Do You Know How Many Fuddrucker’s Still Exist In Illinois?
Fuddrucker's was an American fast-casual restaurant chain that specialized in hamburgers. It was founded in 1979 by Philip J. Romano in San Antonio, Texas. The chain offered large hamburgers with meat ground on-site and buns baked on the premises. In Illinois, the chain had a handful of locations. However, the chain has since been liquidated, and the restaurants are no longer around...in their original form at least.
The Founding and Growth of Fuddrucker's
Philip J. Romano started the chain because he believed that "the world needed a better hamburger." The concept was simple: offer large hamburgers with meat ground on-site and buns baked on the premises. The burgers were offered with lots of fresh sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and vats of cheese sauce. By 1988, there were 150 restaurants in the chain. However, Romano left the chain in 1988 to form Romano's Macaroni Grill.
Ownership Changes and Controversies
Fuddrucker's was purchased in November 1998 by Michael Cannon and later by Magic Brands. In 2010, the restaurant began enforcing a no-weapons policy, which caused controversy among pro-gun advocates who threatened to boycott Fuddrucker's restaurants. In 2014, Fuddrucker's opened a new store called Fuddruckers Deluxe in Newport News, Virginia, which served traditional and new menu items, with a wait staff, full bar, and multiple TVs. However, the restaurant has been closed since 2018.
Bankruptcy and Closure
The 2008 financial crisis hit the restaurant industry hard, including Fuddrucker's. On April 22, 2010, Magic Brands LLC, the parent company of Fuddrucker's, announced plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. On June 18, 2010, Luby's outbid Tavistock for Fuddrucker's assets at auction, with a $61 million winning bid. Luby's acquisition of Fuddrucker's and Koo Koo Roo was finalized in 2010. However, there were controversies with previous franchise owners regarding the use of the Fuddrucker's brand name during 2011.
The name Fuddrucker's is still in use by the Luby's brand but the closest one to Illinois is located in Branson, Missouri.
Fuddrucker's was a beloved American fast-casual restaurant chain that specialized in hamburgers. The chain's unique concept of offering large hamburgers with meat ground on-site and buns baked on the premises, along with the produce and fixings bar, made it a favorite among fast-food enthusiasts. Although the chain is no longer in operation in Illinois, it will always be remembered fondly by those who enjoyed its delicious burgers and unique dining experience.