June 13, 2024


The Food community

This beloved restaurant chain Is returning. Here are 16 more we want back

1 min read
When the founders of Burger Chef opened in Indianapolis in 1957, the primary goal wasn’t to sell burgers — it was to showcase the broilers and milkshake machines their restaurant equipment company manufactured. Within a year, however, the restaurant proved so popular that brothers David and Frank Thomas Jr. decided to go into the burger business full time. In less than a decade, they had 500 stores. Like rival McDonald’s, Burger Chef offered a double burger (the Top Shef) and a quarter-pounder (the Super Shef). It was the first to introduce a kid’s meal (the Funmeal) and even offered a condiment bar where you dress your burger the way you wanted. In 1968, the Thomas brothers sold out to General Foods, which continued to expand aggressively across the U.S., peaking in the early ’70s with more than 1,000 outlets. But General Foods could never catch up with Mickey D’s or their other rival, Burger King, and in 1982, it sold the chain to the parent company of another burger chain, Hardee’s. The new owners quickly began converting the remaining 600 or so Burger Chefs to Hardee’s, leaving nothing but tasty memories, even making its way into Season 7 of “Mad Men.”

Related: Where to Find a Good, Cheap Burger in Every State

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