CHESAPEAKE, Virginia, August 12, 2005 -- Enthusiastic shouts of "Fatburger!" are now echoing in Virginia¹s very first Fatburger restaurant, which opened August 9, 2005, at 1445 Sams Drive in Chesapeake.
That's good news for lovers of these big, juicy, made-to-order hamburgers and local city officials, too, as the legendary burger chain founded in Los Angeles in 1952 promises to have a very positive effect on the area economy. Plans call for as many as 10 Fatburger restaurants for the Hampton Roads region, including a restaurant slated to open in Hampton in the next twelve months. It is expected that these 10 restaurants will create over 300 jobs and generate over $1 million in annual tax revenue.
"We are delighted to welcome the Fatburger brand to Chesapeake," said Warren D. Harris, head of the City of Chesapeake's Department of Economic Development. "Attracting nationally known restaurant chains like Fatburger to our community will create new jobs and increase tax revenues. We are grateful that the franchisees chose to bring the first Fatburger in Hampton Roads to our community."
Grammy Award-winning music producer, musician and performer Pharrell Williams, a Virginia Beach native, is one of the investors helping to bring Fatburger to Hampton Roads.
Fatburger has a long-standing connection with show business, which endures to this day. When the original Fatburger opened in Los Angeles in 1952, founder Lovie Yancey insisted on a 24-hour-a-day operation to accommodate the schedules of her most loyal customers, professional musicians, whose shows often ended after midnight. As a fan of popular music and the performers who created it, Lovie personally stocked her jukebox with her favorite R&B, jazz and blues recordings.
Today, Cher, Janet Jackson, Magic Johnson, David Spade and TV producer Darren Starr hold a minority stake in Fatburger North America through their investment group, Burger Business LLC.
Television talk-show host Montel Williams leads an investment team that owns the Colorado Fatburger franchise, as does Cincinnati Bengals tackle Willie Anderson in the Atlanta market, and former NY Jet and Denver Broncos defensive tackle Chester McGlockton for the San Francisco Bay Area and North Carolina and South Carolina.
William's fellow investor, Chris Zarpas, will serve as the operating partner of the enterprise, Boo Yaa Burger, LLC. Before returning to his native Virginia, Zarpas served as vice president of Walt Disney Pictures. Later, as president of Scott Free, the film and TV enterprise of producers and directors Ridley and Tony Scott, Chris produced numerous motion pictures, including GI Jane starring Demi Moore, Where The Money Is starring Paul Newman. and the Golden Globe winning HBO telefilm, RKO 281, starring Liev Schreiber and Melanie Griffith.
Rounding out the group of investors are Mark Burg and Oren Koules, producers of major feature films, including the recent hit movie Saw and the television series Two and a Half Men featuring Charlie Sheen, along with entertainment business management executive Dean Avedon. All three are based in Los Angeles.
"We hope to have a positive economic impact on each of the communities we will be serving as our restaurants open, not simply by creating jobs, but through charitable giving and other local involvement," said Zarpas.
"While Fatburger is a legendary, national brand, we want our stores to feel like neighborhood restaurants," he said. "We can do that by getting to know our regular customers by name and helping to support their local causes, be they little league teams or the public schools."
The new 2,600-square-foot Fatburger restaurant employs approximately 30 people. Hours of operation are from 10:30 am until 10:30 pm, Sunday through Thursday, and 10:30 am until 12:00 am on Fridays and Saturdays. To reach the restaurant, call 757.312.8230.
The restaurant features a retro '50s-style décor, with neon lighting, counter seating, and an open kitchen, and will accommodate up to 78 guests inside and 25 on an outdoor patio. A new breed of Web-enabled digital jukebox, capable of playing more than 200,000 songs, helps keep guests entertained.
To ensure complete customer satisfaction, each huge, great-tasting, homemade-style Fatburger, Turkeyburger and Chicken Sandwich is grilled or charbroiled immediately after it is ordered. Customers may garnish their burger or other sandwich with a wide selection of toppings, including cheese, bacon, eggs, and chili.
In addition to the trademark 1/3 lb. Fatburger, made with fresh lean USDA domestic beef, guests may also select from a menu that features chili dogs, homemade onion rings, and "fat" or "skinny" fries. Milkshakes made with real hand-scooped ice cream top the list of beverages that includes an assortment of soft drinks and signature fresh lemonade.
"We are pleased to introduce Fatburger to the Chesapeake community and hope local burger fans will like The Last Great Hamburger Stand," said Elaine Patel, director of marketing for Fatburger Corporation. "We wish our Virginia franchisees well."
About Fatburger Restaurants
Founded by Lovie Yancey in Los Angeles, California in 1952, the Fatburger Restaurant chain has more 70 restaurants serving big, fresh, lean beef burgers cooked to order on open grills in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Canada. Based in Santa Monica, California, the company is actively seeking new franchisees for available territories across the nation. For more information, or to find a Fatburger restaurant near you, go to www.fatburger.com.