Santa Ynez Valley’s Only Movie Theater Might Become an In-N-Out

An In-N-Out Drive-Thru Is Pending Conceptual Review for the 1.48-Acre Lot

Several major chains have been in-and-out of Buellton over the years, including Chipotle and Burger King. | Credit: Caitlin Kelley

Santa Ynez Valley’s wineries are only rivaled by one food group: the burger joint. That is to say, Buellton’s beloved Parks Plaza Theatre might just become an In-N-Out. 

An artist rendering of In-N-Out’s conceptual elevations to the defunct theater. | Credit: Courtesy

This spring, the valley’s only theater was quietly listed for $2.5 million amid the financial whiplash of the pandemic. The listing states that the theater is “under contract,” meaning an “official offer has been accepted, but the sale isn’t yet final.” The future owner hadn’t been publicly named by the real estate office of Lee & Associates — but the City of Buellton just noted an In-N-Out drive-thru as pending conceptual review for the 1.48-acre lot. 

Several major chains have been in-and-out of the small town over the years. Chipotle shut down in Buellton along with 64 other locations as part of a “brand restructuring” in 2018. The defunct Burger King joint down the road remains abandoned after its closure last year. (The City of Buellton report cites a pizza joint called “Fire & Vice” as pending application for that building.)

But there’s a few name-brand mainstays — and McDonald’s will be right next door if In-N-Out ends up taking over the five-screener’s spot.

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