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Whataburger in Florida

Whataburger which is famously from the state of Texas can also be found all over North Florida.

Before we get into all of the Whataburger locations in Florida, it’s history time.

*WHATABURGER HISTORY

Paul Barton and Harmon Dobson founded Whataburger. They opened their first restaurant in Corpus Christi, Texas, on August 8, 1950, right across from Del Mar College.

Only a couple of months earlier, Dobson had met Burton and decided to finance a small hamburger joint. His goal was to create a better burger that was so large to hold; it would take two hands. The burger also had to taste so good that when you took that first bite, you would exclaim, “What a burger!”

The “Whataburger” trademark was made official by the office of the Texas Secretary of State on June 23, 1950.

A-FRAME BUILDINGS

The first Whataburger location was a modest building, but they later became known for their iconic giant A-frame buildings. The roofs were colored with orange and white stripes because Dobson, a pilot, wanted to be able to spot his restaurants from the sky. In 1961, the first of these buildings opened in Odessa, Texas.

Some former A-frame buildings have been repurposed by other burger joints like John’s Drive-in in Fort Meade, Florida

Dobson was known to fly over the skies of Corpus Christi with a “Whataburger” banner in tow. His great advertising idea didn’t end there. He would also drop a bunch of coupons for free Whataburgers.

WHATABURGER CREATION

Dobson wanted something more massive than the standard two-ounce burger patties on a small bun. His Whataburger was a quarter-pound patty grilled to order with lettuce, three slices of tomato, four pickles, chopped onions, mustard, and ketchup. The larger burger called for a more substantial bun. A five-inch bun did not exist yet. After finding a company that could make the custom pans and molds, they were in business.

On opening day, the menu consisted of twenty-five cent burgers, chips, and drinks. The first day’s take was fifty dollars, with ninety-one more trickling in over the next couple of days. On the fourth day, Dobson wrote in his diary: “Big day―$141.80―Christ―What a workhorse. 551 burgers.” Yup, they were onto something, all right.

DOBSON TAKES OVER

The partnership between Burton and Dobson ended in 1951 over a disagreement about raising the price of their burgers from twenty-five to thirty cents. Under their new agreement, Burton owned all franchises in the San Antonio, Texas area. He was a loyal Whataburger operator until he passed away in 1970. Dobson retained control of the rest of the Whataburger company.

Dobson, who had a great sense of humor, posted a giant sign outside the restaurant with this message: “Folks, we priced our burgers too low, and we lost our shirts. Sorry, but we gotta raise the price to thirty cents.” Customers found the sign charming and were not about to give up their Whataburger over five cents. Funny enough, a few short months later, he raised the price again to thirty-five cents.

FIRST FRANCHISE

In 1953 the first Whataburger franchise was sold to Joe Andrews. The first Whataburger restaurant outside of Texas opened in Pensacola, Florida, in 1959. Eight years later, they had almost forty locations and were in Arizona, Florida, Tennessee, and Texas.

On April 11, 1967, tragedy struck. Dobson took off in his Cessna Skymaster airplane, and something went wrong after takeoff. The aircraft crashed, killing him and his passenger instantly. Dobson’s will stated his desire for Whataburger to continue after his death, and his wife Grace followed in his footsteps and led the company. Their son Tom Dobson was later elected president of Whataburger in December 1993.

CURRENT

The eighties were not a good decade for Whataburger. They lost focus on their signature dish, the Whataburger. Tom, along with his new management team, turned around the company’s fortunes. They revitalized their relationships with the franchisees, improved their marketing efforts, and made sure their locations received a facelift. Whataburger was proclaimed a Texas Treasure during the Seventy-seventh Session of the Texas Legislature in 2001.

Today, Whataburger has more than 800 locations in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and of course, their home state, Texas.

Now, more than 50 years later, Whataburger has stood the test of time.

It is now owned by a Chicago investment firm with minority ownership by the Dobson family. Continued expansion plans are in the works by the new owners with the blessing of the family, of course.

WHOPPER CONNECTION

Burger King’s founders David Edgerton and Jim McLamore’s were driving from a Jacksonville Insta Burger King (what the company was initially known as) location to a new Insta Burger King in Gainesville. The building was a prefab, which meant it could be moved if it didn’t do well in its current spot.

 After a few hours there, not one customer had walked in. Just down the block, however, customers were lined up at the Whataburger restaurant. The sign outside announced a big hamburger, so McLamore got in line and ordered two burgers.

The unwrapped sandwich featured a quarter-pound hamburger patty on a five-inch wide bun topped with lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, pickles, onions, and ketchup. He took one bite and understood the hype.

On his walk back to the Insta Burger King, he finished his burger and gave Edgerton the second one. Edgerton liked it too.

On their drive back to Miami, their conversation was all about adding a more massive burger to their menu and then marketing it.

They chose the name “Whopper.”

FOOD TALK

It took a long time for me to try Whataburger, but once I did, I’ve never looked back.

I plan all of my out of town road trips with a stop at one of the almost 40 Whataburger locations in Florida. There is a full listing of all of them below.

The double patty with cheese is a great burger. I was surprised that I liked it this much because when I’m told how awesome something is, there’s usually disappointment on the horizon.

