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November 13, 2020 Slideshows » Food & Drink

20 things you probably didn't know about San Antonio fast-food icon Whataburger 

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From its 1950 birth in a portable building in Corpus Christi to its headquarters' eventual relocation to San Antonio and expansion beyond the Lone Star State, there's a lot of history behind this iconic fast-food brand.

So much so, that even if you regularly hit its drive-throughs for bingeworthy burgers and tasty taquitos, you're still unlikely to know everything that went into its Texas-sized mythology. With that in mind, we're serving up 20 fun facts about Whataburger even loyal fans may not know. 
OF 20
There are over 35,000 ways to have your Whataburger.
While there are only eight burgers on the Whataburger menu, there are 36,864 ways to make a Whataburger. Once you consider the number of special requests you can make — such as grilled onions, jalapeños, triple meat, and extra cheese — the limits are almost endless.
Photo via Instagram / abevigoda718to512
The original Whataburger was huge.
Size does matter: Founder Harmon Dobson wanted to serve a burger that was so big, you’d need both hands to eat it. As a result, the first Whataburgers were 5 inches in diameter, and the buns had to be specially made for the chain.
Photo courtesy of Whataburger
Whataburger or What-A-Burger?
Residents of Virginia and the Carolinas enjoy a chain of burger joints called What-A-Burger, which nearly ended up in a merger with the Texas icon. The two entities eventually settled for a co-existence agreement, and they’ve been happily serving burgers in their respective states since.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons / Vaoverland
The burger chain has come up in political mudslinging.
Burgers can be political: In the 2018 senate race between Ted Cruz and Beto O-Rourke, good ol’ Ted accused Beto of being a "Triple Meat Whataburger liberal.”
Photo via Instagram / betoorourke
Selena was a fan of Whataburger.
The Queen of Tejano reportedly loved Whataburger. Visitors routinely leave flowers and Whataburger meals at her monument in her hometown — and Whataburger birthplace — of Corpus Christi.
Photo via Instagram / luisalove29
Whataburger is being repped at the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
A flag bearing the bright orange Whataburger logo (ostensibly) resides at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. In 2010, father and son duo Jerry and Hudson Baird made the arduous 19,340 foot climb and planted a flag at the top.
Photo via Unsplash / Harshil Gudka
Whataburgers originally cost only a quarter.
The first Whataburgers cost diners 25 cents each.
Photo via Pexels / Miguel Á. Padriñán
Whataburger cookies took a ride on a space shuttle.
In 1999, the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia — an earlier expedition than the ill-fated mission chronicled in a recent Netflix documentary — requested that Whataburger cookies accompany them on their mission. Do you think they asked for Sugar, Chocolate Chip or both?
Photo via Wikimedia Commons / NASA
Move over Starbucks — Whataburger has its own secret menu.
The Whataburger secret menu includes items such as the vegetarian burger, made with a hash brown patty, a drink called the Hulk (a fluorescent-green drink made with Powerade and Vault soda) and the notorious mega-burger the Whatafarm (pictured).
Photo via Lunch Blog KC
A San Antonio college student made waves with Whataburger dorm decor.
In 2017, a Trinity University student decorated his dorm room with handmade Whataburger decor and shared his passion for the chain on social media. In response, the company gifted the student with an upgraded set-up featuring themed blankets, wall art and furniture.
Photo courtesy of Whataburger
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The first Whataburger franchise is still in operation.
The oldest franchise of the iconic burger joint is in Alice, Texas, and is over 65 years old. The late Joe Andrews Sr. was owner of the franchise and longtime friend of Whataburger founder Harmon Dobson.
Photo courtesy of Whataburger
You can get married inside a Whataburger — but you better plan ahead.
Love Whataburger so much you want to marry it? Well, you can’t. That’d be weird. But you CAN marry your second choice inside a Whataburger store, if you’re a superstar planner. Word has it the waiting list is pretty extensive.
Photo via Instagram / canyonlakecabins
Yes, you can bring your horse to a Whataburger drive-through.
If you come riding in on a, shall we say, non-standard vehicle, they’ll still serve you.
Photo courtesy of Whataburger / Allison LaSalle Photography
Whataburger beat McDonald’s to the quarter-pounder.
Whataburger was the first fast food joint to offer a quarter pound beef patty.
Photo via Instagram / megs_ww_lifestyle
Whataburger Air Jordans are a thing.
In 2017 Whataburger held a WhataThose contest for a custom pair of Air Jordan 1s, created by SA local Jake Danklefs of Dank Customs.
Photo courtesy of Whataburger
The burger chain also made custom cowboy boots.
Whataburger’s got a thing for shoes: the chain presented a custom pair of boots to country singer Randy Rogers as a “thank you” for headlining the chain’s 2018 Texas Summer Jam.
Photo courtesy of Whataburger
The guy who voiced the restaurant’s popular commercials doesn’t sound like you’d think.
William H. Bassett — the gravelly-voiced actor from the famous cowboy-centric Whataburger commercials — actually has a strikingly un-twangy voice and hails from Ohio. He’s played a variety of roles in TV and film, including appearances in House of 1000 Corpses (pictured) and The Karate Kid.
Photo via Lionsgate
Some Whataburgers still have the O.G. A-frame.
Though the original A-framed facade was discontinued in 1973, nearly 15 are still in operation today.
Photo courtesy of Whataburger
The A-frame restaurants were more than just for looks.
The A-frame design used for the first-ever Corpus Christi store sat taller than most of the neighboring buildings and was built to withstand winds up to 150mph — a handy detail come hurricane season.
Photo courtesy of Whataburger
You don’t have to go through the drive-through to get your hands on Whata-flavors.
Whataburger is one of the only fast food restaurants to sell its ketchup in grocery stores, and now you can get salsas, seasoned potato chips, pancake mix and a variety of condiments all bearing the chain’s orange and white stripes.
Photo courtesy of Whataburger
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There are over 35,000 ways to have your Whataburger.
While there are only eight burgers on the Whataburger menu, there are 36,864 ways to make a Whataburger. Once you consider the number of special requests you can make — such as grilled onions, jalapeños, triple meat, and extra cheese — the limits are almost endless.
Photo via Instagram / abevigoda718to512

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