POTBELLY

Several new restaurants are arriving in Waco, including the Potbelly Sandwich Works, which is under construction near Gander Mountain on South Valley Mills Drive. In-N-Out Burger and Twisted Root Burger also plan to open in the area.

Staff photo— Jerry Larson

A burger bonanza is about to break out in Waco, with In-N-Out Burger, Twisted Root Burger and Whataburger all eyeing locations around town and submitting plans to Waco City Hall for approval, city officials and representatives of the restaurants have confirmed.

California-based In-N-Out Burger, which has created for itself a loyal following in some parts of the country, reportedly will place a location at South Fifth Street and the Interstate 35 frontage road.

That site is where a Clarion Hotel has been demolished and a 7-Eleven store soon will fall to the wrecking ball.

Dallas-based DuWest Realty is marketing the site and reported Friday that a deal with In-N-Out Burger “looks promising.”

Bobby Horner, an inspection supervisor for the city of Waco, said In-N-Out Burger appears on a site plan submitted by the developers.

Meanwhile, Dallas-based Twisted Root Burger Co. is seeking a permit to move into the old Texas Playhouse building on the Interstate 35 frontage road between University Parks Drive and Fourth Street.

Leon Capital Group bought the former live theater from the Waco Independent School District for $675,000 as surplus property.

Twisted Root Burger started in 2005 as a single location in the Deep Ellum section of Dallas and has grown to about a dozen spots, most of them in Texas, spokeswoman Ariana Hajibashi said in a phone interview. The offbeat eatery in 2009 was featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.”

“It’s a chef-driven burger concept that includes an opportunity to build your own,” Hajibashi said.

The menu includes burgers such as “Big Tex,” which includes guacamole, fried onion strings and chipotle sauce; the “Frito Bandito,” with Texas chili, guacamole, cheddar and Fritos; the “Sexy Hawaiian,” with Jalapeno Jack cheese, teriyaki sauce, pineapple salsa and prosciutto; and the “Spicy Goat,” with chipotle sauce, goat cheese and bacon.

Ostrich and kangaroo

Game meats such as ostrich, venison, kangaraoo, boar, gator, rabbit, duck and beaver are available for $4 more per burger.

“We hope to break ground on the remodel in April and are aiming for a September opening,” said Hajibashi, adding that most locations have full bars.

“We think this will be an awesome addition to the culinary scene there in Waco,” she said.

The city of Waco’s Horner said his staff has begun considering a permit for a new Whataburger restaurant at Lake Air and Valley Mills drives, where the former Richard Karr Motors dealership has been leveled. An Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint, which invites patrons to build their own pies, also will take space there.

‘Food 100 years ago’

A growing chain called Zoe’s Kitchen is seeking a permit to open near the Gander Mountain outdoors store at South Valley Mills Drive and Interstate 35.

Based in Plano, Zoe’s adheres to a Mediterranean-style menu and has adopted the motto: “If it wasn’t food 100 years ago, it’s not food today,” according to its website.

Grilling is the predominant method of cooking, and Zoe’s feature an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs, olive oil and lean proteins.

Zoe’s is going in near the Potbelly Sandwich Works restaurant under construction in the Gander Mountain-anchored shopping center, where Starbucks and Bubba’s 33 also will have a presence. Bubba’s 33 is a chain that advertises pizza, burgers, beer “and more TVs than chairs,” according to its website.

David Corbitt, owner of Tom’s Burgers at 6818 Sanger Ave., said he knows he’s competing with a growing burger base of national and regional chains.

He said he thinks he can stay afloat “by continuing to do what we do from a quality and value standpoint on a consistent basis.”

“We know we can’t keep up with those guys when it comes to advertising,” he said. “But in our particular niche, if we can continue to take care of our customers in a positive way, we feel we can be successful. Most of our customers work in the immediate area. They have 30 minutes for lunch, and hopefully we provide good quality food in a hurry.”

Don't Miss...