Everyone Loves a Good A-Frame and a Hamburger - Whataburger

I remembered the venerable Whataburger chain of restaurants decked out in University Texas Longhorn colors from a week of college debauchery in South Texas in the 80's. We had even stopped at one of the famous A-frames on a return drive from Spring Break and then listened to one of my back seat travel companions complain, OHH-WHAT-A-BURGER, from a raw onion induced stomach ache for the next 500 miles.

On my more recent trip, I was not prepared for the lack of the landmark, tall A-frames, which were once as common as Longhorn cattle in Texas. You could usually spot one of the distinctive narrow orange and white striped roofs and the gigantic W logo signs from a mile away, a testament to it being a true "Roadside Architectural Wonder." Any Texas town over 2000 people seemed to have one. These days the Whataburgers are just as common, but the buildings seem to come in a more conventional toned-down, quasi-A-frame design. A shorter, squatter mini A-frame-hybrid with ranch house roof side appendages is how I would describe it. And the orange and white stripes are much wider, with a less aesthetic commercial metal panel roof replacing the standing seam metal. Really the newer designs are quite dissappointing.
If you are a true roadside food aficionado, then you can imagine my delight when my daughter latched on to the clever name and the distinctive color scheme and began demanding, "I want to eat at a Whataburger!" She convinced the family patriarch that this would be a better choice than a quick stop at a Burger King. Soon the whole family of fourteen would agree. WHAT-A-TREAT! I quickly became enamored with the #5 bacon cheeseburger with onion rings instead of fries. After three more stops over a week we waved goodbye to our last orange and white roof as we headed north out of Oklahoma City.

I am starting a campaign to demand that the Whataburger chain expand to the north just one more state to include Kansas.

KCMODERN friend Debra Jane, aka Agility Nut, has photographed many Whataburgers, which you can see here.

It also appears that the hamburger chain has started to recognize the historical and marketing significance of their little A-frame buildings and has posted a fun section to the Whataburger A-frame website, which I recommend you check out.

You will also note that the more recently built, flagship location in Corpus Christ, Texas, dubbed the "Whataburger by the Bay," has made a weak nod back to the high A-frame and the narrow orange and white stripes.