When a Texan hears the words “just like you like it,” his mouth begins to salivate. The phrase elicits images of orange-and-white triangular buildings and larger than average hamburgers wrapped in paper studded with brightly colored stickers that say things like bacon, jalapeño, ketchup. In a nutshell, the sites and tastes of a Texas classic: Whataburger.
In 1950 a man named Harmon Dobson had a dream, a dream to build a burger so tasty that customers would exclaim “what a burger!” after the first juicy bite. He opened up his first hamburger stand that year in Corpus Christi and the rest is gastronomical history. Around the time of the restaurant’s fiftieth anniversary, in 2000, Mark Mazzetti wrote, “over time, Whataburger has evolved into a true Texas icon. The A-frames with orange-and-white-striped roofs can be found in the state’s smallest towns, often where national franchises fear to tread. Talk to anyone who grew up in Texas, and he can rattle off Whataburger stories, from middle-of-the-night visits to morning coffee klatches.”
The icon has picked up a cult following, marked by love letters to the restaurant from displaced Texans wallowing in nostalgia for the memories made under those A-framed roofs. But for those far from a Whataburger or for those who just simply can’t get enough, the Texas staple began selling some of its products in stores and online in 2013.
Although the franchise has expanded to many other states–and Mexico!–Whataburger is a Texas Treasure, an official designation declared by the Seventy-seventh Texas Legislature (one that has been unofficially declared for decades by generations of Texans). As Texas Monthly’s own Wanderer, Jordan Breal, puts it, “a Whataburger is by no means fancy or gourmet. Nor is it the best burger in Texas. But it has a way of hitting the spot exactly when it matters.” And that’s just like we like it.
Tales From ACL Fest: Miley Cyrus’s Janis Joplin Cover and Charley Crockett’s Insane Whataburger Order
The first full-fledged ACL Fest since the start of the pandemic is a wrap. ‘Texas Monthly’ recalls Megan Thee Stallion’s twerk-team auditions and other highlights.
I Love Whataburger, I Just Wish Its Cups Were Biodegradable
In 2018, as national chains pledged to ditch their nonbiodegradable polystyrene cups, Whataburger said it would look into alternative materials, too. What happened?
Patrick Mahomes Is Bringing His Love of Whataburger to Kansas City
Most Texans miss Whataburger when they leave the state. Not many of them are in a position to open their own.
The Great Whataburger vs. Wendy’s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit Face-off
Four of the best ingredients on Earth. One true champion?
The Texanist: How Can Whataburger Say That It’s Still “Family Owned and Operated”?
An Austin man is skeptical that a company held by a Chicago investment firm can claim that distinction.
The Best Thing in Texas: An Austin Couple Transform Their House Into a Whataburger for Halloween
We guess our Whataween invite got lost in the mail.
Fast Food Faceoff: In-N-Out vs. Whataburger
Let’s settle this once and for all.
No, Y’all, Whataburger Isn’t Closing Down
How Open Carry Forced Businesses In Texas To Take A Side In The Culture War
Opting out or declining to opt out—either one sends a message to customers about politics.
The Whataburger Slam Poetry You Never Knew You Needed
“We have come to receive your Honey Butter Chicken sermon,” indeed.
Whataburger Employee Refused To Serve Police Officers, Adding To Its PR Woes
Whataburger landed itself in another pickle—but not the kind on its tasty burgers.
How the iconic burger chain’s attempt to build a bigger, better company alienated some of the people behind its success.
Whataburger Gets Salty on Twitter By Insulting The Rapper Meek Mill
Why is Texas’ favorite burger chain taking sides on Drake and Meek Mill’s beef? No clue. But it’s pretty amazing.
Whataburger Drops Open Carry From the Menu—WhatanIdea!
The fast food chain won’t allow open carry once the law goes into effect. And that’s probably for the best.
Texas Business Report: The Quick Death and Revival of the Lottery
Did you know lawmakers killed the state lottery this week? But no need to rush out and buy a roll of scratch-offs; legislators reconvened and approved a measure to keep the Texas Lottery Commission another decade.
Couple Completes Quest to Visit Every Whataburger
Karl and Carol Hoepfner completed their mission to visit every Whataburger in the country on Wednesday, 62 years to the day after the first Whataburger opened in Corpus Christi.
Calling All Whataburger Spicy Ketchup Lovers
The San Antonio-based fast food chain is giving away box 101,197, its last case of “Spicy Ketchup.”
Hint: It’s not two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun.