The first Whataburger restaurant in Nashville, TN, located at 1413 Dickerson Road opened in late 1954 or early 1955. The restaurant had no inside seating, offering drive up or curb service to motorists. A large menu board was hung on the sides of the small white and orange building and featured the Whataburger. A Whataburger was a jumbo sized hamburger that came dressed with mustard, chopped lettuce, chopped onion, tomato slices and dill pickle slices. Other items were Whataburger Jr.; Just-a-burger; Coney Island hot dog; French Fries, Soft Drinks and Milkshakes. In 1968, the price of a Whataburger was thirty-five cents. A Whataburger, order of French fries and a large coke cost seventy-three cents, including sales tax.
The first owners were Marvin E. West and his wife Odessa West. The West's obtained a franchise through the Whataburger Restaurants based in Texas. Mr. West was living in a trailer home on the property and he died in 1955 when a fire destroyed the home.
Joseph J. Dugger and his wife Hattie owned and operated the Mimosa Gardens Motel located at 1415 Dickerson road, next to the Whataburger and lived in a residence behind the motel. Mr. and Mrs. Dugger purchased the Whataburger restaurant in late 1955.
In 1962 the Duggers sold the restaurant and motel to Jesse and Linda McMurtry. The McMurtrys had worked for the Duggers for several years helping to run both the motel and restaurant.
In 1970 Carl and Hilda Dean and Hilda’s daughter Linda McMurtry, ex-wife of Jesse McMurtry purchased the business. Whataburger Restaurants expanded the market in Tennessee and the Deans and McMurtry were given an option to make a substantial investment and relocate to a new building or give up the franchise. They chose to give up the franchise and changed the name of the business to Wantaburger.
In the early '70s, Whataburger opened locations on Gallatin Pike in the Rivergate area and on Charlotte Ave. in West Nashville. All Nashville locations have since gone out of business.
Click here for a great view of the Wantaburger by John Baeder
This image has been copyrighted and cannot be used without permission of John Baeder.
What-a-burger - East Nashville by Debie Oeser Cox is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.