Burger King Old-style Building

Burger King History (& The First 10 Miami Locations)

If you live in Miami and drive with any frequency to the Airport or Miami Beach, I will assume you’ve seen the Burger King building located right off of the Dolphin Expressway (SR836) on the NW 57th Street exit.

I would also like to assume that you know that Burger King has been headquartered in Miami since 1959 and that it was initially called Insta-Burger King when it was founded in Jacksonville, FL, in 1953.

The original Insta-Burger King in Jacksonville, Florida
The original Insta-Burger King in Jacksonville, Florida
Stan's Sandwich in Jacksonville, Florida
Stan’s Sandwich now stands in the original Insta-Burger King location in Jacksonville, Florida
Cheeseburger from Stan's Sandwich in Jacksonville, Florida
Current picture of a cheeseburger from Stan’s Sandwich in Jacksonville, Florida

But maybe you don’t?

Burger King Logo from 1955 - 1968
Burger King Logo from 1955 – 1968

THE FIRST 10 BURGERS KINGS IN MIAMI

Burger King Number 2 in Miami
Burger King Number 2 in Miami

The first Insta-Burger King location in Miami, FL, opened on December 4th, 1954, at 3090 NW 36th Street. It’s no longer there at that same spot; the #1 was moved down the street to 3601 NW 27th Avenue.

Of the original 10 Burger King locations in Miami, seven are still operational in the same spot where they opened in the 1950s. The building’s structures, however, are not the same.

If you’d like to see a 1950s Burger King structure that is pretty much intact you would need to visit La Palma restaurant.

  1. 3090 NW 36th Street –  now Cladd Motors
  2. 6091 SW 8th Street – now La Palma Restaurant
  3. 8995 NW 7th Avenue – now a Snapper’s
  4. 30390 S Dixie Hwy (Homestead)
  5. 7975 NW 27th Avenue
  6. 9201 South Federal Highway (Pinecrest)
  7. 3051 Coral Way
  8. 18240 South Dixie Highway (Perrine)
  9. 891 W. 49th Street (Hialeah)
  10. 600 E 9 St (Hialeah)

VINTAGE ARTICLES & ADS

Panama City News Herald Sun 9-27-53
Panama City News Herald Sun 9-27-53
The Miami Herald 10-3-54
The Miami Herald 10-3-54
Knoxville News Sentinel Sun 7-3-55
Knoxville News Sentinel Sun 7-3-55
The Tampa Tribune 9-19-56
The Tampa Tribune 9-19-56
The Orlando Sentinel 1-9-57
The Orlando Sentinel 1-9-57
The Palm Beach Post 8-3-58
The Palm Beach Post 8-3-58
The Orlando Evening Star 7-12-60
The Orlando Evening Star 7-12-60
The Daily Herald 6-18-64
The Daily Herald 6-18-64
Burger King Come As You Are Poster
1960s Come As You Are Poster

WHOPPER FAST FACT

One last fast fact that might interest you, the Whopper, was not always on the menu.

The Whopper was the creation of David Edgerton & James McLamore in 1957. It sold for 37 cents.

They brought Insta-Burger King to Miami in 1954 and eventually became the co-founders of the rebranded Burger King brand years later.


QUIRKY TRADEMARK ISSUES

BURGER KING DRIVE INN OF ALBERTA, CANADA

Burger King Drive Inn was a mini-chain of restaurants founded in 1956 in Alberta, Canada. They also featured Kentucky Fried Chicken until about 1979, when their licensing agreement expired.

The restaurants were sold in 1990, but founders William R. Jarvis and James Duncan Rae kept the “Burger King” trademark.

The “Burger King” name was sold to the Burger King company by Jarvis and Rae in 1985 for one million dollars. The company wasted no time in announcing that there would soon be Burger King restaurants in Alberta.

BURGER KING OF MATTOON, ILLINOIS

When Edgerton and McLamore’s Burger King decided to open their first location in the state of Illinois in 1961, little did they know the can of worms that they were opening.

Since 1952, Gene and Betty Hoots had owned Frigid Queen. In 1954, they expanded their menu to include hamburgers and fries, among other foods.

The name of the restaurant was changed to Burger King in 1957. In 1959, the name was registered as a state trademark in Illinois.

