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.
But maybe you don’t?
THE FIRST 10 BURGERS KINGS 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.
- 3090 NW 36th Street – now Cladd Motors
- 6091 SW 8th Street – now La Palma Restaurant
- 8995 NW 7th Avenue – now a Snapper’s
- 30390 S Dixie Hwy (Homestead)
- 7975 NW 27th Avenue
- 9201 South Federal Highway (Pinecrest)
- 3051 Coral Way
- 18240 South Dixie Highway (Perrine)
- 891 W. 49th Street (Hialeah)
- 600 E 9 St (Hialeah)
VINTAGE ARTICLES & ADS
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.