Remembering Biff Burger in St. Petersburg

When it opened in 1956, Biff Burger was based in Clearwater, Florida. Its locations were mainly on the eastern side of the United States, with a few in Canada.

Now, some 70 years or so later, only two locations survive: One restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida; the other restaurant was renamed Beef Burger in Greensboro, North Carolina.

In case you were wondering, there was no Biff. It was an acronym for Best In Fast Food.

On Our Way to Biff Burger

BIFF Burger in St. Petersburg
BIFF Burger in St. Petersburg

As we leave Marco Island and head home to Miami, I mention Biff Burger (3939 49th Street N, St. Petersburg) to my wife, Marcela. The next thing I know, our itinerary has changed, and St. Petersburg is up next, two hours away. 

They don’t make them like they used to, and Biff Burger is a classic example of that with its high-arch burger architecture. I loved seeing the restaurant name in tiles before you stepped foot into this landmark.

BIFF Burger Building in St. Petersburg
BIFF Burger Building
Tiled Entrance from BIFF Burger in St. Petersburg
Tiled BIFF Burger Entrance

Biff Burger is Old School

The seating at Biff Burger is those old contoured booths that were all the rage in the late 1960s and 1970s. Once inside, you encounter a rather extensive menu, including breakfast, which sounded pretty good since I only had coffee before leaving.

While I don’t think a chili cheese dog was on the original menu, it was indeed calling my name. The dog comes on a freshly baked and toasted roll, which I didn’t expect, with a beefy chili that did have some beans.

Chili Cheese Dog from BIFF Burger in St. Petersburg
Chili Cheese Dog

I didn’t add mustard and onions, which is my standard practice, but it was a good chili dog. At Biff Burger, they roto-broil their fresh, never-frozen burgers.

Here’s a picture of the contraption where it all happens.

Roto-Broiler Conveyer Belt from BIFF Burger in St. Petersburg
Roto-Broiler Conveyer Belt

What I Ate at Biff Burger

I ordered two after the fellow at the counter suggested one might not be enough, and he was right. The Biff Burger is served in one of those clear sandwich bags.

At first, I thought, did they run out of wax paper? Come on, fellas, there’s no need to get lazy. So rather than assume, I asked and was told it was to keep all the juices inside. It makes sense!

Bagged Burger from BIFF Burger in St. Petersburg, Florida
Bagged Burger
Cheese Biff Burger from BIFF Burger in St. Petersburg
Cheese Biff Burger

There’s a great charbroil taste permeating throughout the burger. Then you have this tangy sauce, almost like a BBQ sauce coming through.

I loved it!

Since I’m a patty melt kind of guy, I wasn’t leaving without trying Biff’s version. It hit all the right notes, but a second one of their signature burger was the right move.

Patty Melt Half from BIFF Burger in St. Petersburg, Florida
Patty Melt Half
Patty Melt from BIFF Burger in St. Petersburg, Florida
Patty Melt

Was this worth the drive? Absolutely.

We’d do it again in a heartbeat, and I regret not taking a couple to go for the almost four-hour drive home.

Biff Burger is PERMANENTLY CLOSED

Unfortunately, a few months after Beef Burger shut down in Greensboro, North Carolina, Biff Burger closed in November 2021, and all its assets were sold off the following month. The building has been razed, leaving no trace that Biff Burger was ever there, a real shame.

Biff Burger Sauce Recipe

Luckily, some years ago, a reader sent me the recipe for the Biff Burger Sauce. I’ve been sitting on it till now and can’t wait to try making my batch at home.

Biff Burger Sauce

  • 2 ounces of Mustard
  • 28 ounces of Ketchup
  • 2 ounces sweet pickle relish
  • Pinch of ginger powder
  • 2 ounces of liquid smoke

Mix everything thoroughly in a mixing bowl or blender.

Biff Burger at my Burger Museum

My Burger Museum did have a few pieces of Biff Burger history.

1960s Biff Burger Paper Bag from the Burger Museum Collection
1960s Biff Burger Paper Bag
1969 Biff Burger Picture from the Burger Museum Collection
1969 Biff Burger Picture
Details for the 1969 Biff Burger Picture from the Burger Museum Collection
Details for the 1969 Biff Burger Picture

8 thoughts on “Remembering Biff Burger in St. Petersburg”

  1. I lived in St. Pete in the 90’s and when my kids were little they loved to go to the Saturday Night Car shows and have dinner there along with the activities for kids, i.e. hula hoop contests, and the dancing. We have some wonderful memories.

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  2. The photo you show as being the Roto-Broiler is not the Roto-Broiler that was designed, patented and built by Earl Brane (co-founder of Biff-Burger). I knew both Earl and Bruce Brane personally and saw the real Roto-Broiler being built back in the 1960’s. The one being shown is a replacement for the original real Roto-Broiler after it broke down and parts were no longer available. I worked at the St.Pete Biff-Burger in the early 70’s and cooked many a Biff Burger. My mother was the manager in the 60’s to the mid 70’s. She managed that location from the day it opened in 1963. My dad was the Operations Director of National Biff-Burger Systems Inc. My dad started with Biff-Burger in 1959 as a store manager. Biff-Burger was a huge part of my life. It was sad seeing the last Biff-Burger being demolished but that being said, Biff-Burger was never the same after being sold off to Burger King by Resorts International.

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    • I live about 10 blocks away from what was the last surviving Biff. Burger and fries and hot dogs and fries and a good cold one were our staple. The hot dogs they served tasted just like the ones I grew up eating at Woolworths in the 50s & 60s. It is just about a car wash now, not much left to be done on it. Gonna miss it.

      Did you work at Honeywell?

      Reply
  3. I remember the one in Auburndale FL. my mom and I use to go there back in the mid 70 s . wish I could have one again before I die. I’ve been diagnosed with cancer . probably never have one again.

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  4. I am also 60 years old and spent the first 9 years of my life in Dunedin, FL. My mother and I also loved to go to Biff Burger and I remember that their burgers tasted like nobody else’s. I have download the sauce recipe and someday I’m going to have to give it a shot at home!

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  5. iam 60 years old,,when my family lived in St Petersburg Florida in 1965 or so we use to love to go to Biff Burger,,,best sauce i ever had on a hamburger,,it was always a treat to go to Biff Burger after church…..i finally found the recipe to the sauuce which was soo good!!!Outstanding sauce….on here,,,,wow

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