Friday, May 20, 2011

Whataburger - East Nashville

Researched and written by Debie Oeser Cox

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.

This image has been copyrighted and cannot be used without permission of John Baeder.

Creative Commons License
What-a-burger - East Nashville by Debie Oeser Cox is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

13 comments:

  1. THANK YOU for this bit of history. Its been a debate with friends for awhile -- if there was once Whataburger here or not, and if so, where. Now I know!!

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  2. In the earliy 60's I lived in the big white house behind the what-a-burger for a few yrs. We went in the dr.beside the what-a-burger that led upto his trailer the house was on the right side.

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  3. In the mid-70's there was a What-A-Burger located in the 3800 block of Nolensville Road, located behind the Circuit City.

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    1. There were several What-a-burger's in Nashville in the 70's and later. One on Nolensville Rd, one on Gallatin Rd at Rivergate, one on Charlotte, maybe more. The reason What-a-burger took the franchise away from the owners of the Dickerson Rd restaurant was because they planned on building all the others. The Dickerson Rd location owners were given the option of building a new place or losing the franchise and they chose to give up the franchise.

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  5. I worked at the What-a-Burger .

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    1. My dad use to take us there all the time I remember him always cutting up with the waitress calling her shorty and little bit

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  6. I'd like to know what it would take to get them back in the Greater Nashville area, and WHERE is the closest one to us. I can find them at every exit in Texas, but not around Nashville.

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    1. Here I am commenting 2 years later, but the closest Whataburger to Nashville is currently in Fultondale, AL off 65 just north of Birmingham.

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  7. I remember my dad taking us there in the 70s I remember him cutting up with this one waitress he'd always call her shortly. Good memories

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  8. Closest one is in Alabama.... We do need one tho!!!

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  9. Was there ever a Whataburger near the 70 100 split in west Nashville?

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  10. Ate at one today in Fort Walton FL. used to go to the one on Dickerson RD as a kid.

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