General Commercial land-uses even though they contradict many of the city’s development and sustainability goals. 

Both zones require minimum lot size, setbacks, and parking requirements that will perpetuate the area’s car dominance — despite seeing pretty impressive apartment construction in the northeast quadrant of 300 West and 2100 South. Builders are typically forced to go through the city’s planned development and design review processes to create feasible projects under CC and CG zoning.

The Granary and Ballpark neighborhoods to the north are also home to significant stretches of CC zoning and getting a lot of development attention. Yet yesterday’s zoning remains, creating patchworked neighborhoods with an incoherent mix of CC, RMF Residential Multi-family, and R-1 single-family zoning.

Collaboration, a start

The Life on State visioning process has provided a platform for cooperation between adjacent municipalities up and down the street. For Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake, it has led to conversations about increasing bike friendliness on adjacent streets. 

The two municipalities have agreed to collaborate on a Bikeways Study that will seek to establish “high comfort” bike facilities – meaning protected lanes – on 200 East and Main Street. The public engagement for that project is scheduled to begin in March and run through September.

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Posted by Luke Garrott

Luke Garrott, PhD, has published in The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, and written features for the Salt Lake City Weekly City Guide and The West View. A former two-term councilman in Salt Lake City's District 4, he lives in Downtown Salt Lake City and grew up in the Chicago area.