Who remembers Burger Chef?

Who remembers the fast food chain Burger Chef? A few years ago, I passed through Laurel and saw a relatively intact Drive-In that was being used as a coin laundry it had a distinct look, one that I couldn’t place until I saw a similar building in Gulfport when it clicked with me. The Laurel and the Gulfport buildings both shared overhanging eaves and white enamel panels with large orange diamonds. The buildings were once part of a national fast food chain, Burger Chef.

I’m familiar with three different locations all in the southern part of the state. In addition to Laurel I know there were locations in Gulfport and Biloxi. While Burger Chef was started in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1954, the Gulfport Burger Chef was the first to open of the three I’m familiar with, announcing $0.15 hamburgers in 1962.  Laurel’s location opened in 1963 and Biloxi opened in 1964. I cannot tell you how much of my business the Biloxi location would get if they were still around! Unfortunately, the Biloxi location right at the intersection of Porter Avenue and Judge Sekul Drive was demolished a while back.

Per the Wikipedia entry for Burger Chef, the chain had 1050 locations nationally and in Canada at its peak. I’ve learned there were  Burger Chef locations in Hattiesburg (at the intersection of Hardy and Highway 49), Greenville (1939 East Highway 82) and one in Vicksburg (on Clay Street near Baldwin Ferry Road). However, all these locations have been demolished.  Surely there was one in Jackson, perhaps other places across Mississippi. Do you remember eating at a Burger Chef?


More about roadside Mississippi . . .



Categories: Biloxi, Building Types, Cool Old Places, Demolition/Abandonment, Greenville, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Historic Preservation, Laurel, Lost Mississippi, Modernism, Vicksburg

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48 replies

  1. There are 2 in Columbus. One is a Chinese restaurant that used to have panels with oriental designs inside, close to where the cash register was. I think the menus were in the places where the panels are. I’m not sure if they are still there, as it’s been a while since I was there. That was the only thing that I remembered looking like the old Burger Chef though.

    The other one is an insurance office across from the big park on Main St. I never went in there, so I don’t know what it looks like.

    I don’t think either was a drive in, but they were Burger Chef restaurants.

    Liked by 1 person

    • DO you remember the location of the Burger Chef that became the Chinese restaurant?

      I looked across the street from Propst Park and couldn’t identify a building that could have been a Burger Chef, so unless it is heavily modified, I think it’s gone.

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      • There was a tire store just before you got to it, going north on 45, and another tire store across the street. The restaurant was named Peking, and it was there in the 80s. It was just past the mall.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Speaking of Chinese restaurants in Columbus, maybe Dixie will speak of the Rube Goldberg Dream House that the local Chinese restaurant owner built in the late 1990s. Quite a row over putting it square in the middle of the historic homes area. And they say Chinese have no sense of humor… and have no word for sarcasm–except on Seinfeld.
          I cannot find anything on this story from Newspapers dot com.

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    • I worked at the one in Natchez the summer of 1983.

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  2. Were they all drive ins? I thought there was one on Ellis Ave in Jackson in the 70s. It was in front of Woolco near Raymond Rd. I may be remembering the name wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There was a Frostop (sp) at Ellis and Highway 80, the Green Derby was on one of the corners.
    Great root beer in those frozen mugs.
    Another iconic burger restaurant was the Wagon Wheel on Terry Road in South Jackson.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. From Buzz Barnett, I remember one in downtown Jackson in 67 or 68 , south side between JCPenny and Heidelberg Hotel and one in Starkville, just off of MSU campus. and kudos to previous post regarding Frost Top, Bz

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There was a burger chef in Starkville on hwy 12 between the MSU campus and the Highway Patrol station on US82.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Is the building gone? I couldn’t find it.

