The Importance of Whataburger to Texans: What’s the Big Deal?

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Tony Maples Photography


Over the past two weeks, it appears that the news that Whataburger sold a majority share to a company from outside of the state has shaken some people to their core. The concept that something often viewed as being so purely Texan could be directed by a non-Texas entity is…well, foreign. To others, the reaction to the sale may have seemed a bit overboard. “What’s the big deal?” they might say. Being underwhelmed isn’t in the nature of the Whatafan, because tradition is the hallmark of their character.

The Importance of Whataburger to Texans: What’s the Big Deal?

Photo: Instagram/misael_vlzq

“What’s so special about a burger place?” One of our readers was asked this question after news of the Whatapocalypse broke. John ‘Jack’ Cruz formed the best response anyone could have given as a true fan of the beloved Texas franchise. “Whataburger wasn’t just a fast food chain to us. It was a place to which we felt connected because it was founded by one of us, close to home. We could find the orange and white beacon busting through the darkness, just about anywhere we found ourselves in the state.”

Anything that speaks of the traditions we share with our friends and family, we hold dear in our hearts. Perish the thought that a drastic change will occur as a result of someone unfamiliar to such traditions having a stake in their direction. That’s not to say this will indeed take place, but fear is a strong motivator. It motivated thousands to take to their social media accounts with the expression of their concern over the Whataburger sale, including the likes of J.J. Watt – a Texas institution of sorts, himself.

The Importance of Whataburger to Texans: What’s the Big Deal?
Photo: Facebook/Whataburger

“Ok, I say we all chip in and buy Whataburger back. Make honey butter chicken biscuits available all day, add kolaches to the menu and change nothing else. Especially not the ketchup,” Watt tweeted. What some are missing in his message is what Cruz was able to coin in a few sentences. “Whataburger is where our dads took us after a long day of fishing,” Cruze said. “It’s where we made a 3 a.m. stop with our pawpaw, on our way to the lease, for a taquito and a hot cup of coffee, for both that first and last hunting trip with him. Whataburger is where our little league coaches and Scoutmasters and FFA sponsors would take us to celebrate victories or to drown our sorrows in thick chocolate shakes or coke floats. We’d all meet, hundreds of us, under the giant, orange ‘W’. Every Friday and Saturday night, after the parties had shut down, the kegs were floating or the bars had closed, we could be found leaning on our cars, in the Whataburger parking lot.”

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