Wuv’s Hamburgers was a Great Burger Chain

Well, if you were around from 1975 through 1981, then there’s a good chance you’ll remember Florida-based Wuv’s Hamburgers. Jack Penrod was the founder of Wuv’s Hamburgers.

He got his start in the restaurant industry at McDonald’s in 1961. At the age of 20, he was the grill man.

Jack Penrod then worked his way up to manager and eventually the largest franchisee of McDonald’s in South Florida. He owned a total of 16 McDonald’s.

Jack Penrod & Robert Fitz, picture courtesy of the Cleveland Memory Project
Jack Penrod & Robert Fitz, picture courtesy of the Cleveland Memory Project

By early 1974, Jack Penrod was planning to open his chain of burger restaurants called Wuv’s. However, in May of 1975, the McDonald’s corporation purchased all of Jack’s stores, and a few days later, Wuv’s Inc. was incorporated in Florida.

The first location opened in Boca Raton, Florida, on December 10th, 1975.

Wuv’s was known for its fresh, never-frozen burgers, the toppings bar, fresh-cut fries, chili, biscuits, and Wuv Juice (a Passion fruit-based drink), amongst other things. Some locations featured a purple and white building, while others had a wood-paneled one, which you will see below.

Wuv's Hamburgers header
Wuv’s Hamburgers

1980 Wuv’s Commercial

In this 1980 commercial, they mention 20 South Florida locations.


Postcard Mailer
Wuv’s Postcard Mailer

Do any of these Wuv’s Hamburgers catchphrases sound familiar to you?

We wuv Wuv’s…and we’d love you to wuv Wuv’s with us!

A Fresh Idea in Fast Food

Get Fresh at Wuv’s

Wuv’s Memories

Wuv's Hamburgers in Bradenton, Florida (July 17th, 1979)
Wuv’s Hamburgers in Bradenton, Florida (July 17th, 1979)

Crawydaddyk on the Roadfood site left a great comment about why he loved Wuv’s:

They had great from scratch onion rings and biscuits (one of the first fast-food chains to offer biscuits with chicken most offered dinner rolls) there was one located close to Popeyes fried chicken headquarters in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. The Popeyes execs would eat breakfast at Wuv’s and got the idea for biscuits with chicken from them. The rest is history. Someone asked why the name Wuv’s.

I was told that Jack Penrod, the originator for the chain, had bought a stuffed animal while on a plane trip, for one of his kids, and there was a tag that said I WUV YOU He liked that saying and decided to name his new chain WUVS. Their salad bar was awesome, and to correct another poster, Wuvs juice was not like OJ. It was made from ingredients flown in from Hawaii like passion fruit, mangos, guava, etc. If anything, it was a healthy version of Hawaiian Punch.

Their motto was “Fresh Never Frozen.” As you can tell, I loved the chain.

Their breakfast was awesome, nothing frozen everything made from scratch, and they also used the biscuits cut in half to make strawberry shortcake with real made from scratch whipped cream.

Also, while you were in the queuing line, you could look into the room where they washed and cut their French Fries and where they cut and battered their onion rings.

There was no doubt their stuff was “Fresh Never Frozen

The End of Wuv’s

On December 23rd, 1981, the Associated Press ran a small story in the New York Times about the demise of Wuv’s entitled Wuv’s Chain Files Under Chapter 11.

In it, Jack Penrod said

We got ourselves in a hole, and we can’t get out of it

Wuv’s had lost 1 million dollars in revenue, which had led to the dismissal of 30 of its 50 office employees. At the time of their closing, there were 70 locations, 14 of which were in the Detroit area.

