“The burgers were better at Burger King,” writes Bob Byrne of Adelaide’s initiation into the US fast food fad.
Adelaide’s first taste of American-style fast food happened in 1962, when Don Dervan – originally from Washington D.C. – opened his first Burger King, on the corner of Anzac Highway and Leader Street at Keswick.
Don was living in London in 1959 and met and fell in love with an Adelaide girl, Jean McEntee, who was on a finishing tour after completing school at Woodlands.
They came back to Australia in the early 1960s to settle down and raise a family, but when Don noticed there were no American-style fast food restaurants in Adelaide, he decided to start his own.
He chose to name his “drive-in’’ restaurant Burger King, which was also the name of a small but growing hamburger chain in the United States.
At the time there were no legal obstacles to using the name. In those early years, Burger King brought the American dream to Adelaide with a “car hop’’ service.
On pulling into a parking bay, a waitresses would rollerskate to your car, take your order and return later with a tray which was then attached to, and rested on the driver’s side window.
I vividly recall my first visit to Burger King as an impressionable young teenager; I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!
Back then we craved all things American.
Most of our popular music came from the United States, as did our films with movie stars such as James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Frankie Avalon.
Here at last was something so American and Adelaide’s teenagers were immediately hooked.
Burger King was selling more than a million burgers a year in South Australia, with outlets also opening at South Road, Darlington; Jetty Road, Glenelg; a beach kiosk at the end of Anzac Highway and an in-store Burger King at John Martin’s in the City and Elizabeth.
Many Boomer readers will remember those years: carefree happy days when a good weekend included a burger and milkshake at Burger King on a late Saturday afternoon or night while making plans for a big weekend.
Read on further via When Burgers Were King | Adelaide Remember When