Fuddruckers Is The Better Burger Chain

I’ve been eating FuddruckersWorld Greatest Hamburgers since the mid-1980s. Initially, the soon-to-be burgers’ carcasses were hanging in a refrigerated butcher area, complete with a window to watch the action.

Yes, you could watch as the butcher ground the fresh beef and then made patties out of them. They ground the meat themselves and baked the buns daily went a long way in the flavor department.

Plus, while you wait in line, it would entertain you.

Fuddruckers Sign
Fuddruckers Sign in Doral, Florida

Fuddruckers History

Fuddruckers founder Phil Romano, 10-24-84
Phil Romano, founder of Fuddruckers, pic from 10-24-84

Fuddruckers was the brainchild of Phil Romano. Shortly after moving to Texas, he envisioned a new type of burger joint that was all about fresh ingredients.

After a local bank turned down his loan application, Romano found ten investors who ponied up $15,000 each.

In 1980, the first Fuddruckers restaurant opened in San Antonio, Texas. A second location would follow the next year in Houston. By the summer of 1984, there were 23 locations.

Fuddruckers was a smashing success right out of the gate, but Romano needed to take the concept national due to copycats popping up everywhere. Once Fuddruckers went public in November 1983, they had the cash flow to expand.

Fuddruckers Stock Certificate November 8, 1983
Stock Certificate in Newspaper from November 8, 1983

By early 1985, Romano had sold half his stock. He then took a step back from the management side of the business.

He had grown bored, and a few years later, his new concept would pay dividends after selling it a year after its launch. You may also be familiar with that chain, Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

What made Fuddruckers special?

  • A fully loaded condiments bar
  • A butcher shop with burgers made daily
  • A bakery where the burger buns, brownies, and cookies are always fresh
  • Kitschy and faux brand signs and decorations
  • An arcade room in some locations
  • A full liquor bar in some locations

Do you remember?

  • The round trays your food served on with the red Fuddruckers logo
  • A mini-warehouse-sized space of seating
  • Being called over the loudspeaker by name when your food was ready
  • Stacking so many toppings on your burger from the condiment bar that you couldn’t open your mouth wide enough to eat it
  • Taking some cookies and brownies on your way out

Bonus Question with Answer

What about the name Fuddruckers? Where did it come from?

a name chosen for its near-obscene pronunciation

Richard Pachter, The Miami Herald 5-30-05

My Beef with Changing Things

Fuddruckers would continue to expand and open more restaurants in many locations across the U.S. during the late 1980s and 1990s.

The early 2000s were not kind to the company as it fell on hard times. Due to the high cost of the real estate and most of the restaurants’ sheer size, they would file for bankruptcy protection in April 2010.

Just the year before, they had overhauled the beef for their burgers and renamed it Fudds Prime. I’m not sure if that contributed to their financial problems, but the new meat was not well received by their longtime fans, myself included.

Fudds Prime Pager
Fudds Prime Pager – 2009

My Fuddruckers Story

Fuddruckers Red Cup
Fuddruckers Red Cup

It was April 1984 when Fuddruckers made its way to Miami, Florida. There were 37 locations nationwide and growing.

My family unit of six (my parents, my grandparents, my sister & I) looked forward to everything about the Fuddruckers’ experience. I also loved Rudy’s, which you can read about here.

I’ve known many people who never got the whole Fuddruckers thing and would prefer fast food over it, which I never understood. But the taste of a Fuddruckers burger is unmistakable, and my family embraced that.

Well, that and everything that made this restaurant chain unique.

Ad in the Miami Herald 10-29-87
Ad in the Miami Herald 10-29-87

Over the years, they expanded their menu to include exotic meats like Ostrich. I appreciate the effort, but I don’t think I’d ever order anything other than a burger because, let us be honest, that’s what drew me here in the first place.

If you’ve never been to a Fuddruckers, your options as far as size goes are like this: 1/3 lb, 1/2 lb, 2/3 lb, and 1 pound. There is extra waiting time just for the one-pounder size, and your entire order will be delayed; just a heads up.

What to Eat at Fuddruckers?

Fuddruckers Cheeseburger with Grilled Onions & Fries
2/3 pound Cheeseburger with Grilled Onions & Fries

I usually order the 1/2 Burger with three kinds of cheese (Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Swiss), aka the Three-Cheese Burger. It’s large enough, and I don’t have the patience to wait for the 1-pound burger all the time and an order of the addictive wedge fries, which I always drown in honey mustard.

Fuddruckers Potato Wedges
Potato Wedges

As far as toppings go, I keep it simple and go with nothing other than the cheese. But, I recently tried their grilled onions with some mustard, which showed some promise in joining the rotation.

Fuddruckers Hot Dog
Hot Dog with Fries

The hot dogs are delicious, and that split-top bun it comes on is ridiculously good. If you’re a condiment fanatic, you’ll dig their famous self-serve toppings bar.

And if you’re a burger fanatic, you should have already eaten here.

MINI UPDATE: Lately, I’ve been enjoying the crispy chicken wings.

Fuddruckers Crispy Chicken Wings
Crispy Chicken Wings

Fuddruckers South Florida Locations

Fuddruckers – Doral
10680 NW 19th Street
Doral, FL

Fuddruckers – Hialeah
1645 W 49th Street
Hialeah, FL

Fuddruckers – Kendall
15400 Kendall Drive
Miami, FL

Fuddruckers – Palmetto Bay
14875 S Dixie Highway
Miami, FL

Fuddruckers – Pembroke Pines
14532 SW 5th Street
Pembroke Pines, FL

5 thoughts on “Fuddruckers Is The Better Burger Chain”

  1. my wife and i have a poster in mint shape copyright 1983 fuddruckers worlds greatest hamburger limited poster 1883/2000 ..and also another one with a long neck beer in the picture ..they are both framed and have really great color ..we would like to know what we should insure them for and the value ..we had these in every house we lived in for over 35 years , thank you very much bill

  2. Fuddruckers is the greatest!
    Huge options of burger sizes that are always cooked just right. Great, delicious bun and you can put on all your own condiments. Great wedge fries! Simply fantastic!

  3. All 4 of them closed here in Colorado about 15 years ago. Next time I get down to visit mom in Boca, I will definitely take the kids there.


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