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Fred "Rerun" Barry once commented here.

November 7th, 2012

Have it your way

Here’s an interesting fact I just learned the other day: there’s a Burger King in Illinois that’s not affiliated with the chain we all know so well. It’s located in Mattoon, IL (home of Hope Summers who played Clara Edwards on the Andy Griffith show). The Wikipedia page gives a quick history of this rebel Burger King:

Mattoon residents Gene and Betty Hoots bought the successful Frigid Queen ice cream shop from Gene’s uncle, Bill Paullin, in 1952. In 1954, Gene expanded the business, adding hamburgers, French fries and other items to the menu. In 1957, they fixed up a two-car parking garage behind the Frigid Queen, adding a grill and a counter for customers. When it came time to give the new business behind the Frigid Queen a name, Betty said that a queen needs a king, and chose the name Burger King.

In 1959, after prompting by his uncle, Gene registered the name “Burger King” as a state trademark in Illinois, and the Hootses were official owners and operators of the only “Burger King” restaurant in Illinois at the time.

Interestingly, once the Hoots’ realized the other Burger King was going to get big, they filed a lawsuit to try and keep them out of Illinois. They lost (federal trademarks take precedence over state trademarks), but to this day, the Hoots have been able to keep the Burger King chain from opening a location within a 20-mile radius of Mattoon.

Here’s a look at the exterior and interior of the Hoots’ establishment.

Posted in Food and Beverage

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