NewsLocal News


On This Day: Whataburger granted trademark in Corpus Christi in 1950

first whataburger.jpg
first whataburger replica.jpg
Posted at 5:50 PM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 18:53:54-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Is your Whataburger craving especially strong today?

We might know why.

On June 23, 1950, the Texas Secretary of State granted Harmon Dobson the “Whataburger” trademark.

Dobson wasted no time, and on August 8, 1950, with no previous restaurant experience, he opened the first Whataburger in Corpus Christi. The first Whataburger on Ayers Street sold $50 worth of burgers, chips, and drinks on the first day.

Back then, a Whataburger hamburger only cost 25 cents.

Harmon Dobson Whataburger.PNG

Dobson had a vision to make a burger so big, you would have to hold it with two hands. Do you know where we're going with this?

It's how Whataburger got its name: Those who saw it wouldn't be able to say anything but “What a burger!”

By 1960, the restaurant had become a chain, with 17 restaurants operating across Texas, Florida and Tennessee. In 1961, the familiar orange-and-white striped A-frames were first introduced at a Whataburger built in Odessa.

Whataburger stripes.PNG

Dobson died in a plane crash in 1967, but with the Dobson family's support and the extended Whataburger family, Harmon's wife, Grace, took over the business.

Whataburger opened its 300th restaurant in late 1980, more than 30 years after its original location opened. Two years after that, three Corpus Christi locations began operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Whataburger 24 hours.PNG

Today, what started out as a single burger stand in Corpus Christi has grown to a 800-restaurant chain that spans every state from Arizona to Florida. All thanks to Harmon Dobson and his ability to dream big, perfectly fitting the Texas motto "Everything is bigger in Texas".

A replica of the original burger stand is located on 4126 South Staples Street in Corpus Christi, in the parking lot of an operating Whataburger.

The photos and information provided in this article are courtesy of Whataburger, their website, and the Texas Historical Commission.