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      • The Mississippi State Burger Chef building is still there. It is a white building on Google street view. It is one building East of the gas station on Lee Blvd. Google maps show’s the gas stations today as a Chevron gas station. The address of the old Burger Chef building is 418 Lee Blvd a gaming store. ” Down to Game”. The 3 phase 3 transformer power pole is between the gas station and the old burger chef buildings and supplies both buildings. In the mid 1970’s that gas station had pumps that took dollar bills. Burger Chef’s radio ads on WSSO /WSMU was “Burger Chef was “just off campus”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for answering this mystery! Its changed a lot but you can still make out the original form. Thank you also for the info on the service station with the cash Pay-at-the-Pump feature. I’am really interested in those systems. I never got to use one but the old adverts I’ve seen for them are great. If I can find my files I’ll post some of the ads I’ve collected.

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          • The one in Starkville was still operating as Burger Chef in the late 1980s when I was in college. Most of the locations in Mississippi had closed by then, but that one was still branded as a Burger Chef.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. I ate at the Burger Chef in Meridian as a youngster with my best friend on many Saturdays in the late 1960s. It was at the corner of 24th Avenue and 13th Street. Google Earth shows me the building is no longer extant.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There was one in Natchez on Homochitto Street- not very far from Dunleith! I believe it’s been gone now for quite some time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Might that have been on the north side of John R Junkin Dr, just west of its intersection with Homochitto Street?
      The building has been renovated, perhaps even rebuilt, beyond recognition into South China Restaurant. When first it was a Chinese restaurant, the interior still had a ceiling the followed the low slope of the roof, and the side walls had large expanses of glass.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Got drive through breakfast biscuit at this Burger Chef on the way to work in Natchez for number of years. Great biscuit! Later, I ate at the Chinese restaurant that went in there. Pretty good, But nothing like the Burger Chef biscuit.

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  8. I lived right across the street from the Burger Chef location in Biloxi when I was stationed at Keesler AFB in the early 80’s. We lived at 444 Porter Avenue, the apartments across the street. Used to walk by the building when I walked to work on the base. I cant recall what was in the location however.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If my memory serves me correctly, Burger Chef was the first major burger chain to locate in the Pascagoula area in the late 60’s. The restaurant was notable for a number of reasons in our community. Primary among the reasons was the fact that it served Blacks without discrimination. It was a popular spot for families and teens on weekends. The store was located on the North side of Hwy. 90. The building is no longer there.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I was told by old timers that there was a Burger Chef in Oxford on West Jackson Ave in front of the Oxford Mall, next door to the old Pizza Hut. This location became Buffalo Cafe, was demolished and there is a bank on that lot now.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The Burger Chef on Park Avenue was the first “chain” hamburger restaurant in Greenwood, opening around 1966 or so. The location is now a KFC; I thought it might be the same building repurposed but probably not.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. There was a Burger Chef on I-55 frontage rd. If I’m not crazy, there was also one in the old Jackson Square shopping center on Terry Rd.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. There was a Burger Chef in Natchez on John R Junkin, leading to the Mississippi River Bridge. It was not a drive-inn when I moved there in 1979. Best biscuits in town.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I remember the one in Vicksburg. Innocent as we then were, we were excited when a national chain of anything came to town. Burger Chef may have been the first.
    And now everywhere looks like everywhere else.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The I-55 Frontage Road location was just south of the Northside Drive interchange in the vicinity of the former Bennigan’s. The Jackson Square burger restaurant was a Corky’s, Walgreens’ entry in the fast food burger market.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dooney, that “South of the Northside Drive interchange” location is correct and I believe the shell of the original building is still there, now a title loan business, formerly a pawn/gold shop. The widening of the frontage road at that location eliminated some of what was the front entrance area. The building has a more exaggerated A-frame roof; don’t remember if that was original or not.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Growing up in Gulfport for 22 of my first 23 years, during 4 – 6 Grades, we lived near Burger Chef as it was only a few blocks west of Northeast Elementary. It was one of the few burger places in the immediate area.

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  16. Yes, loved it. There was one in Natchez when I was a kid. South China restaurant is in that area now.

    Liked by 1 person

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  1. Who remembers Burger Chef? — Preservation in Mississippi | Ups and Downs of Family History V2.0

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