Whataburger hasn’t yet started construction on its first Colorado Springs restaurant, but it’s already cooking up two more locations.
After BurgerWorks, a franchisee for the Texas-based-chain, submitted a proposal to city government planners to build a Whataburger northeast of InterQuest Parkway and Federal Drive on the city’s far north side, Whataburger confirmed in late March that the chain was expanding to Colorado Springs.
A BurgerWorks representative later said the franchisee expected to open multiple restaurants locally, but offered no details.
According to a proposal recently submitted to the city, however, BurgerWorks now also plans a Whataburger restaurant on a 1.5-acre vacant parcel at 6154 Vickie Lane, east of Powers and Dublin boulevards on the Springs’ northeast side.
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That proposal shows the development schedule would be “fall 2021,” an apparent sign that construction would begin at that time. Both north-side Whataburgers would be 3,751 square feet, with indoor seating and drive-thru lanes.
In addition, BurgerWorks in March purchased a nearly 14,000-square-foot building at 5905 Constitution Ave., east of Powers and Constitution. The building most recently housed a Big 5 Sporting Goods store and was constructed in 1999 as the home of a Rite-Aid pharmacy, El Paso County land records show.
BurgerWorks said last month it planned to house a training center for Whataburger employees at the Constitution Avenue building. Since then, BurgerWorks has submitted a new proposal to city planners that shows it will remodel the building for multiple uses — 4,870 square feet for a restaurant, 4,227 square feet for offices and 3,073 square feet for retail.
The building also would have a 1,630-square-foot patio and would accommodate a drive-thru for the restaurant, the proposal shows.
A city planner’s description of the project says the building’s restaurant would be a Whataburger, which would make it the third in the Springs.
BurgerWorks officials, based in Lufkin, Texas, declined to comment on their latest plans for bringing the Whataburger brand to Colorado Springs other than to acknowledge the Powers-and-Dublin location would open in 2022.
Construction on the InterQuest location is supposed to begin this summer, with an opening in the fall; the InterQuest Whataburger would be just west of the city’s first In-N-Out Burger, which opened in November at the Victory Ridge development at InterQuest and Voyager parkways.
The proposed restaurant along Constitution, meanwhile, is directly across from In-N-Out’s second Springs restaurant, which is under construction and scheduled to open in the fall.
Whataburger, founded in 1950 as a small roadside stand in Corpus Christi, Texas, has grown to more than 840 locations; nearly 700 restaurants operate in Texas and the rest are in Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
Like California-based In-N-Out, Whataburger has a fiercely loyal following for its fresh, made-to-order hamburgers. The chain’s name originated after its first customers exclaimed “what a burger!” in response to tasting the hamburger, according to Whataburger’s website.