A few months ago, we told you that West Coast burger icon In-N-Out was nosing around Dallas, looking for spots to locate its popular restaurants. At that time, we had confirmed non-confirmation from In-N-Out’s real estate people that they were looking around the area but nothing more specific than that. And we knew that the former Steak and Shake spot between Lovers and Caruth Haven on the east side of Central Expressway’s access road was one of the potential locations.

Now we’re hearing that In-N-Out has six locations "under contract" in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, making the rumors that much stronger.

More after the jump…

One of the sites under consideration is in Garland; we don’t have confirmation on the location of the others, but it’s fair to assume that they’re likely to be spread throughout the area.

And remember: Having sites "under contract" means only that the In-N-Out people are serious about opening restaurants here in Dallas; it doesn’t mean they’re coming here for sure. But the pieces are starting to fall into place: A beat-up commercial real estate market means great deals on prime locations, and a chain-type restaurant like In-N-Out is not going to open just one location in a new market (the cost to staff up would be prohibitive).

What we don’t have is a confirmation from In-N-Out, and I wouldn’t expect that until they’re ready to move forward — from a business perspective, it makes perfect sense to keep future location plans a secret until the company has snapped up all of the properties/locations it needs for its initial push into a new area; once the company announces they’re coming, property owners will jack up the prices when In-N-Out comes calling.

And this is completely a guess, but prime pieces of real estate generally can’t be tied up indefinitely, because having something "under contract" generally prevents it from being sold to anyone else; that means we’re probably looking at finding out something official from In-N-Out within three to six months if, indeed, we’ll be chowing down there later this year or early next year.