My biggest regret after every visit is not taking a burger for the road. But, least I still have the Fancy Ketchup so I can dip my fingers if I get desperate.

I’ve become such a super fan after my first visit years ago that my friend Phillip surprised me with a Whataburger Pez Dispenser.

Unfortunately, no burger was included.

KETCHUP TALK

I had also heard tons of great things about their Fancy Ketchup, so many that at one point, the Fancy Ketchup had a Facebook fan page with over 16,000 fans.

The ketchup comes in those little sauce tubs created to compliment boneless chicken.

The first thing I hit up was the fries, mostly because I wasn’t about to dip my fingers in the ketchup alone. The fries were crispy, but man, that ketchup!

In retrospect, just dipping my fingers in it might not have been so bad an idea.

Back in the day, I’d have to horde those little ketchup tubs for later usage. Please note that the nearest Whataburger in Florida is 5 hours from my house.

Luckily, now I order the Fancy Ketchup and Spicy Ketchup online. They are also available in a variety pack.

 

FOOD PICTURES

Wrapped Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuit Sandwich

Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuit Sandwich

Hash Brown Sticks

Whataburger Fancy Ketchup & Spicy Ketchup

Wrapped Double Cheeseburger

French Fries

French Fries

Fried Pie

Apple Pie

Cherry Pie

BURGER SPOTLIGHT

Double Meat with Cheese

BURGER NAMEDouble Meat Whataburger with Cheese
COOKING METHODFlattop
CAN BE COOKED TO TEMPNo
SIZEQuarter Pound
STANDARD TOPPINGSDiced Onion, Lettuce, Mustard, Pickles, & Tomato

Sweet & Spicy Bacon Cheeseburger

BURGER NAMESweet & Spicy Bacon Cheeseburger
COOKING METHODFlattop
CAN BE COOKED TO TEMPNo
SIZEQuarter Pound
STANDARD TOPPINGSAmerican Cheese, Monterey Jack Cheese, Bacon Slices, Grilled Onions, Sweet & Spicy Sauce and Mustard

WHATABURGER FLORIDA LOCATIONS

2300 S Highway 29
Cantonment, Florida 32533
(850) 968-2470
8340 N Century Boulevard
Century, Florida 32535
(850) 256-4020
3850 S Ferdon Boulevard
Crestview, Florida 32536
(850) 689-2800
2434 US Highway 331 S
Defuniak Springs, Florida 32435
(850) 892-6107
101 Harbor Boulevard
Destin, Florida 32541
(850) 650-7708
10725 Emerald Coast Parkway
Destin, Florida 32550
(850) 650-6607
190 Eglin Pkwy NE
Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548
(850) 244-1951
23 Miracle Strip Pkwy SW
Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548
(850) 244-9167
399 Mary Esther Cut Off NW
Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548
(850) 864-1970
1135 Gulf Breeze Highway
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
(850) 934-6180
3860 University Blvd W
Jacksonville, Florida 32217
7165 Philips Highway
Jacksonville, Florida 32256
(904) 693-0181
7755 Normandy Boulevard
Jacksonville, Florida 32221
(904) 693-0181
8840 Beach Boulevard
Jacksonville, Florida 32216
(904) 642-7947
2401 S Highway 77
Lynn Haven, Florida 32444
(850) 265-2099
4983 Highway 90
Milton, Florida 32571
(850) 995-2580
5346 Stewart Street
Milton, Florida 32570
(850) 626-4350
6920 Navarre Parkway
Navarre, Florida 32566
(850) 515-1185
1201 Atlantic Boulevard
Neptune Beach, Florida 32266
(904) 270-2840
4450 E Highway 20
Niceville, Florida 32578
(850) 897-0271
1517 County Road 220
Orange Park, Florida 32003
289 Blanding Boulevard
Orange Park, Florida 32073
(904) 215-0999
5648 Woodbine Road
Pace, Florida 32571
(850) 994-1033
11749 Panama City Beach Parkway
Panama City Beach, Florida 32407
(850) 230-2508
1313 N New Warrington Road
Pensacola, Florida 32506
(850) 453-3141
1790 W Fairfield Drive
Pensacola, Florida 32501
(850) 444-9161
214 E Nine Mile Road
Pensacola, Florida 32514
417 E Gregory Street
Pensacola, Florida 32501
(850) 438-4636
5070 N 9th Avenue
Pensacola, Florida 32504
(850) 478-0563
5480 Pensacola Boulevard
Pensacola, Florida 32505
6129 Mobile Highway
Pensacola, Florida 32526
(850) 944-7948
815 E Burgess Road
Pensacola, Florida 32504
(850) 480-5265
1101 Thomasville Rd
Tallahassee, FL 32303
(850) 681-9202
1701 W Tennessee St
Tallahassee, FL 32304
(850) 222-4484
2511 Apalachee Pkwy
Tallahassee, FL 32311
(850) 942-7886
2586 N Monroe St
Tallahassee, FL 32303
(850) 386-6191
815 Lake Bradford Rd
Tallahassee, FL 32304
463773 State Rd 200
Yulee, FL 32097
(904) 548-9715

ENGAGE

Whataburger in Florida
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Facebook: Whataburger

*History is an excerpt from my book All About the Burger.

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