Cuban Guys in Hialeah

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Wuv’s Hamburgers, Not Just Another South Florida Burger Chain

El Rey de las Fritas

We wuv Wuv’s…and we’d love you to wuv Wuv’s with us!

A Fresh Idea in Fast Food

Get Fresh at Wuv’s

Any of those sound familiar to you? Well, if you were around from 1976 through 1981 then there’s a pretty good chance you’ll remember Wuv’s Hamburgers.

Wuv’s was founded by Jack Penrod (Nikki Beach) who got his start in the restaurant industry at McDonald’s in 1961. At the age 20 he was the Grill Man then worked his way up to Manager and eventually the largest franchisee of McDonald’s in South Florida, 16 total.

In early 1974 Jack was making plans for his own chain of Burger restaurants to be called Wuv’s. Then, in May of 1975 the McDonald’s corporation purchased all of┬áJack’s┬ástores and a few days later Wuv’s Inc was incorporated in Florida.

Wuv’s was known for their fresh never frozen Burgers, toppings bar, fresh cut Fries, Chili, Biscuits and Wuv Juice (Passion Fruit based drink) amongst other things.

Some of the locations featured a Purple and White building while others had the wood paneled look below.

Wuvs_01
picture courtesy of danduckham.com
Wuv's Hamburgers
picture courtesy of danduckham.com
Wuv's Hamburgers
picture courtesy of danduckham.com
Wuv's Hamburgers
picture courtesy of danduckham.com

In this 1980 commercial they mentioned 20 South Florida locations:

Crawydaddyk on the Road Food website left a great comment about why he loved Wuv’s:

They had great from scratch onion rings;assume biscuits (one of the first fast food chains to offer biscuits with chicken most offered dinner rolls) there was one located close to popeyes fried chicken headquarters in jefferson parish louisiana. The popeyes execs would eat breakfast at wuv’s and got the idea for biscuits with chicken from them. the rest is history. Someone asked why the name Wuv’s. I was told that Jack Penrod the originator for the chain had bought a stuffed animal, while on a plane trip, for one of his kids and there was a tag that said I WUV YOU He liked that saying and decided to name his new chain WUVS. Their salad bar was assume And to correct another poster Wuv juice was not like OJ . It was made from ingredients flown in from Hawaii like passion fruit, mangos, guava etc. If anything it was a healthy version of Hawian Punch. There moto was “Fresh Never Frozen”. As you can tell I loved the chain. Also where I lived they were not purple and white buildings they were grey stucco and cedar wood on the outside and on the inside there were plants all around a ledge close to the ceiling i think there were a mixture of ivys and ferns plus the furniture was all wooden no plastic. also there breakfast was awsemoe nothing frozen everything made from scratch and they also used the biscuits cut in half to make strawberry shortcake with real made from scratch Whipped Cream. Also while you were in the queing line you could look into the room where they washed and cut their French Fries and where they cut and battered their onion rings. There was no doubt there stuff was “Fresh Never Frozen”

On December 23rd, 1981 the Associated Press ran a small story in the New York Times about the demise of Wuv’s entitled “Wuv’s Chain Files Under Chapter 11“. In it Jack Penrod said ‘We got ourselves in a hole, and we can’t get out of it”. They had lost 1 million dollars in revenue which had led to the dismissal of 30 of its 50 office employees. At the time of their closing there were 70 locations, 14 of which were in the Detroit area.

Wuv's Hamburgers
Wuv’s Hamburger in Brandenton, Florida (July 17th, 1979)
Jack Penrod & Robert Fitz
Jack Penrod & Robert Fitz, picture courtesy of the Cleveland Memory Project
Hialeah Grand Opening Ad
Hialeah Grand Opening Ad – Sat Feb 23rd, 1980
The only piece of Wuv's Memorabilia I own
The only piece of Wuv’s Memorabilia I own at my Burger Beast Museum
1981/1982 White Pages
1981/1982 White Pages, courtesy of Phillip Pesar

I never ate at Wuv’s Hamburgers but it seemed like a place that would have been right up my alley.

Feel free to leave any memories you might have about Wuv’s Hamburger in the comment’s area below.

*Penrod v. Commissioner was used to obtain some of the information used for this post.

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  • Andrew S.

    I loved this place as a kid! I was born in 1971 and lived in Middleburg Heights, OH. The WUVS location was on the corner of Pearl Rd. and Bagley Rd in Middleburg Hts. After it went under, it became a place called ‘Chuckie’s Chicken’, where you could get a burger, fries, and a pop for $0.99!

  • ngrealy

    I loved the onion rings. The batter didn’t overwhelm the sweetness of the onions.

  • Ron Smolen

    There was a WUV’s at 600 E Lake Street, Addison, IL 60101 built in fromt of the Howard Johnson Motel. The building has been replaced with a small Medical Center.

  • Ron Smolen

    There was a WUV’s at 600 E Lake Street, Addison, IL 60101 built in front of the Howard Johnson Motel. The building has been replaced with a small Medical Center.

    • Charles Boettcher

      There were 2 WUV’s Hamburger Restaurants in Metro Detroit. One was located in Redford Michigan on Telegraph North of 5 mile. The building was demolished several years after it closed. The 2nd one that I am aware of was in Taylor Michigan on Telegraph Road as well. The building remains, with the exterior mostly intact except the wood exteriors have been painted. It has been New Hong Kong Restaurant, New Hong Kong, 8695 Telegraph Rd, Taylor, MI 48180. Do a Google Street View to see what it looks like!

  • Amy Shields

    I remember going as a kid while we were stationed in Montgomery, AL….1979-1980. Yum!

  • Cassandra Atticum

    I worked at a WUVs in FL in 1978-79. I eventually became the night manager. They had the best fast food and I wish I knew the recipe for their WUV juice. It’s true, there was no freezer on the premises. Everything was fresh made (except the chili, which was made from burgers that were made but not sold and were then refrigerated.) When I started there we had to wear super short purple dresses for uniforms. I’ve been looking for a picture of those awful uniforms. That’s what brought me here.

  • Equalman

    Wuv’s in Ramsey, NJ!!!!!

  • Glenn Tec

    Wuv’s in Mid-Island Shopping Plaza Hicksville NY

  • keith peru

    I was online looking this up. Glad this article is here. I was a kid, 3 to 6 years of age, and my family and I use to dine at a Wuv’s in Fort Myers Florida. I kept searching online for “Wuz,” which is obvious the wrong spelling, due to my my preschool age not recalling the proper name. What I do recall at that age was that I preferred Wuz’s over McDonald’s at that time. Also the insides are described just as I barely can recall. My parents are deceased and I had no one to ask about this restaurant, so I took to the Net. Wow, who even calls the internet the Net these days? Time flies.

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