Wuv’s Pictures and Collectibles

Wuv's Hamburgers Building
Wuv’s Hamburgers Building
Inside of WUV's Hamburgers
Inside, picture courtesy of danduckham.com
Entrance to WUV's Hamburgers
Entrance, picture courtesy of danduckham.com
Drive-thru Window at WUV's Hamburgers
Drive-thru Window, picture courtesy of danduckham.com
WUV's Hamburgers Employee Patch
WUV’s Hamburgers Employee Patch is part of my Burger Museum collection
Wuv's Glass that is part of my Burger Museum collection
Wuv’s Drinking Glass is part of my
Burger Museum collection

Wuvs Hamburger Locations


Montgomery3619 Eastern Boulevard


Phoenix3033 E Indian School Road
4035 N 7th Avenue
Tucson5660 E Broadway Boulevard


Fort Smith7314 Rogers Avenue


Fort Smith
Chula Vista2650 Main Street
Citrus Heights8537 Auburn Boulevard
Sacramento2234 El Camino Avenue
3027 K Street
4907 Auburn Boulevard
5908 Stockton Boulevard
Tustin17502 17th Street


Hialeah Grand Opening ad from Saturday February 23rd, 1980
Hialeah Grand Opening ad – Saturday, February 23rd, 1980
*Boca Raton 1999 NW 2nd Avenue
Boynton Beach1920 South Federal Highway
Cooper City9700 Griffin Road
Deerfield2215 West Hillsboro Blvd
1015 South Federal Highway
Ft. Lauderdale1500 S Federal Highway
5250 NW 21st Avenue
1604 West Oakland Park Blvd
400 East Sunrise
2316 East Sunrise Blvd
2720 W Broward Blvd
Ft. Myers3535 Cleveland Avenue
6081 McGregor Boulevard
Hialeah5350 W. 16 Avenue
Hollywood6551 W Taft Street
Lake Worth 3900 Congress Avenue
Lauderhill5641 North University
Miami 1277 NW 7th Street
3200 South Dixie Highway
North Miami600 NE 167th Street
Oakland Park1050 E. Commercial Blvd (Oakland Park)
Orlando1600 S Orange Avenue
Pompano437 N. Federal Highway
281 Pompano Parkway
StuartAddress Unknown
Tallahassee1429 W Tennessee Street
1875 Highway 19 South
2316 N Monroe Street
2529 Apalachee Pkwy
Tampa660 W. Brandon Avenue
5807 N. 56th Court
7549 W. Waters Avenue
10802 N. Dale Mabry
West Palm Beach7204 South Dixie Highway
2800 Okeechobee Blvd
Winter Park2295 Semoran Blvd


Wuvs in Thomasville, Georgia
Wuvs in Thomasville, Georgia, picture courtesy of Thomasville History Center
Sandy Springs7285 Roswell Road


Tinsley Park151st Street, southwest of Orland Square Shopping Center


Clinton8817 Woodyard Road


Redford15893 Telegraph Rd
Taylor8695 Telegraph Rd


Biloxilocation of the former Triple X restaurant on the south side of US 90

New Jersey

East BrunswickRoute 18
Florham Park185 Ridgedale Avenue
Little FallsRoute 46 West
Ocean TownshipRoute 35, between Sunset & Deal Road (Wanamassa)
Ramsey685 Route 17 South
Wall TownshipRoute 35, just south of Manasquan Circle
WildwoodAddress Unknown

New Mexico

Albuquerque3800 Menaul NE

New York

CentereachModell’s Shopping Plaza: Middle Country Road
HicksvilleMid Island Plaza Mall
HuntingtonCorner Jericho Turnpike and Depot Road


Akron1245/1247 E Talmadge Avenue
ClevelandW. 140th and Lorain Road
Middleburg Heights7260 Pearl Road
North OlmsteadThe Commons in Great Northern Mall


Gresham505 W Burnside

South Dakota

Spearfish130 E Ryan


Chattanooga4047 Hixson Pike
Knoxville2101 W. Cumberland


Richardson760 S Central Expy


Hampton219 Fox Hill Road
1599 Briarfield Road


Kenosha7839 Sheridan Road

Canadian Locations

Windsor Ontario1750 Huron Church Road

*First WUVS restaurant location

Final Thoughts on Wuv’s

I never ate at Wuv’s Hamburgers, but it seemed like a place that would have been right up my alley. Feel free to leave any memories about Wuv’s Hamburger in the comments below.

