International burger chain CaliBurger is on its way to the U District this summer to set up one its first three outposts in the US. Never heard of CaliBurger? There aren't actually any in Cali yet—or in the States at all, for that matter—but if you know cult California-based In-N-Out Burger, you've got the idea... quite intimately, in fact.
According to The Los Angeles Times, a former In-N-Out manager opened the first CaliBurger in Shanghai in 2012, and In-N-Out promptly sued the new company for advertising a Double-Double burger, along with "‘Animal Style' fries topped with cheese, special sauce and onions, and planning to serve thick shakes in palm-tree-print cups." CaliBurger ultimately changed the names of its In-N-Out-like menu items and added some (impressive) non-In-N-Out touches, including booze-spiked milkshakes and wine.
Fast forward three and half years, and CaliBurger has expanded around China and into the Middle East, with plans to set up in Stockholm, London, the Philippines, DC, Seattle, and—boldly—Los Angeles. The Seattle and LA branches are both set to open late summer. In our 2,500-square-foot CaliBurger, we can expect seating for around 100, a 300-square-foot-patio out back, and tech galore: mobile ordering, video games, wireless charging stations, and more.
And what of the food? Will CaliBurger be the next best thing to having our own In-N-Out in Seattle? Or will it even (is it sacrilege to say) possibly be better in some ways, with its chicken sandwich, wing, and alcohol options? (The U District outpost plans to offer local beers and wines, as well as the aforementioned spiked, and non-spiked, shakes.) Take a look at each menu—In-N-Out and Caliburger—and predict for yourself. Weighing CaliBurger opposite other international options, Bloomberg Business is a fan: last month it named CaliBurger one of the best classic burgers in the finance capitals of the world (a pick for Hong Kong). Stay tuned for updates on an opening date for the new CaliBurger at 45th and the Ave.