Food of the Seventies, Burger Chef Hamburgers

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They were one of the first Hamburger chain restaurants to start the "fix-it-yourself" They could fix your burger--or you could get it plain and add it at the burger bar (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, relish, etc...) They were pretty yummy for a fast food place--may have been a local Texas place--not sure.
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The following are comments left about Burger Chef Hamburgers from site visitors such as yourself. They are not spell checked or reviewed for accuracy.

Joe Baker - May 20, 2007 - Report this comment
Burger Chef was a national chain, believe it or not. Wish it was still here. During the 70's it was owned by General Mills.
Mark - September 14, 2007 - Report this comment
The fix-it-yourself feature was referred to as the "Works Bar". There you could build your "Big Chef" or "Super Chef". Premium icons were Burger Chef & Jeff, and Fangburger
Leslie - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
Ohh, Burger Chef was the best! I had a friend who worked there after school and evenings so I went and sat often at BC to visit him on breaks. (ok, so I had a huge crush on him!) A couple years ago he confessed that he had to wear the Burger Chef costume once! LOL
Andrew - April 12, 2008 - Report this comment
I hope that Burger chef comes back to Fort Wayne,Indiana like they did in 1977. I miss the burger chef Restaurant.
Kimberly - June 12, 2008 - Report this comment
Yes, I remember Burger Chef!!!! It was the main fast food hamburger place in New Albany, IN. My friends and me hung out at that place after school all the time! That was back when hamburgers tasted homemade!
Wayne Pickens - September 07, 2008 - Report this comment
Burger Chef morphed into Hardee's which in my opinion sucks. They had them in Ohio in the 70's and early 80's.
Hector J. Herrera - November 24, 2008 - Report this comment
I remember a Burger Chef on Montana Avenue here in El Paso,Tx. It was the early 1970s a street up from my parents house. We were poor and very seldom had a chance to eat there. I do know they were the best tasting burgers my taste buds ever encountered. I also remember if you purchased a combo meal they would serve it on a free frisbee which I thought was really cool. The location of this Burger Chef was on Montana ave. near Copia street in the central part of El Paso. I was kind of sad to see it close I guess about 1972 or 73'. Where have all the good times gone???
Bill - December 03, 2008 - Report this comment
I worked for Burger Chef from 1968 to 1977. I worked in a few different stores in different states, and met a lot of good people. In my opinion, when General Foods bought the chain is when it went downhill. Most of its stores were franchised, and the company provided no guidance or support for them so they went in all different directions with menus, standards, and the like. So then, the customer didn't know what to expect when they went to Burger Chef because there were so many differences. I'm sure this was a major factor in their demise.
Rudy - January 15, 2009 - Report this comment
I remember in the early 70's there was a Burger Chef on Mcrae Blvd near Eastwood High in El Paso, TX. When they closed it down in the mid 70's, it became Chicos Tacos. Now Chicos Tacos is closed as well.
Deb - January 18, 2009 - Report this comment
Burger Chef was one of the first fast food places our family went to in Mansfield, Ohio...Late 1960's into the early 1970's.. Not sure when they went out or what is there now.
Chris - January 27, 2009 - Report this comment
We had a simular restraunt here in oregon but it was caller Herfy's. Had the build your own burger set-up.
Robert - February 18, 2009 - Report this comment
I recall going to eat at a Burger Chef in Elkhart, IN with my aunt and cousins back in the mid '80s. Don't know if it's still around or not since I haven't been up there in years.
Steve - March 02, 2009 - Report this comment
I used to love Burger Chef!!!- what a blast from the past. I remember you put all your own "fixings" on it- they were the best burgers.
Mike Dauria - March 11, 2009 - Report this comment
I certainly remember Burger Chef! Worked their during summer school and during X-mas break, mostly in the 1970s! I workd at the one in Salem Ohio before other chains (like Red Barn) came into the picture. And yes, I remember "Family Fun Night" and dressing in a clown costume out in the parking lot, trying to get people to stop by, What memories. My first job with a work permit at age 15 in 1969 I believe.