*Penrod v. Commissioner was used to obtain some of the information used for this post.

65 thoughts on “Wuv’s Hamburgers was a Great Burger Chain”

  1. Best fast food burger ever!! I know because it was my first ever job at 15 in West Palm Beach Fl.. Okeechobee Blvd.. someone need to re open this franchise!!

  2. Though it is not listed in the Locations section, there was certainly one on Cumberland Avenue on the University of Tennessee campus as I are there many times. The breakfast biscuits were AWESOME !!

  3. There was a Wuvs on Highway 58 in Chattanooga, TN.

    I ate there multiple times. Food was really good. I would still be eating there.

    Sorry they’re gone.

  4. There was a Wuv’s at 881 S. Monroe St. (I think) in Monroe, Michigan when I was in Junior High (so right around 1980). I just remember them having pretty tasty small hamburgers (similar to McDonald’s original ones) and a decent milkshake.

    • You missed another store in Florida City Florida
      I was part of an amazing team , working for the owners .
      The Zellners Ms.Janet was one of my managers from McDonalds
      It truly was the best and I’d give anything for some WUV juice.

  5. there also was a location on Dixie hwy. in Drayton Plains, Michigan which is not mentioned. I remember selling them some advertising years ago.

  6. You’re missing a location. There was a Wuv’s in my hometown located on Rt. 211 East in Middletown, NY 10940. Loved this place as a kid. It was directly across the street from Burger King

  7. I have such great memories working at WUV’s in Chula Vista, CA. We had an awesome team and would all come together to pump out the burgers on CRAZY BUSY 29 cent Burger Tuesday! Us cashiers were even in the back grilling and frying. I sure wish they’d make a comeback! Best fast food ever. I remember toward the end we started serving full steak dinners…it felt so out of place. That didn’t take off like they hoped. I have photos, but I don’t know how to get them to you.

  8. When I was in college, I used to work in a Wuvs inside Rio Piedras Campus in Puerto Rico. That was probably in ‘81. I wonder what happened to it.

  9. as a tenager ( 1979/80 , i worked at the wuvs in ft smith arkansas, the owners son was the manager and a total jerk. i quit very shortly after i started due to the toxic work environment

  10. I’m pretty sure that one LA location was missing. It’s 5800 Obama Blvd (previously Rodeo Road) on the corner with La Cienega. We used to stop there on our way to LAX. It became and still is a Carl’s Jr.

  11. I’m struggling to find the location in Clinton Maryland. I know there was one here because I love their chocolate chip cookies and their hamburgers but I don’t see it here on the website but there was one here in 1983 which makes no sense because they went out of business in 1981. Can someone please help me clarify? Thank you

    • If you scroll down on the comments, Kyle mentioned the address was at 8817 Woodyard Rd in Clinton, MD.

      Well, on the dates it could be one of two things. You’re remembering the year incorrectly or just cause the corporation went out of business doesn’t mean a franchise will close down. When Royal Castle closed all of their locations, a handful of locations continued to operate under the Royal Castle name. The Royal Castle in Miami is one of those locations, all the others are long gone.

  12. Unless my childhood memories are completely false, there was one that opened for a few years in Brunswick, GA, right next to Wendy’s. I really enjoyed it as a kid because their burgers were thicker than Wendy’s, our location offered pecan pralines at the counter, and their glasses were mason jars with with handles. I also remember the manager periodically roaming the restaurant ensuring that each table was happy with their food/service/etc.

  13. Wuvs on Federal Hwy in Deerfield Beach Florida. When it closed it became Dawns Delites topless diner. Spent too much of my high school years at both.

  14. I remember WUVS in Chattanooga. I was just telling a friend about it the other day who is much much younger than me. It “wuvs” a fantastic burger. I was thrifting today and happen to find a glass like the one you have shown on this site. Perfect condition. Do you by chance know if it has value? Thanks for all this historical info. Love reading everything.

