What Happened to Burger Chef? 8 Iconic American Restaurant Chains 4 months ago   14:18

Restaurant Rewind
Today we are taking a closer look at another fast food restaurant that with over 1200 locations at its peak, was poised to be at the top of the burger food chain. Burger Chef was an American fast-food restaurant chain founded in 1954 in Indianapolis, Indiana by brothers - and inventors - Frank and Don Thomas, and a partner Bob Wildman. The chain featured several signature items, such as the Big Shef, the Super Shef, the Funmeal, and the Works Bar.

In this edpisode, we explore Burger Chef’s beginnings, its innovative mark in fast food, and finally the eventual buyout by Hardee’s.

"Images of America - Burger Chef" - By Scott R. Sanders - https://www.amazon.com/Burger-Images-America-Scott-Sanders/dp/0738560987
"Flameout: The Rise and Fall of Burger Chef" by John P. McDonald - https://www.amazon.com/Flameout-Rise-Fall-Burger-Chef/dp/1456418637
JSF's BURGER CHEF Tribute Site - tons of details on Burger Chef history - http://jsfburgerchef.homestead.com/
The Burger Chef Reliquary - locations and discussion boards - http://www.thebawdycloister.com/reliquary/
Kyle's Burger Chef Memories Website - A great Burger Chef tribute site, fantastic vintage photos! - http://www.freewebs.com/burgerchef/
Lost Indiana: Burger Chef A page about Burger Chef in its home state. - https://lostindiana.net/2001/06/01/burger-chef-indianapolis/
Roadside Architecture: Eateries Photos of former Burger Chef buildings and signs. - http://www.roadsidearchitecture.com/

Comments 1204 Comments

Seth Thomas
Don't remember ever going to a Burger Chef. There was a Henrys in Cedar Falls, Iowa until the late 70's and a Mr. Quick in Iowa falls, Iowa until the early 80's
Michael Williams
I loved Burger Chef ! My mom would take me and my brother to the one in Fort Smith,Ark in the early 70s
Steve Stair
They were Awsome back in the day!!! Nothing compares to it today!!!
DS Rutherford
I remember in the late 60’s we’d have family supper at burger chef. My dad liked Sinatra, I loved The Rolling Stones. The TV was always on in the background, Vietnam playing in the background, the news would win every night. We were starving, but not just for dinner. My dad would say let’s go to another dinner table where everyone can get what they want when they want. He would say it would be bright and clean with no laundry and no telephone.; and no TV. Dad would say we could go there and get the connection we were hungry for. Mom would say ‘sure there’s chaos at home, but there’s family supper at Burger Chef.’
Didn't Hardees become Carl's Jr.?
Jackie Trujillo
The One Above All
Loved Burger Chef. My mom would take me and my brothers there after swimming. Best burgers ever.
Lexi Caligari
I'm from Indianapolis and re member Burger Chef quite well. Can you please do a story on Kewpee Burgers and the tie in with Dave Thomas of Wendy's fame? Thanks for the great reporting!
Big SHEF???
I remember Burger Chef. I liked them! It's funny...I don't remember them leaving....they were just gone.
Count Fingerbanger?!?!?!??!!?
He was a WILDman!
Rebecca Davis
In Sullivan, Missouri they replaced the Burger Chef with Hardee's. Hardee's was good for one thing: their curly fries!! Other than that, I don't eat ANYTHING from Hardee's, I'll stay home & make my own dinner first!! And McDonald's will never replace Burger Chef, especially with their ways of today!!!
Delta Ray Studios 2
Dracula is so scary....
homeschool Mom
I've not had Burger Chef since the mid 1970's. I never ate there often, but always wondered what happened to them. How sad the way it fell.Thanks for the history.
Joe Schmoe
How about doing one on Portillo's?
Satellite use to have hamburger for 15 cents.
Jason Lee
would like to know what happened to Hardee's and its recent attempts at resurgence...
Jason Lee
Burger Chef was our first experience with "Fast Food"...loved those kids' meals!
Carol B
I worked at the Burger Chef in Saginaw, Michigan. I think it closed down in the late 1970's.
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8 Iconic American Restaurant Chains What Happened to Burger Chef? 4 months ago   05:52

From an unforgettable Mexican restaurant chain to the donut shop the U.S. forgot, we're asking the question: "What the HELL happened to these eight iconic Restaurants?" Dammit...I was really in the mood for that Monte Cristo sandwich and a pint of their finest ale...

Our list:

8: Bennigan's
7: Chi-chi's
6: The Ground Round
5: Kenny Rogers Roasters
4: Sambo's
3: Burger Chef
2: Mister Donut
1: Steak and Ale

Production Information:


"Acid Jazz" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/...)




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