If you love celebrity burger stands, this will be welcome news: In-N-Out Burger is scouting the Dallas-Fort Worth market for possible restaurants. One of the locations being scouted is the former Steak ‘n Shake at Caruth Haven and Central Expressway, according to three commercial real estate sources.

In-N-Out, of course, is Hollywood’s answer to McDonald’s in that celebrities enjoy cruising the drive-thru and bragging about bagging items off a secret menu like "animal style" and "4×4" burgers. Its stores are located in the western U.S. (California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah) because that’s the part of the country where the company began. But that’s not to say that just about every other state wouldn’t welcome a few of the burger joints.

Dallas real estate people say In-N-Out has been energetically evaluating locations here, and if there was ever an opportunity to expand to Texas, this should be it. With the economy dropping commercial land prices into the tank and with location-savvy chains like Steak ‘n Shake dropping prime stores faster than the stock market fell last spring, it’s the perfect opportunity for a national powerhouse like In-N-Out to affordably expand to a new part of the U.S. Maybe it will be Dallas, maybe Houston, maybe Austin — more likely, the way In-N-Out handles distribution, it could be all three. Or it could simply be another state altogether.

Anyway, here’s the less-than-definitive but not-exactly-a-denial word from In-N-Out its own self: "We frequently evaluate new (for us) markets and potential opportunities. The Dallas/Ft. Worth market is certainly very attractive, and it is definitely part of that long term evaluation. We have looked at several locations there, but it is way too early to speculate as to when we might be open or to try to get specific about a site. I’m sorry I can’t give you any more details at this time, but it is still very early in the process and we’re still pretty deep in the evaluation process."

Let the salivating begin.

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