For a while now the oldest, operating restaurant in Schaumburg Township had been staring at me every day. It just never occurred to me that a chain restaurant could be the oldest, although I should have known given its location. It was part of Hoffman Plaza, our first suburban strip mall at the intersection of Higgins, Golf and Roselle. It was Burger King, home of the Whopper. And now it’s gone.
Surprisingly, the restaurant began operation in early 1964. The actual date is not certain but a mention is made in the March 26, 1964 issue of The Herald under the column Hoffman Birthdays. The guests of a certain birthday were “trying out a ‘whopper’ at the new Burger King March 21…All agreed that it was a swell place to have a party.”
The current owner told me that this was store #134 in the Burger King chain. Considering the franchise started operations under the Burger King name ten years before in 1954 in Miami, FL, it’s actually pretty amazing that the Hoffman Estates store achieved this status. In 1964 the villages of Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates were just getting their legs underneath them. But the population was starting to boom and someone was sharp enough to see the eventual profits that could be made in such a central location.
To get an idea of what the store looked like in the beginning and what they had to offer, I’ve included some of the ads that appeared in The Herald. You’ll notice that their address was 50 Hoffman Estates Plaza at Higgins and Roselle Roads. Hamburgers were a bargain at .19 and giant Whoppers at .39. You could even mix it up and have a fish sandwich for the price of a whopper if you felt like it. Soft drinks ran from .10 to .15 and shakes from .19 to .29. What a great deal!
One of the ads also mentions their air-conditioned and heated patio with its big picnic tables. After talking to a young lady who worked there at her first job in 1968, she said that the basic building configuration has always been the same. Rather than the fixed tables that were there most recently, picnic tables must have been scattered around the inside area.
According to the owner, the building needed another remodeling and the configuration for getting into and out of the parking lot had affected the sales. As a result, it was decided to close the business. The last day was March 24, 2014. It’s always sad to see a restaurant close but when it’s the oldest, a part of history goes with it.
Here’s a question though–can you name the locations of all of the Burger Kings that have existed in Schaumburg Township?
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library