The grand opening of an In-N-Out Burger joint in Colorado sparked massive traffic jams, parking lot brawls, and a wait for food lasting, in some instances, up to 14 hours.
Food fans flocked to the new restaurants on Friday, eager for their chance to order from iconic California-based fast food chain. By the time afternoon rolled around however, authorities estimated the line for food in Aurora stretched more than a mile long.
“It’s hard to estimate. What we know is the line wrapped around the mall twice, and there were some nearby hwy backups,” the Aurora Police Department said in a tweet. “Right now we estimate the line to be 1.5-2 miles long.”
In another tweet Friday afternoon, authorities warned those only just venturing out to one of the In-N-Out locations would not reach the drive-up window ahead of closing.
“IN-n-Out burger is now at a TWELVE HOUR WAIT. I repeat TWELVE HOURS,” the department tweeted.
“Traffic is still significantly impacted in the area surrounding the mall. They will close before you get to the window most likely. Meanwhile many other local eateries do not have a wait hint hint.”
In a follow-up tweet authorities upped the wait to 14 hours and again encouraged those in line to patronize other restaurants in the area: “Speaking of local Aurora eateries who need business, let’s make some suggestions for everyone! Who is your go-to hometown Aurora eatery? Let’s help give some alternate ideas for lunch today for those who decide to bail on the long lines!”
Some customers who tried to endure the wait lost patience, exited in their vehicles and began to fight. A video reportedly taken on the scene shows a group of people swinging their fists at each other — including one man who appears to be wearing only boxers — until they’re separated by other customers.
Just after 4:30 p.m. Aurora police shared their final update on the In-N-Out Burger chaos.
“The last car that will be served tonight has been “marked” and is estimated they will be served around 2:00 a.m.,” officers wrote.
“We anticipate continued traffic impacts in the coming days so please use alternate routes, maybe you’ll find another great local eatery to support.”
In-N-Out, famous for its rotating burger menu, has earned a cult following over its more than 70 years in business. The fast food chain has locations in only six other states: California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, and Oregon.