Vicki - May 30, 2009 - Report this comment
I remember going there on friday nights with my grandma when she would babysit my when my mom was at work. I loved that palce
Mike M - July 02, 2009 - Report this comment
I remember Burger Chef in New Bedford Mass back in the 70's and early 80"s. Big Chef and Super Chef had flavor and good taste. I wish someone would bring it back!
Dee K - July 26, 2009 - Report this comment
I loved Burger Chef. Remember the Burger Chef and Jeff commercials? We had several Burger Chef's in Indianapolis. My favorite item was the Skippper's Treat. The best fish sandwich ever! I could eat two of them plus fries and a strawberry shake. I think Hardee's took over Burger Chef-and ruined it.
Thomas M - August 03, 2009 - Report this comment
I remember the BC in Steubenville, Ohio, in the mid-70s. I was a little kid then, and can't really attest to how good it was over other chains, but I happened on to this and other sites tonight and said, "Wow, there's a blast from the past!" We moved out of Ohio in 1977, and I never saw a Burger Chef again. As far as the Hardee's comments: Yes, Hardee's sucks, always will.
Petie - August 28, 2009 - Report this comment
Does anyone remember the Burger Chef in Norwich and/or New London, Connecticut? If so, let me know.
Sadi - September 28, 2009 - Report this comment
I remember Burger Chef. I don't like ketchup, mustard or pickles, so I always liked places that made it my way. Burger Chef was way better than Burger King, IMO.
April - December 30, 2009 - Report this comment
Not sure, but I think Burger Chef was one of the first burger places to put toys with their kids meals. I thought that was so cool!!
RICHARD E - March 02, 2010 - Report this comment
I have eaten at all Fast Food Chains and there is no doubt the Super Chef was the best
James C. Eckard II - April 11, 2010 - Report this comment
My Grandfather was part owner of the Steubenville, Ohio area Burger Chef. My father managed one in Weirton, WVa. Unfortunately, my grandfather was forced into an early retirement because of his partner's shady business practices. Burger Chef had the original flame broiler, works bar, and fun meal. It was second only to McDonalds in the 1970's.
El Robbo - April 18, 2010 - Report this comment
Good ol' Burger Chef; the progenitor of such franchises as Fuddrucker's & Roy Rogers. & to those that were wondering: Burger Chef was essentially a nationwide franchise.
RICHARD CRAPPEL - June 14, 2010 - Report this comment
Mylo - August 12, 2010 - Report this comment
I remember the Burger Chef in Raynham, Ma. Loved "The Works Bar"
Wayne-O - September 28, 2010 - Report this comment
Yep they were all over Ohio. I used to love to go to Zanesville they had 2 Burger Chef's. I remember being finally "big enough" to order a Super Chef or Big Chef. We were poor and my parents wouldn't order for me until I could eat it all. No wonder we are all so obese as a nation now.
Pat - November 20, 2010 - Report this comment
We had Burger Chefs' all over Northern Indiana. When the " Big new (enhanced)burgers" came out in the early 1980's there was a re-interest in the brand. The stores were all over the South Bend / Elkhart Michiana area. They advertised like crazy with catchy-tuned commercials. I think General Foods was juicing up Burger Chef for a sell-off. As soon as people started to go there, Hardee's quickly swept in and changed over most of the stores.They lasted a barely ten years. they all closed down and I think only one store remains over the state line in Michigan.
Tonya - January 07, 2011 - Report this comment
Just found a Great Burgerini hand puppet. Oh the memories. My grandmother took me to the one in Columbus Indiana. I loved the food. It,and The Red Barn, that sold chicken, are two of my fondest memories from childhood. Plus, yes Hardees sucks!
Jude - January 18, 2011 - Report this comment
Had many a meal at Burger Chef and McDonalds growing up in Toledo, Ohio. I don't remembeer building your own burger, but do rememebbr the fantastic toys that you could get at burger chef including a cardboard play city w/ cars, floor map, etc.
Brian - February 01, 2011 - Report this comment
My first job was at a Burger Chef in Cambridge, Ohio. Man I loved the Top Chef Hamburger 1/3 lb. and Best taste I remember for any Burger. Sold a Ton of them. Hey Bruce I was on Break.
