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DINING: Whataburger Scottsboro…What’s the Big Deal?

The hype over this fast food restaurant’s arrival to the Tennessee Valley has been insane. “It’s just another burger place…” is what you may be thinking, but fans of the chain say it’s so much more. And if you’re familiar with their famous burgers and irresistible sauces, then you know exactly why Whataburger’s new Scottsboro, AL location is such a big deal! But it goes beyond burgers and sauces. Read on…

Whataburger opened just over two weeks ago at 23065 John T. Reid Parkway, and according to company officials, this new location brings with it more than 100 jobs to the Scottsboro community.

“We are dedicated to serving as a hub for locals and committed to fostering a stronger community by building partnerships with area schools and organizations,” said John Reno, chief executive officer of MWB Restaurants. “We are thrilled to open our doors in Scottsboro and can’t wait to welcome in friends, both new and familiar, to our newest location.”

The new restaurant is open 24/7 and is only closed one day per year — Christmas Day.

What can you expect in your Whataburger experience?

Well, I can tell you that you can enjoy a very tasty burger of the fast food variety, including singles, doubles, triples, cheeseburger and bacon cheeseburger varieties and even an avocado bacon burger on Texas toast. In their “All Time Favorites” section of the menu offerings such as the Sweet & Spicy Bacon Burger, Whataburger Patty Melt and other options await you.

Not into burgers? They also offer Whatachick’n sandwiches in both fried and grilled varieties and even a spicy option.  If you’re looking for a leafier and healthier option, they also have several varieties of salad.

Sides are always something you want with a good burger or sandwich, and they offer their classic french fries and onion rings in various sizes along with various desserts and snacks including hot apple pies, brownies, cookies, and even shakes and malts including limited time flavors that vary by season.

And yes, breakfast is available, too, with a decent menu sure to satisfy those who are up and at ’em in the breakfast hours.

So…what’s so special? You’re still asking? Well, it’s all about the sauce and the experience.

Whataburger offers the typical range of dipping sauces from honey barbecue to buttermilk ranch, jalapeno ranch, buffalo sauce and even gravy as an option. But the true fans know their signature Fancy Ketchup or Spicy Ketchup is where the magic lies. Or maybe you like picante or salsa verde?  One of the most popular sauces is their One-of-a-Kinda Creamy Pepper Sauce.

And the fans of Whataburger….?  Dedicated.  Yes, they go for the food, but also share their love of the brand by sporting official Wahtaburger apparel and merchandise available in the Whatastore. And this is  literally everything from shirts, ball caps, to artisan sauce packet jewelry and necklaces, Crocs, branded Yeti tumblers, and a plethora of items that surely showcases the craze over the much-beloved brand by its fans.

And rightfully so…according to the company’s website, “Whataburger is the hometown hamburger place that hasn’t compromised. We serve original recipes made to order, just like you like it, and pride ourselves on our service to our customers and our communities.”

This holds true based on our visit to the new location and review of the food. It is really, really, good.

Now, I’m typically not a fan of the typical fast food burger joint, so my “five stars review” comes given quite a bit of “cheesburger snobbery” in regards to fast food joints. As a lifelong cheeseburger aficionado, I usually don’t get excited unless it’s somewhere truly of legend or a burger that’s “lovingly-made” like a homemade burger, or something of the gourmet burger variety. Some of my all-time faves (other than the ones prepared on the grill or in some Lodge Cast Iron at home) have included the now-defunct Nikki’s Drive-Inn and Tubby’s in Chattanooga, my beloved Burger House (home of the sauce burger) in East Ridge,  The Varsity in Atlanta, Hard Rock Cafe’s burger at various locations,  Margaritaville Cafe’s burgers; and more locally, the Dixie Freeze in South Pittsburg, and my all-time favorite burger was from Essie’s Truck Stop in Whitwell, which has been closed for the better part of 10 years. Chattanooga’s Central Park restaurants also deserve an honorable mention–at least those of my childhood (I can’t vouch for that of their remaining locations as I haven’t visited).  These places and flavors are the barometer for all things burger for me.

And based on that wide-ranging barometer of good burgers, Whataburger has scored major points for me given the fact they’re “fast food” more so than the typical ‘Mom & Pop’ places I mentioned above or even the more ‘fine dining’ types like Hard Rock or Margaritaville. No, it’s just a burger joint, but it’s made-to-order, it’s simple, and it’s good!

Image from Whataburger website

According to their website, the San Antonio, TX based company was founded in 1950 in Corpus Christi, TX and has since grown to over 930 restaurants in 14 states, including the new location in Scottsboro — making 31 locations altogether in Alabama. Tennessee currently has 10 locations including several in the Nashville and Middle Tennessee areas including Murfreesboro, Lebanon, Hermitage, Gallatin, and Smryna, among others.  They employ 50,000+ employees across their many locations in the US.

And not only do they serve great food, but they’re good stewards of the communities they serve and their employees, through their Whataburger Feeding Student Success signature community program at the intersection of food insecurity and education, focusing on supporting students at all levels of their education to help them achieve their goals and dreams through scholarships, resources rooms for colleges and universities, and community philanthropy.

If you’re in the Scottsboro area (or traveling up to the Nashville area) — I highly suggest giving them a try. They’re more than just a simple “hamburger place” — you can definitely taste the made-to-order flavors and quality they strive to serve to each customer.  And just from their community involvement alone, you can feel good about taking-in those extra calories. It’s totally worth it!