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Indy’s hottest new restaurant has 2+ hour wait spilling onto street

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — There’s usually a 2-hour wait at the hottest new restaurant in Indianapolis. But it’s not some 3-star Michelin-rated steakhouse or seafood restaurant.

It’s a burger joint on West 16th Street called California Burger.

Most people Monday said they wanted to know what all the fuss is about. But those who have waited once, certainly don’t seem to mind waiting again.

The line stretches several blocks round the clock.

“I got in the line at 2:16. It’s now 4:42,” said DaQuan Guest. “Yes, I have been in line that long.”

That means he waited 2.5 hours for a couple of cheeseburgers and chili cheese fries. It’s Guest’s second time here.

“It’s worth it. It’s worth every bit of it.” he promised.

Anthony Brown was the last car in line around 5:30 p.m., about 40 cars back, just a few feet from the Tibbs stoplight.

“Give it a shot I guess,” Brown said.

The wait means he will get plenty of quality time with his son.

His order, “I have no clue.” But he’s got plenty of time time for that too.

More than an hour in front of him, Emilia Jaimas just turned into the parking lot.

“I’m here, almost,” she said.

Jaimas has her eyes set on a bacon cheeseburger. If someone said she was crazy for waiting that long for something she could get in just a couple minutes across the street, her response “Where else can we go right now. It’s COVID,” she said. “We’ve all waited in lines for something.”

The line of cars and the good reviews online caught her eye. But it won’t be until she takes a bite that she’ll know for sure.

“I don’t but my heart tells me it’s good,” Jaimas said. “I’m actually looking at something else to order because this long wait. I’ll eat it tomorrow.”

California Burger opened on on New Year’s.

Ever since, day or night, it seems to be packed, spilling traffic into the road.

Co-owner Bashar Hugais said the food is all cooked to order, never frozen.

Hugais, just 28, moved here from California three months ago to rejoin his brother and open the restaurant. When he first saw the empty storefront, he thought “this has potential. This has a chance. We took this chance and we’re forever grateful that we did. The response we’ve gotten is amazing.”

Meanwhile, outside, DeShawn Edwards is finally ready to order after two hours in line.

“I made it,” he said.

He came to check out what the hype is about. As for whether it will be worth it, he said with a laugh, “I hope so.”

With two hours to think about things, the best advice from customers came from Jaimas who said, “make sure you have gas in your car.” Edwards advised, “get here early because you’re gonna wait.”

Guest, the seasoned veteran customer, only had an hour wait several weeks ago. But now, it’s clear, word-of-mouth has spread.

“Now everybody’s coming to it. It’s worth it. It’s worth every bit of it,” he promised.

Because so many people were cramming inside to order, you have to use the drive through, but Bashar hopes he can open it back open soon.

California Burger opens up every day at 10 a.m. and and closes at 11 p.m. except on Fridays and Saturdays when it’s open until midnight.