Chuck - March 14, 2011 - Report this comment
My first job was at a Burger Chef in Mansfield Ohio in 1968 (part-time job during high school).
HadEnuf - March 16, 2011 - Report this comment
Being originally from Indianapolis, where Burger Chef started out, I grew up on Burger Chef, and miss it terribly. I remember the Works Bar (which debuted along with a salad bar) quite well. I also remember when they added the dinners (served on a foam plate instead of bun, baga and wrappers): while I liked the Rancher (a one-third pound "chopped steak", compete with A-1), my favorite was a fish dinner (the Mariner, if I recall it correctly) that probably helped kill Arthur Treacher's and slow the entry of Long John Silver's into Burger Chef's market areas. Unfortunately, by the time Hardee's bought them out, the management had pretty much run the chain into the ground. It was surprising to see how much worse still Hardees could do with it, but they were still in their "expand, expand, be a Jack of all trades and master of none" phase. The only worthwhile thing that I remember *them* actually carrying over for a while was an unusually good fish sandwich--an elongated rectangle, instead of a square, on a multi-grain bun--that I *think* may have been called the "Captain's Catch" (a name discarded promptly once Hardee's took over). As for the poster that called BC "second only to McDonalds", I'd have to say that, no, they were second to none: McD's was an also-ran, as far as *my* family was concerned, growing up. Of course, there weren't very many McD's in Indy, when there were already a number of BCs.
el chuco - June 23, 2011 - Report this comment
sometime, during the latter part of the year i was at work, working the grave yard shift i only need 1hour to go before my shift ended i cruised alameda st. then i came upon cargill st.where a burger chef once stood,at that corner now is a big metal building so i took a right turn and as i passed the metal building to my surprise the old burger chef building was still standing just the way i remember it except no orange the building has been repainted.If im not mistaken this burger chef building is the only one still standing and looks just bthe way it did back inthe 70s.
Christine - June 29, 2011 - Report this comment
I remember Burger Chef in Raynham Mass. My stepdad brought us there once a week & then afterwards we would go next door to Ziggys Arcade. I was 10 & those are the best memories of my life. If anyone knows how I can find pictures of Rte 44 where Burger Chef & Ziggys were located back in 1984 PLEASE email me at Thank you
ALAN STULL - October 03, 2011 - Report this comment
karen - December 21, 2011 - Report this comment
As a youngster I would love to eat at the Burger Chef in Reston, VA in the early 70's ! We had birthday parties there and it was always a special treat to be taken there for "dinner"! Burger Chef n Jeff - so cool!!
Chris - January 20, 2012 - Report this comment
Glad I found this forum. Yes, Burger Chef ruled. It's sad the way the chain faded out, and burgers at most of the fast food joints nowadays just don't seem as good. Or am I just overidealizing elements from my childhood? South Bend, Indiana (where I grew up) had plenty of them once, but they mostly disappeared by the mid-80's. And yes, I agree that Hardee's sucks.
Mark Bernhardt - February 26, 2012 - Report this comment
Can anyone direct me to where I could possibly find a Burger Chef wren house. I ahve been looking for years. Thank you.
Hector Munoz - May 09, 2012 - Report this comment
I used to go to a burger place on north Mesa El Paso, Tx. a few blocks from Coronado High School around 1969. I believe it was Burger Chef. Can anybody verify that there was a Burger Chef there. I used to love those burgers, especially their sauce.
Joe - June 06, 2012 - Report this comment
Growing up in Northwest Indiana, We used to go to the Merrillville Burger Chef store on 61st. Ave & Broadway Rd. until it closed in 1983. The store still stands however as a Burger King. It was never remodeled outside, just painted to Burger King's color scheme.
James Dean - July 02, 2012 - Report this comment
I remember going to Burger Chef in the late 60s and early 70s in Concord or Kannapolis NC. I know those were some of the best burgers. One of my favorite toys was a glow in the dark frisbee
tom - August 15, 2012 - Report this comment
i still have a burger chef glow frisbee 1972
Tom Potts - August 18, 2012 - Report this comment
First job was a Burger Chef on Western Ave. in South Bend,IN. Went on to a 30 year career with McDonald's.
