Few people are aware that international burger chain Burger King got its start right here in Jacksonville.
Even fewer know where that first store was located, or that the building is still standing – though significantly modified from what it once was.
The chain we now know as Burger King was founded in 1953 as Insta-Burger King by Keith J. Kramer and Matthew Burns. It centered around the Insta-Broiler, a new technology they developed and believed to be the most effective way to cook a burger.
They opened their first location that year at 7146 Beach Blvd. It featured a large front awning and two metal, basket-handle-like structures atop the roof.
Insta-Burger King started expanding, yet the founders found themselves in dire straits financially. Eventually, a franchisee who’d had better success with growing the brand would purchase it from them, dropping the “Insta“ and refocusing around the chain’s new signature meal, the Whopper.
By 1959, the newly renamed Burger King re-centered itself in Miami, FL – where they have been headquartered ever since. The original Insta-Burger King location would remain open through the shift, and was rebranded as a Burger King location.
In the early 1970s, Burger King closed its flagship location. Unfortunately, this also brought about major changes to the building. The awning and metal structures were done away with, retaining only the more basic aspects of the original building.
The building was purchased and became a location for Stan’s Sandwich, a local sandwich chain that originated in San Marco.
But thanks to Stan’s Sandwich taking over the space, it continues to be occupied to this day.
The original Stan’s ownership is long gone from this location now. Its current owner has been attempting to sell the business for around a year.
Hopefully if a new owner takes over, the restaurant – or at least the building – will be able to keep living on as a reminder of the burger giant that Jax played a part in creating.