COLORADO SPRINGS — Even several weeks after Wienerschnitzel returned to Colorado Springs for the first time in years, long drive-thru lines backing up into nearby roads show no sign of getting smaller, leading the city to take action.
Colorado Springs’ only Wienerschnitzel restaurant opened its doors near Academy and Austin Bluffs a couple of weeks ago.
“We’ve seen the line here the past couple of days,” said customer David Nichols.
The line--driving business is also driving people crazy.
“I’d hate to get rear-ended for a hamburger,” Nichols said.
But it’s an all too real possibility. The restaurant is so popular, the drive-thru line spills out onto Austin Bluffs, backing up into one of the busiest intersections in town at Academy and Austin Bluffs.
News 5 crews witnessed multiple near-collisions Tuesday as drivers who found themselves stuck in the drive-thru line bailed onto the middle and left lanes on Austin Bluffs.
“I’m always watching mirrors and always watching cars almost hitting other cars, so it’s pretty scary,” Priscilla Benson said.
The line is even causing Mountain Metro buses to load passengers in the middle lane of Austin Bluffs.
The issue finally came to a head. A spokesperson for the city’s traffic department says they have gotten so many complaints about the bottleneck, they’ve issued a warning, ordering the restaurant to utilize its second drive-thru lane, and put up signs and staff directing customers away from Austin Bluffs.
News 5 spoke to the Wienerschnitzel’s owners Tuesday, who are local franchisees and also operate a convenience store in town. They said they knew there would be crowds when they opened, but the amount they're seeing now has surprised them.
Right now they’re making some repairs after a car hit and destroyed the speaker for the restaurant’s second drive-thru lane.
According to a city spokesperson, the restaurant’s owners have told the city they plan to have the second drive-thru open again by Wednesday, hopefully alleviating the congestion.
“It probably is worth this hot dog, I haven’t had it for years,” said customer Shirley Walden.
“As long as we don’t get hit, I’m good,” said customer Brittney Gildner said.
The restaurant’s owners say they have two more Wienerschnitzel locations in the works. Another one in Colorado Springs, and possibly one in Fountain.