Kim - August 20, 2012 - Report this comment
I live in Illinois, but I grew up eating at Burger King in Terre Haute, Indiana on Third St. They distributed the posters and merchandise for the Star Wars Movies. Visit Schroeders - it's like a Burger Chef museum in Danville on Illinois Rt 1. It is a working restaurant that displays Burger Chef Memorabilia and a burger works bar.
Minnie - October 31, 2012 - Report this comment
I loved going to Burger Chef we were very poor also and the food was very good we lived in the country and thought it was a big deal to go to Burger Chef
Dave Satterfield - November 09, 2012 - Report this comment
Nothing like rollin' thru the drive-thru at the local Burger Chef in Salem, OH, and ordering just about anything I had a hankering for. Their food was good, wholesome and pretty inexpensive. Yeah, I remember that place well...and they got a lot of my business as I was either heading to class or on my way home from studies at the local Kent State Univ. branch campus there in Salem. Wish they were still around - nothing today even comes close!!!
jack - April 25, 2013 - Report this comment
my buddies and i always had coupons for a free big chef we had so many over time that we got sick of them sure wish i had a couple now
Don - May 30, 2013 - Report this comment
I remember Burger Chef hamburger with grilled onions. The grilled onions added to the outstanding taste of the hamburger, regardless what one would put on it. I would pay twice the cost of a McDonald's hamburger for one of those grilled onion hamburgers!
Jedi1111 - March 08, 2014 - Report this comment
I remember the Burger Chef in Bristol CT.I was very young when it closed in the early seventies. I remember the enormous sign. I remember a kids meal too. We had burger Chef, Burger King and McDonalds all on the same street, each just a couple of blocks from each other. The building is still there. It has housed a hot dog joint for about 35 years.
Ed Cranston - April 06, 2014 - Report this comment
Growing up (mid 60's to early 70's), we seldom ate fast food. It was more of a special treat back then, not a regular staple of your diet as it is today. If we were out late, shopping and running errands and mom didn't have time to cook dinner, she'd take us all to get hamburgers on the way home. This, as I say, was a rare occurrence and it was always the same thing. There was a McDonald's and a Burger Chef next to each other and my older brother, for whatever reason (maybe because he was a jerk), thought McDondald's had the best hamburgers and fries and Burger Chef had the best shakes, so that's what we'd have to get - McDonald's burgers & fries and Burger Chef shakes. Back then, fast food was higher quality than it is today, so the burgers, no matter where, were real beef - no shipped in ready-made patties of pink slime for us! I remember it all smelling and tasting great, much, much better than it does today. You have to go to an old style diner to get similar burgers today. Try K's in Troy, OH, or The Spot in Sidney, or Kewpie Burger in Lima, OH or Crabill's in Urbana, OH, all of which are longtime burger joints who still do it like they used to. People today don't realize what gluttons they are, back then you'd usually eat just one regular hamburger, maybe two if you were an adult male, and if you got a soda, a large was 16 ounces at most. The McDonald's is still in the same location on Wilmington Pike, though they're on like their fifth building by now, but the Burger Chef is long gone, though it's still a restaurant (a La Rosa's Pizza or Frisch's Big Boy, I think). Like everyone says, Hardee's sucks. I remember their cartoon cowboy commercials when they first hit town in the early 70's. They disappeared after about ten years but then they showed up again, like a bad penny. They occasionally offer a version of the Super Shef, I think, in deference to their Burger Chef superiors, but it's been a few years since the last time. Burger King is probably as close as you can get to the old Burger Chef hamburger today (from a fast food chain), because they're also flame broiled, but Burger King burgers taste charred, like a bad cookout at your sleazy uncle's house, and are drowned in foul mustard. McDonald's is just plain nasty these days, not only do my guts ache when I eat there but my soul aches, too. Makes ya feel unclean just being there. I recently read Donald Fagen's semi-memoir Eminent Hipsters (he's one half of Steely Dan), and in it he mentions that when his father lost his job in the mid-60's his dad attended Fast Food university in Indianapolis and opened a Burger Chef franchise in Dayton, where they relocated for a while. That's what got me reminiscing about Burger Chef. Another thing that was better back then were the signs - huge, wonderful neon monstrosities that you could see from outer space. McDonald's had its arches, but I always thought the Burger Chef sign was a much better design. Seeing them both side-by-side it was like "fast food Vegas."
gordon kobayashi - June 06, 2014 - Report this comment
Does anyone remember their complete list of condiments in their Works Bar? I remember fondly being stationed at FT Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis in l974 and I liked being able to fix your burger the way you wanted it there.
