One will be at Skyland Boulevard, the other off McFarland Boulevard
As appeared in The Tuscaloosa News I Saturday, February 3, 2018
By Jason Morton
With weeks to go before Tuscaloosa’s first Whataburger opens on Skyland Boulevard, the company is announcing that a second location of the Texas-based restaurant is coming to the Druid City.
“Coming Soon” reads the sign erected at 1301 McFarland Blvd. E., just in front of the Lofts at City Center student housing development and directly across from Shoppes at Legacy Park retail center.
Its completion will mark a return of hamburgers to the corner of 13th Street and McFarland Boulevard, which is where Milo’s Original Burger Shop operated before the tornado of April 27, 2011.
The original Milo’s building was destroyed, along with what once was the Wood Square Shopping Center, in the storm, but Milo’s has since reopened just off Sky land Boulevard. Coincidentally, the new Milo’s is almost directly across from Whataburger’s first Tuscaloosa location on Skyland Boulevard near Alabama Highway 69 South, which is nearing completion and slated to open this spring.
Company officials said the city’s second Whataburger location, placed to cater to the University of Alabama crowd, is expected to be open this summer.
“Whataburger is excited to bring more flavor to Crimson Tide fans with the opening of our second restaurant open 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said John Attra, Whataburger director of operations, in a news release announcing the new site. “We’re a proud sponsor of Alabama athletics and look forward to serving familiar faces, along with new friends and neighbors for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
The new Whataburger is going on property owned and operated by Birmingham-based Capital Growth Buchalter Inc., the company behind the Lofts at City Center, which broke ground in 2012, and the Shops at City Center that brought the Aldi grocery store and Texas Roadhouse restaurant to the Tuscaloosa market in 2015.
Tuscaloosa native Robert W. Buchalter, the president and chief real estate officer of Capital Growth Buchalter, said the company had been working for years to bring Whataburger to this location.
“At Capital Growth Buchalter, we have been working closely with Whataburger corporate for almost three years to locate at our City Center Development,” Buchalter told The Tuscaloosa News. “I am extremely happy that this has come to fruition.”
“I visited my first Whataburger in Texas some 25 years ago. I am quite pleased that Whataburger will be a tremendous addition to the dining options in Tuscaloosa.”
Whataburger plans to hire up to 100 employees for the second Tuscaloosa location and is looking for managers. The company has a number of opportunities to gain leadership and career development training at Whataburger University in San Antonio, Texas.
Interested candidates can find more information about the open positions and benefits on the company’s website, whataburger.com/careers.
Tuscaloosa’s first Whataburger was announced in October 2016 as a new tenant for land managed by developer Stan Pate in front of the Cobb Hollywood 16 Cinemas near the intersection of Skyland Boulevard and Alabama 69.
But it took until October 2017 for construction to get underway.
A job fair for the Skyland Boulevard location recently was held at the Embassy Suites hotel in downtown Tuscaloosa to find some of the up to 100 or so workers to be hired here.
The first Whataburger opened in Alabama in 1973 when a Whataburger team member from the company’s headquarters of Corpus Christi, Texas, relocated to bring the restaurant to Mobile.
Four decades later, the company operates in several cities across the state, from Foley to Birmingham.
Whataburger also supports local nonprofit organizations, chambers, high school athletic programs and Christmas parades throughout the state.
Whataburger serves fresh, made-to-order burgers in more than 810 locations. Its menu features burgers made with 100 percent pure beef and fresh-cut vegetables, along with chicken strips, French fries and milkshakes.
The Tuscaloosa restaurants will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with breakfast menu items served from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m.
Reach Jason Morton at jason.morton@ tuscaloosanews.com or 20,-722-0200.