Burger Chef Memories

Madison IN, this store was built to showcase the equipment but also served as a restaurant.  It was only kept open about 2 years before being sold off, it and the other first three did not fit the franchise look.

This was located at 115 Front Drive, it faced the Ohio River, but the road was renamed Vaughn Drive in 1959.

The Beginings 1957


Original Logo - 1957

This was replicated into signs of the original concept stores.

In 1958 a new logo was used on everything from cups to french fry bags.  Even as logos were changed and the "Chef" was made younger in 1962, this logo was still included on the front of all Shake Machines (1965) and coffee machines through the 70's.

When Grate Signs created the large street signs, they used a very simular "Chef" to this original Chef. Seen below left ,1st sign chef, right one used throughtout 60's until moved to the center of sign and made younger. The original sign was redone for some reason the shoulders and arms were more visible on the first version, second version was the finished sign used throughout the 1960's until 1969 when the yellow sign debuted.




     This store did not have a sign like this, only the new franchise stores did.


below, The Original concept stores had some what of a consistant look, notice the signs attached to the buildings.


The signs read "Broiled Burgers" and "Thick Shakes" 19 cents, since hamburgers were 15 cents in 1958,  I am guessing that 19 cents bought both in 1957.

The above pictures are: top, the Original Store at 6170 N. Keystone Ave, Indianapolis IN.   Top Right is the third store at 115 Front (Vaughn) St, Madison IN.

The 1st store opened (Indy) May 1957, the 2nd store opened (in Kokomo IN) Jun/Jul 1957 and the 3rd opened ( Madison IN) Aug 1957. 



  To left is a 1959 ad in the Madison High School Yearbook.


 I believe the restaurant was already closed by 1959 as the franchising of Burger Chef was well underway.


 Interesting, the dinning room was enclosed, yet early Burger Chef's had no dinning rooms?










In 1959 The Burger Chef was closed and "Indi-Ken Drive In" opened with Dorothy Cox as Manager.




 1960 Madison Yearbook picture ad


  Still list the Front Street (now Vaughn Drive)


 This looks to be the enclosed dinningroom.


 I guess the name implies the two states that it is near.













This location changed names frequently.

1957 to 1959      The Burger Chef

1959 to 1962      Indi-Ken Drive In - Dororthy Cox, Mgr

1962 to 1966      Cox Drive In - I believe Ms. Cox was still Mgr.

1966 to 1968      Cooks Drive In - Arthur Cook, Mgr

1968 to 1970      A Ring Brings A Pizza (Ken's ?) - Kenneth McMahan, Mgr.

1970 to 1973      Ken's Fish Chicken & Pizza - Kenneth McMahan, Mgr.

1973                   Curley's Restaurant

1974 to 1976      Pizza Palace

1976 to  1982      River Pizza Parlor - Juanita Bellamy, Mgr.

1982 to 1987      Riverport Inn - Hazel Bentz, Mgr. 1982 then Melvin Perkins 83 to 87.

1987                   Riverboat Inn - Susan and Buddy Arthur, Mgrs.

1988                   Faye's Riverside Inn - Faye Davis, Mgr.

1989                   Riverside Inn - John Stewart, Mgr.

1990 to 1991     Riverfront Cafe' - Norma J Hunt, Mgr.

1991 to 2002     no listing or listed as Vacant

2002 to 2009     Tugboats Drive In - Sandy Wagner, Mgr

2009 to 2010     Open as restaurant unkn name

2010 to present   Mumbles BBQ - unkn Mgr.

     Any updates or corrections are welcomed.




      Left from yearbook 1971, Below is yearbook 1972


















                                                                                                         Above is Original building on Vaughn Drive in 1971 and 1972.





  Sept 12, 2009, Madison Building still in operation as a

   restaurant.  The walk up ording windows are still visible, but not used.

   115 Vaughn Drive, Madison IN










 Front view

 A lot is still original - built 1957.














   Writen in the concrete below the sign was Aug, 8, 1957.

    Guess this was when the building was built?










Below is the view from the street, accross the street is the Ohio River, and boat ramps.



It is great that this building has survived, this was the beginings of what would become Burger Chef Restaurants! 


Below June 20, 2011 update, now is Mumbles BBQ.












1966 or 1967 Burger Chef opened a traditional franchise store at 327 Clifty Drive, Madison IN

Managers listed in the city directory were:

1967               James E. Cook, Mgr.

1968               Geoffrey B. Stenfield, Mgr.

1969 to 1971  Jack L. Winkler, Mgr.

1972               Dennis Motsinger, Mgr.

1973               Larry R. Day, Mgr.

1974               Jack D. Smith, Mgr.

1975 to 1977  No Listings

1978               Jack Long, Mgr.

1979               Larry Burns, Mgr.

1980               George Green, Mgr.

1981               Dave Rorak, Mgr.

1982     Possible closed due to Hardee's Take Over

1986 - Opened as Sombrero's - Michael and Karin Fry Owners

1987 to 1989 Closed or Vacant

1989   - Opened as Ponderosa Steak House  -  Still operating as same 2011


Yearbook pictures:

Below, 1967

                    Below, 1969    























  Left 1970 picture.


























Below 1971, dont know why it list Hwy 107, address was 327 Clifty Drive.

































Below - 1972




























Below - 1973 picture in Madison HS Yearbook.




Following photo's from the book "Lost Indianapolis" 2002, written by John P. McDonald. 


















These photos are NOT in the book from Scott Sanders -


  Only known photo of the 1st Burger Chef - 1958

  1300 W. 16th Street, Indianapolis

  The bc head quarters was built next door at 1348.

  Both have been torn down.


   Spring 1958


Unknown to what extent the store was remodeled over the years or when/if it was closed prior to the sell to Hardees' ?


























Above is a photo from Dale Hopewell, I believe it is the first BC at 1300 W. 16th St., Indianapolis IN. Spring 1958.

Look and compare the concept drawing, and the book photo of the first store.  By the end of the year, so many minor

changes were already made and continued through out the first 200 stores.





 Also from the book "Lost Indianapolis"

 One of the first eight bc's this one is in

 LaFayette, Indiana on Bypass road 52.

 Notice the consistant look achieved by the end of the year 1958.


About 1962 (about 200 stores later) the lighted panels were added to the roof line and top sign and the colors were reversed on the center oval on top of building, 1963 the permament enclosures were added to the front for confort from the elements, and the lighted panels were added down the sides of the buildings.