D Brown - September 23, 2014 - Report this comment
I remember Burger chef they had a special sauce that they put on their big chefs hamburgers. They were located next to the youth development center in Vandalia Ohio many fond memories of hanging out there in the early 70s
B.R. - November 14, 2014 - Report this comment
When I was a kid in the early 70s the nearest town with a big name burger restaurant was Rantoul (home of now-defunct Chanute AFB). But then the "big guys" like McDonald's and Burger King were only in the Champaign-Urbana area. So Rantoul had Burger Chef (and another forgotten gem, Top Boy just about across the street). I was a fan of Burger Chef not only for their menu but also for their innovations. They invented the "chain broiler" Burger King still uses. And a synchronized "bun toaster" that ran over the top of the broiler and dropped a perfectly toasted bun off the end the same ytime the finished patty came off. They had like a "multi-condiment squirt gun" at their prep station to speed things up. The food was always top-notch. Loved Super Shefs and Big Shefs. Other ideas/innovations: they started the movie tie-in deal (remember the Star Wars tumblers in '77?). And one more I remember. In the early-to-mid '70s "Burger Chef & Jeff" started appearing in commercials talking about a sandwich for kids that came with a prize in the box, the Funburger. ("with a surprise of a prize inside" - I can still hear Paul "BC"... saying it). It morphed into the full tray offering known as the "Funmeal". Now what huge chain do we know of who stole that idea (by merely swapping the prefix "happy" for "fun") and made billions with it? Burger Chef didn't deserve the fate it had. Being nearly ran into the ground by General Mill's mismanagement. And then being bought by Hardee's, a chain that was suffering a severe identity-crisis at the time. They got rid of their "charco-broiling" and switched to frying like McDonald's (blecch!) Then they played "identity theft" with rival chains. Sold roast beef trying to be Arby's. Sold fried chicken trying to KFC. Anything but make a good hamburger. This was the world Hardee's brought Burger Chef into. Serving bland on a Hexagonal patty. Sometimes wish Hardees would have gone under and Burger Chef had survived.
cathy - December 06, 2014 - Report this comment
I remember burger chef when I lived in wintersville ohio..I loved it...that was our treat for being well behaved..I remember I got a ball on in my kids meal and went home to blow it hi up and discovered I had the mumps the hard way blowing it up...nice childhood memory getting to go there....
AngellicA - May 11, 2015 - Report this comment
Wow, how I do miss that local Burger Chef, I was about 5 years old when my older sister took me there. Now, I'm 43, where has the time gone? Anyhow, I will never forget that Hagerstown, Maryland location. Most of all, I will never forget the clear burger rapper with that little red star. Does anyone else remember that?
Bryan - May 20, 2015 - Report this comment
The Burger Chef in Lake Station, Indiana was our local store. We'd get our TopShef and SuperShef burgers with a big shake and fries! Always a treat!I think it's a Wendy's now. Moved away from the area, so not positive.
Phillip C. Ollis, DC - May 27, 2015 - Report this comment
I worked for Burger Chef for two years (1968-1970)at four different locations in El Paso, TX. Started out at $1.00/hour and was bumped up to $1.50/hour when I became night manager.
Randy Reliford Huntsville Al. - October 29, 2015 - Report this comment
I worked at a gas station just a block away in 1982 just got married my wife was 17 I was 19 didn't make a lot of money but we would eat at buger chef's every buy a burger for 50 cents each and put everything on its at the burger bar and get full without paying for a loaded burger those were the days
Jeanie - March 06, 2016 - Report this comment
We had a Burger Chef here in Morgan City,Louisiana.I remember we could all eat for such a reasonable price. I thought they made a Yumbo,but someone told me that Burger King used to make those.Does anyone know if Burger made one also??
