Do You Know Which Fast Food Spot is Banned in an Illinois City?
One of my favorite things on the internet is the subReddit, TIL, which is the acronym for Today I Learned. Often, I fall into the TIL rabbit hole within a few minutes, and the next thing I know two hours have gone by. Sometimes, like this right here, information hits me and makes me want to share. Here is a little factoid related to Illinois. One of American's most famous fast-food restaurants is not allowed to build in Mattoon, Illinois because there's already a restaurant there with the exact same name. If you're thinking it is McDonald's you are incorrect.
The story starts in 1952 when a man bought a Mattoon ice cream stand from his uncle and expanded the menu two years later. He also had changed the name of the ice cream stand from Frigid Queen to Burger King. So, in short, you know the answer to the question, "Do you know what fast food spot is banned in an Illinois city?". But, there more to the story, according to the original Burger King.
When this young business owner, Gene Hoots, purchased the ice cream stand and flipped it into a burger joint he registered "Burger King" as a trademark in Illinois. And, unlike the original McDonald's in San Bernardino, CA, this would save his restaurant from being wiped out. (Watch the movie The Founder if you haven't already.) So how did it get to be that the nationwide Burger King isn't allowed to operate in Mattoon? Surely there would be some loophole BK's attorneys could find to pounce on the Mattoon restaurant, right?
The story goes, another "Burger King" popped up in Florida and quickly became the Burger King most of us know. This lead to Hoots suing the big "BK" to block them from operating in Illinois. Obviously, this was a bust of sorts but international chain Burger King is not allowed to build within a 20-mile radius of 1500 Charleston Avenue in Mattoon, IL.
You can read more about the original Burger King here, and yes, it is still open.