Chains That Were Once Chains, Chains No More

Biff BurgerST. PETERSBURG – Across the U.S., you can sometimes find a one-off restaurant that was once a larger chain. Call them the broken chain retailers.

When a retail or restaurant chain falls apart, the company infrastructure that at one time enforced the rules and helped promote the chain goes away. Very often, there are leftover franchisees that still keep the original concept going. We can think of a number of chains where this has occurred including:

  • What-a-Burger
  • Golden Skillet (a few locations still left)
  • Biff-Burger
  • Spud Nuts of Charlottesville, Va.
  • Tinee Giant (a convenience store in Norfolk, Va.)

In St. Petersburg, Florida is the Biff Burger Drive In. Biff Burger was once a quite substantial burger chain, but it fell apart. A great history is at the Biff Burger site. The photo above is from blogger Iconic Rambler.

The site has a great history. And it tells of the last two Biff Burger locations.

Today, only two known locations of the former Biff-Burger chain still exist. The location at 1040 West Lee Street in Greensboro, North Carolina continues on, as Beef Burger, re-named during the 1980’s but is still referred to as Biff-Burger by the local community. The other is located at 3939 49th Street N. in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The St. Petersburg location is the ONLY Biff-Burger location still left in existence which uses the Biff-Burger name and is of the original “Port-A-Unit” building construction with upswept canopy roofs. This location also has many elements of the “classic” Biff-Burger architecture and features with an existing original road sign (just slightly modified) with a lighted “star” ball!

Eat: Visit them at Biff-Burger, 3939 49th Street N. near 38th Ave., St. Petersburg, FL  33709-5731, (727) 527-5297 or www.biffburgers.com

More: Interested in finding more of these places? Join the Facebook page of the Society for Commercial Archaeology.

3 Comments

  1. This made me think of my beloved Bob’s Big Boy, where my family would often eat for those oh-so-special family occasions. I thought for sure it had gone the way of last week’s spoiled milk, but lo and behold:

    http://www.bigboy.com

    Mysteriously, the “locations” link doesn’t seem to work. However, based on the employment opportunities, Big Boy has some Michigan locations.

    You can also look into a franchise. Are you in?

  2. I believe there are still some What-a-Burgers in Tallahassee. THere’s been on on Thomasville Rd. for longer than the thirty years I was in the Tallahassee area.

  3. Because a restaurant has a unique concept, it doesn’t mean it’ll work as a franchise.

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