Jeanie - March 06, 2016 - Report this comment
We had a Burger Chef here in Morgan City,Louisiana.I remember we could all eat for such a reasonable price. I thought they made a Yumbo,but someone told me that Burger King used to make those.Does anyone know if Burger Chef made one also??
Bill - May 06, 2016 - Report this comment
In 1970 my Mom, Dad, and I moved to a small town in Iowa. Dad wasn't very fond of fast-food and we rarely ate at McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, etc. That changed when he discovered Burger Chef. I remember chowing down on many Top Shef and Big Shef burgers...they were good! Then in 1975 we moved out of State to a city that didn't have a location. Bummer. Wish Hardees didn't can the Burger Chef brand and burgers.
Jack - October 21, 2016 - Report this comment
I was stationed at chanute afb in rantoul in 1968to aug 1969. My roommate jerry Lewis ( I swear)got us. Night jobs at burger chef. Loved the burgers. Loved making them too. Washed, cut and fried fresh potatoes for our French fries. Karen was manager and was just a few years older than the employees. Met wonderful people there. Cindy, carol and others.
Jason - November 27, 2016 - Report this comment
In 1960's Southern California there was a department store chain called Fantastic Fair. It competed with similar chains like Zody's, Gemco, Unimart and White Front, which were the fore-runners of today's Walmart, Sam's Club, Kmart and Costco. I was in 10th grade working part time and would take my weekly pay and go to Fantastic Fair and blow it all on AMT and Jo-Han friction model cars. If there was enough left, I'd stop at a concession stand just outside the store's exit. It was called Burger Chef. I had never eaten at a junk-food stand before, although I remember seeing places like McDonalds, Jack In The Box and others. It was also the first place I had ever gone in alone and ordered a meal by myself and, for some reason, it was a terrifying experience. But as I got into the habit of stopping to unload the last remnants of my pay at Burger Chef, I became more confident of the process. Although today I am an avid gourmet and food/restaurant critic, I can honestly say I don't remember anything about the quality of the food or service at Burger Chef. But I'll never forget it was one major step into adulthood: being able to go out and order a meal without your parents there to order for you and pay for it. I will never forget the experience of this new-found freedom!
aeebee50 - January 08, 2017 - Report this comment
Liked the burgers at the Burger Chefs in the Shreveport/Bossier Area in the late 1970's.
Barry March 12, 2017 - March 12, 2017 - Report this comment
My first job was at Burger Chef I was 15 it was 1971 in Houston Texas.
Penny Schmitt - November 26, 2017 - Report this comment
I have been searching everywhere to find out how they made the "big shef"! Those burgers were the best! I can't eat Hardee's or Burger King! If anyone knows what they did to make these burgers so good, please share! Even McDonald's Big Mac can't compare!
Rob Lambert - November 26, 2017 - Report this comment
Starting in 1981, Burger Chef had the Super Shef, which was a 1/3 lb. patty with cheese and all the junk (veggies). Also, the Top Shef, a 1/3 lb. patty, cheese, onion, pickle and bacon. While none of the available TV spots mention it, the Big Shef may have been a quarter-pounder, or like a Big Mac with salad dressing to add flavor. BC cooked its burgers over open flame, while McDonald's used a frying grill.
Tim Conway - February 11, 2018 - Report this comment
Many people say that the Big Shef was Burger Chef’s answer to the Big Mac, but the opposite is true. The Big Shef was introduced in 1965, about 4 years before the Big Mac.
Ron - July 10, 2018 - Report this comment
There was a Burger Chef on Gulfway Drive in Port Arthur, Texas near Thomas Jefferson High School. I bought my very first hamburger on Tuesday nights when they were two burgers for 20 cents. They were fantastic and I would find and trade in milk and coke bottles at Abraham’s grocery store and then beg my Dad to go watch the church softball team play so I could sneak over and get two burgers. The burgers were so good I dreamed all week until Tuesday’s arrived. A 5th grader learning how to get money to buy great tasting food. A true life lesson still serving me today.

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