Regional and semi-national fast food burger chains


Most of us are familiar with the national fast food burger chains like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Five Guys, Sonic, and Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. But, there are many local, regional, and semi-national burger chains that dot the map and serve tasty sandwiches. In fact, my favorite burgers are produced by regional chains – Braum’s and Whataburger. The list provided below identifies these chains and their geographic location(s). It does not include national chains nor those burger restaurants that provide fast-casual service such as Red Robin or Shake Shack.


From the list, one can see there were specific spans of history where fast food burger chains were founded. These time clusters include:

1919-1926: A&W, Halo Burger, Stewart’s, White Castle, and White Tower (now defunct) (5)

1930-1935: Krystal, Steak ‘n Shake, and Swenson’s (3)

1940-1941: B&K Root Beer (largely defunct), Carl’s Jr., Dairy Queen, and McDonald’s (4)

1946-1956: Arctic Circle, Baker’s, Blake’s Lotaburger, Burger Chef (now part of Hardee’s), Burger King, Dick’s, Fatburger, In-N-Out Burger, Jack-in-the-Box, Nation’s Giant Hamburgers, Original Tommy’s, Pal’s, Sonic, Tom Wahl’s, Whataburger, and Zip’s (16)

1960-1969: Bob’s, Braum’s, Burgerville, Hardee’s, Jack’s, and Wendy’s (6)

1981-1987: Back Yard, Burger Time, Checker’s, Culver’s, Farmer Boys, Five Guys, Hot n’ Now (defunct), and Rally’s (8)

2000-2003: Freddy’s and Wild Willy’s (2)

Those burger chain shown above in italics, the author has eaten at.



A&W (1919 in Lodi, CA) – AZ, CA, CO, FL, IA, IN, KS, KY, MI, NV, NY, OH, PA, RI, SD, TN, WI, and WV

Arctic Circle (1950 in Salt Lake City, UT) – UT, ID, OR, NV, AZ, WA, and WY

Back Yard Burgers (1987 in Cleveland, MS)- AR, FL, IL, KY, MO, MS, NC, and TN

Baker’s (1952 in Southern California) – Southern California

Blake’s Lotaburger (1952 in Albuquerque, NM) – NM, TX, and AZ

Bob’s Burgers (1963 in Albuquerque, NM) – 11 locations in the Albuquerque area

Braum’s (1961 in Emporia, KS) – OK, TX, KS, AR, and MO

Burger Time (1987 in West Fargo, ND) – ND, MN, and SD

Burgerville (1961 in Vancouver, WA) – WA and OR – Thank you, Dan (added 4/2/22)

Checker’s (1986 in Mobile, AL) – Coast to coast in 25 states

Culver’s (1984 in Sauk City, WI) – 25 states

Dick’s Drive-in (1954 in Seattle, WA) – Puget Sound area of WA

Farmer Boys (1981 in Perris, CA) – Southern California

Fatburger (1947 in Los Angeles, CA) – Southern California

Freddy’s Steakburgers & Frozen Custard (2002 in Wichita, KS) – Coast to coast in 35 states

Halo Burger (1923 in Flint, MI) – Michigan

In-N-Out Burger (1948 in Baldwin Park, CA) – AZ, CA, CO, ID, NV, OR, TX, and UT

Jack in the Box (1951 in San Diego, CA) – Primarily the Western USA

Jack’s (1960 in Homewood, AL) – AL, GA, MS, and TN

Krystal (1932 in Chattanooga, TN) Southeastern USA

Nation’s Giant Hamburgers (1952 in San Pablo, CA) – SF Bay area of CA

Original Tommy’s (1946 in Los Angeles, CA) – Southern California

Pal’s (1956 in Kingsport, TN) – TN and VA

Rally’s (1985 in Louisville, KY) – 16 states

Steak ‘n Shake (1934 in Normal, IL) – Coast to coast in 32 states, but primarily in the Midwest and Southeast

Stewart’s (1924 in Mansfield, OH) – OH, NJ, NY, PA, and WV

Swenson’s (1934 in Akron, OH) – Ohio

Tom Wahl’s (1955 in Rochester, NY) – Six locations in the Rochester area.

Whataburger (1950 in Corpus Christi, TX) – Southeastern and Southwestern USA

White Castle (1921 in Wichita, KS) Midwest, NY, FL, NV, and AZ

Wild Willy’s (2001 in York, ME) – MA, ME, and NH

Zip’s (1953 in Kennewick, WA) – WA and ID



This entry was posted in advertising, branding, cities, consumerism, Cuisine, culture, Food, food systems, fun, geography, history, land use, product design, shopping, Statistics, third places, tourism, traffic and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Regional and semi-national fast food burger chains

  1. Dan Tilque says:

    Burgerville (1961 in Vancouver WA) — OR and WA

    Liked by 1 person

  2. problogic says:

    Burgerville has been Added. Thank you.


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