We got a tip about the What-a-burger restaurant from our pal Jimmy Rosen from Old Sledworks, and he knew he had us with that zig-zag canopy above the drive in spaces. We immediately added it to our possible lunch destinations in North Carolina. I mean, wouldn’t you, with that big ol’ Welcome welcoming you?
According to Roadside Architecture’s Debra Jane Seltzer, this is the last of the remaining chain of What-a-burgers that started in this area in 1950, and isn’t related to the chain in Texas that we stopped at when driving to Austin. There are a number of locations and all of them are numbered – but upon Jimmy’s recommendation we picked #11 which has been around since 1960.
For those of you completists I’ve done some internet research so you can know where the other What-a-burger locations in NC are:
- There are 2 in Kannopolis, NC – #1 and #10 – Both have Drive In service
- There are 2 in Concord, NC – #2 and #15 – They do not have Drive In service
- the last one is lucky #13 in Mt. Pleasant, NC alas they don’t have the Drive In service either
Though called What-a-burger they do have all sorts of other things on the menu (hot dogs, BBQ, salads, um, breaded cube steak?) but whaddaya think we got? A burger! -How could we not? When in Rome… (or Mooresville….)
Well actually – technically – we got two What-A-Cheeseburgers, (1/4lb. burger on a 5″ bun, with “Wisconsin real cheese, (?!) lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.)
They were served wrapped in their own wax paper envelopes, with a picture of the requisite “North Carolina Pickle on a Stick” shown:
While they were a bit squished in those paper pockets, I actually like my burgers squished, that way you don’t have to unhinge your jaw to eat ‘em!
And for those who keep score - the fries were crinkle-cut - MY FAVE – and came in their own boat (totes adorbs.)
When it came to our drinks, we got yer standard corporate carbonated beverages, but I just HAD TO ask when I saw a drink call the Witchdoctor listed on the menu. Seems as if that’s a wacky What-a-burger dare of a drink, as it combines a little bit of all the drinks they serve – AND A shot pickle juice added! See the things I find out for us all? Not that we tried it of course – BLECH!
After seeing this great little piggy neon sign gleaming in the sunshine I knew that next time we’d have to check out their Pit BBQ next time we’re there.
Now, someone once asked me -” is the food that you eat at these cool vintage places always SO MUCH better than at other places?” To which I honestly replied, “Well – when your options on the road are the hockey pucks doled out at the corporate chains that dot the roadside, then the bar isn’t set particularly high!”
That being said I’d definitely make the 5 minute jaunt off of the highway to eat one of their burgers and support this cool authentic vintage place – any time we drive south!
210 South Main Street
Mooresville, NC 28115
View NC – North Carolina Retro RoadMAP in a larger map