  15. We had a Wuv’s near where I grew up in the late 70’s in Beaverton, OR. They had the best burgers and now it’s a Burger King sadly.

  16. Joe
    I loved the Wuvs steak bites, would you share the recipe with me, I have searched online and not seeing anything quite like what I remember

    • That is nice to hear Randall. I helped open the Houma store in the summer of 1978. Darryl Chitty was the owner. He was a good man. I had a good time that summer.

  17. There was at least one in Maryland. The address is 8817 Woodyard Rd, Clinton, MD.

    My grandma took me there several times when I was little, and I loved it… Excuse me, WUVed it!

    When WUVs closed it was converted into a Popeye’s which is what it still is today.

    Because we never heard of or saw any other Wuv’s locations, we assumed it was a locally owned one off!

  18. Its not listed but there was a Wuvs in Bellmore Long Island New York on Merrick Rd . The burgers were 25 cents each . I used to go there and spend my paper route money on burgers .

  19. They did have drive thrus. In fact I was the manager of the Rt. 46 Little Falls, N.J. location and I believe they were the first fast food restaurant in the area to have a drive thru. I remember there was a delay in opening because the town was not going to allow the drive thru. The owners lawyers convinced the town that they had a new hamburger making device which could cook a hamburger in a matter of seconds. Namely, a grill! I was trained in the Cooper City, Florida store which had a drive thru and I spent a summer in Houma La. which also had a drive thru. In the southern locations they simply opened the window to hand the customer the order. We tried to warn the company that wasn’t going to work in New Jersey in December. After being open a couple of days they decided to put in a bank type system for the food and money exchanges. I only worked there a couple of years. Most weeks I put in at least 80 hours and as crazy as it sounds I still miss it. We were by far they busiest location in the entire chain and it always felt like the two minute warning in football. A bit of an adrenaline rush trying to keep staffing low and volume high! Too bad it didn’t work because the food really was so much better than other fast food and the atmosphere with the cedar wood, live plants and carpeting made it feel more like a full service restaurant than fast food.

  20. Re the comment at the very top of the page from crawdaddyk, who said he loved the chain Wuvs, and dined at the location in Jefferson Parish, La. near Popeyes HQ- that is the very same location we used to frequent when i was young.. This would have been in the very early 80s, circa 1980-81.. It was actually in a part of town called Elmwood, about 10 minutes outside of New Orleans.. it doesnt seem like it was there for very long, maybe a couple of years- but for a while, we would go by every week becuase they had a ‘Kid’s Special’ , where a certain item from the menu (usually a hamburger, but sometimes possibly chicken, or a hot dog?) was 25 cents on , i believe , Tuesday nights.. And they must not have had a drive-thru, becuase i specifically remember my mom dragging me into the restaurant to see what was on special that night (i was a picky eater, and we didnt have much money).. i was too young to realize that their ingredients were fresh; I’d actually be more likely to eat at a place like that today, though with all the ‘efficiency’ and cost-cutting these days, i seriously doubt that a ‘fresh’ fast food place like that could survive- which might help explain their demise back then, as well.

  21. I opened and worked at the Wuvs location that not mentioned in the article in Florida City Florida , o trained at the store on Miami at 3200 south Dixie they had the best breakfast in pitas and broasted chicken , but that Wiv juice was the thing it was definitely addictive. I’d buy that juice still today if it was available!

  22. There was one in DeLand FL on S. Woodland Blvd. Used to get too large glasses of love juice and take them to the tennis courts at Stetson. Great food I can’t believe it went out of business. It’s surpassed all the other fast food joints by far.

  23. They had one in Sanford Florida on 17/92 next to Sanford mall worked there from opening day went to Ocala Florida location to train and open store then went to Tallahassee store to open and train there. Mister Penrod was a great man enjoyed working for him. Also worked for him in South Florida at McDonald’s on school work program as a grill cook and cashier when needed

  24. There was one on Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station NY, I was one of the original employees from 1979-1980 (I think that was the dates, pretty sure I was 16 at the time). Not sure how long it lasted though. Their fresh fast food menu was ahead of its time!

