Tuscaloosa welcomes first Whataburger locationBy Lorin Byrd | 03/05/2018 11:06am
The anticipation is over now that Whataburger has opened its doors to Tuscaloosa. The fast-food restaurant chain held its first opening last Wednesday, Feb. 28.
Matthew Mcwhorter, a grad student in accounting, was one of the first people in line. He said he got there at 9 a.m. for the 11 a.m. opening to be one of the first to experience Whataburger for the first time. He said, “I’ve wanted to try it and they had the free table tents so I thought it was perfect timing.”
Whataburger gave out free silver table tents with the Alabama “A” and the number 17 to represent the Tide’s 17 National Championship wins to their first 100 customers. The famous table tents used in the restaurant are originally orange and white.
Whataburger has had its eye on the Tuscaloosa community for a while but it took some time to find the right area. Karina Alderete, director of brand outreach and community engagement for Whataburger, said even though it took some time, once the two locations were identified, they could not wait to open their restaurants. She said, “We are just so excited to be a part of this community, from the Crimson Tide Pride to seeing the growth in this town is great.”
The town of Tuscaloosa came out to show support for the new restaurant. Many showed their fandom by wearing shirts with the Whataburger logo. A baby even wore a Whataburger onesie. Big Al and some University of Alabama cheerleaders joined the excitement. The employees worked hard to make sure customers enjoyed their experience considering the crowd.
Emily Knowles, a junior majoring in communicative disorders, “They’re getting people in and out but people can still sit down and enjoy.”
Texas natives were especially excited considering Whataburger got its start in Corpus Christi, Texas over 60 years ago. Katie Hutchinson, a senior marketing major and Texas native said, “This is my comfort food. It reminds me of home and now I can come here whenever I am happy or sad.”
The restaurant is open 24 hours and serves breakfast from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. Alderete would like to invite students to come and enjoy their 24-hour service, especially as a break for an all-night study session. She said, “We’re ready to serve people all day long.”
In preparation for the opening, Whataburger hired 100 employees and are doing the same for their second location which will be open this year.
Whataburger is located at Interstate 359 and Skyland Boulevard. Ground has already been broken at another new location on the corner of 13th Street and McFarland Boulevard.