December 27, 2004

Slyde this!

This is the centenniary of the hamburger in America, after its 1904 introduction at the World's Fair. And while the same crew foisting Ronald McDonald on us will be very proud of their sheer numbers, they weren't the first hamburger stand in America, just the best at self-promotion.

White Castle (which did invent the hamburger restaurant chain) is still relatively tiny with about 380 stores, mostly in the Midwest. The home of the Slyder® began in Wichita, Kansas in 1921, and brags it was the first to sell a million—then a billion—of its burgers. And its co-founder J. Frank Anderson, is credited with inventing the hamburger bun in 1916. They now sell 500 million burgers a year.

The four biggest chains are Mickey D's, Burger King, Wendy's, and Hardee's, which control roughly one-third of the total hamburger market.

But in skipping around the culinary internet, I learned that what I'd always considered a regional chain, Jack-in-the-Box, technically stretches from coast to coast now (if you don't look too hard at how you geographically get from Oklahoma to Missouri to Tennessee). There's also Roy Rogers, Rax, Rally's, Good Times, Carl's Jr., Sonic, and a line-up of smaller chains almost too numerous to mention.

For a look at regular restaurants operating coast-to-coast, here's one list. But for which one best suits your taste—well, that one's getting kinda personal. Why not try them all?


Posted by Weaselteeth at 07:25 PM