By 1967, the number of corporate Burger King locations was hovering around fifty, and the couple decided to take a stand. They brought a lawsuit against Burger King of Florida in 1968, believing that their state trademark gave them the exclusive rights to the name of Burger King in the state of Illinois.

BK of Florida argued that their federal trademark superseded the couple’s state trademark.

The court decision gave the Hoots exclusive rights to an area within a twenty-mile radius from the location of their restaurant, and Burger King of Florida the rights everywhere else.

Gene and Betty Hoots are now retired. Cory Sanders bought the Burger King of Mattoon from them.

Thirty years later, the closest corporate Burger King location is in Tuscola, Illinois, twenty-five miles away.

HUNGRY JACK’S OF AUSTRALIA

There is only one country in the world where Burger King does not operate under its name, and that is Australia.

In 1971, when Burger King was establishing itself down under, they learned that their name had already been trademarked.

They gave their Australian franchisee Jack Cowin a list of possible new names from Burger King and Pillsbury’s already registered trademarks.

He chose the name used by Pillsbury’s US pancake mix, Hungry Jack. The only change he made was to add an apostrophe “s.”

WHOPPER BURGER IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

In 1955 Frank Bates founded Whopper Burger in San Antonio, Texas.

He was the owner of the rights to the name Whopper, which effectively kept Burger King from using the name there.

Burger King did open a store in the area for a brief time and renamed their signature sandwich as the Deluxe. The store did not survive.

Fast forward to 1983, when Bates passed away, and his wife sold the restaurant chain to a couple of Burger King franchisees a year later.

They, in turn, sold it to the Burger King company.

In 1985, all of the Whopper Burger locations became Burger Kings. At last, the people of San Antonio could finally enjoy a real deal Whopper.


WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE BURGER KING SANDWICH WHEN YOU WERE A KID?

Burger King Double Cheeseburger
My favorite is still the Double Cheeseburger

SOURCE INFO: All about the Burger: A History of America’s Favorite Sandwich & The Burger King: A Whopper of a Story

19 Comments

  1. the first neon rotosphere was directly across the street at a car lot too, coincidentally

  2. When I was a teenager a Double Whopper with Cheese really hit the spot.

  3. I believe La Palma was also a Royal Castle at one point. Never knew it was a BK. I grew up in that neighborhood.

  4. My favorite burger meal: Two Cheeseburgers with ketsup, Onion and Pickle only and a small fry. Yummmmmm!

  5. I believe the first was in West Palm Beach on Dixie Highway. Originally called The Burger King, It even had the Burger King character, and existed before Insta Burger.

  6. i thought one of the first was at about 1350 nw 27th Ave, Miam

  7. I was born and spent the first 13 years of my life on 34St. and 32 ave NW Miami. Our Elementary school was called Melrose. It was 2 blocks behind Store #1. I had my 13th birthday party there. I was telling my wife that we lived down the street from the first Burger King, she called me a liar, so glad this article was written.

  8. My father in law was Mr Mclamore’s attorney and prepared the incorporation papers for Burger King here in Miami.

    He also felt the Whaler was a better sandwich than the Filet-o- Fish , but he may have been biased.

  9. Once I had a car during my senior year at Miami Edison High School (1962-63), my friends and I got away often during lunch break to the Burger King at NW 54th St. and 7th Avenue.

  10. The 9201 S. Federal/Dixie/US1 location was my neighborhood location. When it was the original building for a while it had a sliding screen window on the north side where you could order from your car (the dining room was on the south side of the building)-sort of a proto-drive thru.

  11. My mother always said she went to high school (Edison) with the guy who founded Burger King. Our local BK was #8 on South Dixie in Perrine (not Palmetto Bay).

  12. The one we could ride our bikes to near our house in South Miami was on the east side of South Dixie at about 84th Street. My brother and I didn’t go there because we preferred the Royal Castle a few blocks up the road.

  13. The one in South Hialeah on 9th Street is not the original location. It was on 6th Avenue.

    1. Juan, the addresses were taken from James McLamore’s book the Burger King. I went back and checked through some newspaper archives and found that you were correct. Thanks, I updated the address.

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