Monday, August 9, 2010


One Saturday of every month in the late '70's, my mom, sisters and I would head out to a local retail center called Franview Plaza here in south St. Louis County. It housed a Rexall Drugstore, where I bought comics, a Ben Franklin, where I bought my candy, a barbershop, where I would receive the occasional haircut, a P. N. Hirsch department store, where my mother bought my awful yet unstylish clothes, and finally, perhaps most importantly, a Burger Chef.

McDonald's was a twice-yearly treat, but due to the proximity of the other shopping, lunchtime often found us at Burger Chef and me with my Funmeal at the Works Bar (a salad bar with all the "fixins" you wanted to put on your burger. Think Fuddrucker's if you have one near you). The Funmeal was the first fastfood kids meal, preceding McDonald's own Happy Meal by 6 or 7 years. It came with a burger, fries, small drink, prize, and a coin you could redeem for a sundae. The box featured puzzles and a cast of characters including Burger Chef, Jeff, Count Fangburger, Burgerini the Magician, Crankenburger (a Frankenstein Parody), and Blueburger the Pirate (okay guys, we get it -- you sell burgers...).

So when my neighbor approached me a couple years ago and asked, "Would you be interested in an old Burger Chef table?" I about jumped out of my skin. Now granted, this isn't exactly a garage sale find, but it was free, so it's in the ballpark.

The table had been disassembled and the frame had been outdoors for the better part of a year.  It was fairly rusted. I stripped it down and repainted it classic Burger Chef brown. The seats and table weren't in too bad of condition and were made of formica, so there wasn't much I could have done with them anyway.

I recently completed an elevated platform in my basement to on which to set the table.

While the red and white tiles aren't exactly Burger Chef era, I like them. By the way, the Coca Cola clock hanging on the wall behind the table *is* a garage sale find. $10 at an estate sale off of Rock Hill Road in Affton.

Back when I received the table, I did a little research and came across a picture of this model table in a vintage photo.

By the time Hardees bought out Burger Chef in the early 80's, my family had fallen out of our Saturday routine, but I still vowed to never eat at a Hardee's (okay, I've broken this vow a couple times, but not without regret -- their hamburgers always give me stomach aches!)  I recently read that a company out of Chicago called River West Brands has filed a lawsuit against Hardees for abandonment of the Burger Chef rights, hoping to relaunch the chain.

Thomas Wolfe wrote, "You Can't Go Home Again", but maybe someday I'll be able to go to Burger Chef again.


  1. oh, how i loved burger chef. you didn't mention it here, but they were the first to have a star wars promotional tie-in:

    i had the R2 and 3PO one, for sure. maybe some of the others as well.

    even before star wars, i adored them for their funmeals. interesting to read that they might be coming back! not sure just how they would accomplish that, so long after they had went away. one thing's for sure, though: hardee's has always been TERRIBLE. : )

  2. well, i posted earlier this week, but it seems that it was lost, so i'll try and remember all i said...

    burger chef has a huge soft spot in my heart, too. and don't forget, burger chef was one of the first fast-food chains to have a star wars tie in!

    here's the full set: i had the R2 and 3PO poster for sure, and possibly the han & chewie one.


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