  25. Great place to eat and great place to work. My high school buddies and I all worked at the WUVs restaurant on 32nd Avenue and South Dixie Highway in Miami. Ironically after it closed, a McDonalds opened up in the exact same spot. 32nd Avenue later was also named McDonald’s Avenue too date. I still remember all the prepping we would do for all the products. Everything was fresh, never frozen and made from scratch. I still remember most all the steps taken to produce the best onion rings, fries, burgers, chile and fried chicken. In hindsight it sounded like alot of work but back then it was normal and ahead of it’s time. No regrets working there…great memories and great food.

  26. There was a Wuv’s in Daytona Beach FL from around 1978 to 1981, operated by Daniel Danielak at 20 S. Atlantic Ave. After it closed, the bldg was purchased and converted into a Popeyes Fried Chicken.

  27. There was also one in Boynton Beach Florida on Federal Highway in late 70s early 80s as my besty and I both work there.

  28. Was looking thru old yearbook from Fort Smith, Arkansas. Old ad for WUVS, located at 7314 Rogers Ave., Fort Smith, AR. I was still in Jr. High, we really never did eat out much at all.

  29. I remember the location in Chattanooga Tenn, great food.
    I also remember the Chattanooga stations playing the commercial with the We Wuv Wuvs jingle in 76-78 or around that time period.

  30. I remembered the Wuv’s restaurant in Tallahassee Florida. I was very grateful for the hiring manager, because that’s who gave me my very first job and I was 16, pregnant, and in high school. I worked there until they closed the doors. I must say they what you read about the restaurant about everything being fresh and made from scratch is true!!! I wished that this restaurant was still around.

  31. I was online looking this up. Glad this article is here. I was a kid, 3 to 6 years of age, and my family and I use to dine at a Wuv’s in Fort Myers Florida. I kept searching online for “Wuz,” which is obvious the wrong spelling, due to my my preschool age not recalling the proper name. What I do recall at that age was that I preferred Wuz’s over McDonald’s at that time. Also the insides are described just as I barely can recall. My parents are deceased and I had no one to ask about this restaurant, so I took to the Net. Wow, who even calls the internet the Net these days? Time flies.

  32. I worked at a WUVs in FL in 1978-79. I eventually became the night manager. They had the best fast food and I wish I knew the recipe for their WUV juice. It’s true, there was no freezer on the premises. Everything was fresh made (except the chili, which was made from burgers that were made but not sold and were then refrigerated.) When I started there we had to wear super short purple dresses for uniforms. I’ve been looking for a picture of those awful uniforms. That’s what brought me here.

  33. There was a WUV’s at 600 E Lake Street, Addison, IL 60101 built in front of the Howard Johnson Motel. The building has been replaced with a small Medical Center.

    • There were 2 WUV’s Hamburger Restaurants in Metro Detroit. One was located in Redford Michigan on Telegraph North of 5 mile. The building was demolished several years after it closed. The 2nd one that I am aware of was in Taylor Michigan on Telegraph Road as well. The building remains, with the exterior mostly intact except the wood exteriors have been painted. It has been New Hong Kong Restaurant, New Hong Kong, 8695 Telegraph Rd, Taylor, MI 48180. Do a Google Street View to see what it looks like!

  34. There was a WUV’s at 600 E Lake Street, Addison, IL 60101 built in fromt of the Howard Johnson Motel. The building has been replaced with a small Medical Center.

  35. I loved this place as a kid! I was born in 1971 and lived in Middleburg Heights, OH. The WUVS location was on the corner of Pearl Rd. and Bagley Rd in Middleburg Hts. After it went under, it became a place called ‘Chuckie’s Chicken’, where you could get a burger, fries, and a pop for $0.99!


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