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Wuv’s Hamburgers, A Late Great Burger Chain

Wuv's which opened its first location in Boca Raton would go on to open in many other states around the U.S.

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 1975 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 of 20, he was the grill man. Jack Penrod then worked his way up to Manager and eventually the largest franchisee of McDonald’s in South Florida. He owned a total of 16 McDonald’s.

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

The first Wuv’s location opened in Boca Raton, Florida on December 10th, 1975.

Wuv’s was known for its fresh never-frozen burgers, the toppings bar, fresh-cut fries, chili, biscuits and Wuv Juice (a 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.

Crawydaddyk on the Roadfood site left a great comment about why he loved Wuv’s:

“They had great from scratch onion rings and 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 awesome And to correct another poster, Wuvs 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 Hawaiian Punch. Their motto 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 cedarwood on the outside and on the inside there were plants all around a ledge close to the ceiling. I think there was a mixture of ivy and ferns plus the furniture was all wooden no plastic. Also, their breakfast was awesome 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 queuing 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 their 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

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:


Wuv's Hamburgers

Wuv’s Hamburger in Bradenton, 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

One of the pieces of Wuv’s memorabilia I own at my Burger Beast Museum


Confirmed Arizona Wuv’s Locations:

Phoenix – 3033 E Indian School Rd
Tucson – 5660 E Broadway Blvd

Confirmed Florida Wuv’s Locations:

Boca Raton – 1999 NW 2nd Avenue
Cooper City – 9700 Griffin Road
Deerfield – 2215 West Hillsboro Blvd
Ft. Lauderdale – 1500 S Federal Highway
Ft. Lauderdale – 5250 NW 21st Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale – 1604 West Oakland Park Blvd
Ft. Lauderdale – 400 East Sunrise
Ft. Lauderdale – 2316 East Sunrise Blvd
Ft. Myers – 3535 Cleveland Avenue
Ft. Myers – 6079 McGregor Boulevard
Hialeah – 5350 W. 16 Avenue
Hollywood – 6551 W Taft Street
Lake Worth – 3900 Congress Avenue
Lauderhill – 5621 North University
Miami – 1277 NW 7th Street
Miami – 3200 South Dixie Highway
North Miami – 600 N.E. 167th Street
Oakland Park – 1050 E. Commercial Blvd (Oakland Pk.)
Orlando – 1600 S Orange Ave
Pompano – 437 N. Federal Highway
Pompano – 281 Pompano Parkway
Stuart – Address unknown
Tallahassee – 2529 Apalachee Pkwy
Tallahassee – 1429 W Tennessee Street
Tallahassee – 2316 N Monroe Street
Tampa – 660 W. Brandon Avenue
Tampa – 5807 N. 56th Court
Tampa – 7549 W. Waters Avenue
Tampa – 10802 N. Dale Mabry
West Palm Beach – 7204 South Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach – 2800 Okeechobee Blvd
Winter Park – 2295 Semoran Blvd

Confirmed Michigan Wuv’s Locations:

Redford – 15893 Telegraph Rd
Taylor – 8695 Telegraph Rd

Confirmed New Jersey Wuv’s Locations:

Florham Park – 185 Ridgedale Avenue
Little Falls – Route 46 West
Wildwood – Address unknown

Confirmed New Mexico Wuv’s Locations:

Albuquerque – 3800 Menaul NE

Confirmed South Dakota Wuv’s Locations:

Spearfish – Lawrence County

Confirmed Tennessee Wuv’s Locations:

Chattanooga – 4047 Hixson Pike

Confirmed Texas Wuv’s Locations:

Richardson – 760 S Central Expy

Confirmed Wisconsin Wuv’s Locations:

Kenosha – 7839 Sheridan Road


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 comments below.

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

Comments (13):

  1. Andrew S.

    at

    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!

    Reply
  2. ngrealy

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

    Reply
  3. Ron Smolen

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    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.

    Reply
  4. Ron Smolen

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    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.

    Reply
    • Charles Boettcher

      at

      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!

      Reply
  5. Amy Shields

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

    Reply
  6. Cassandra Atticum

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    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.

    Reply
  7. Equalman

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    Wuv’s in Ramsey, NJ!!!!!

    Reply
  8. Glenn Tec

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    Wuv’s in Mid-Island Shopping Plaza Hicksville NY

    Reply
  9. keith peru

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    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.

    Reply
  10. Cece

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    I remembered the Wuv’s restaurant in Tallahassee Florida. I was very grateful for the hiring manager, because that’s who gave me my very first job and I was 16, pregnant, and in high school. I worked there until they closed the doors. I must say they what you read about the restaurant about everything being fresh and made from scratch is true!!! I wished that this restaurant was still around.

    Reply
  11. Kevin

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    There was a Wuvs at 9400 Griffin rd in Cooper City FL. Use to there all the time in 79 & 80.

    Reply
    • You were close, it was 9700 Griffin Road. I looked it up in an old yellow pages to confirm. Thank you.

      Reply

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