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Friday, August 20, 2021

[EXCLUSIVE] This Is Where Whataburger Will Open Their First Metro Atlanta Location

In February we reported on Whataburger's planned Atlanta area debut and we were blown away by the excitement!  The wait is almost over!  ToNeTo Atlanta is pleased to confirm that the first Atlanta area Whataburger is destined for Kennesaw.  Planning documents indicate (and a source close to chain confirms) that Whataburger will open a new restaurant at 705 Townpark Lane, just off Chastain Road, on the site of a former O'Charley's restaurant.  

O'Charley's Kennesaw closed "temporarily" last year, but never reopened, and has been removed from the company's website.  The property, near Kennesaw State University, is surrounded by quick-serve restaurants including Cook Out, Zaxby's, Dunkin', Del Taco and Chick-fil-A, among others.  

Whataburger plans to demolish the 6,809 square foot O'Charley's and construct a new 4,600 square foot restaurant on the 1.71 acre property, according to documents reviewed by ToNeTo Atlanta.   The Kennesaw site is at least the second former O'Charley's that the fast food chain has taken over since the July 5 opening of the new Whataburger in Opelika, Alabama (2501 Gateway Drive).

O'Charley's has closed dozens of locations in recent years including several in the greater metro Atlanta area.  A former location in Lawrenceville recently reopened as Hook & Reel with another in Snellville expected to do the same, while former locations in Tucker, Woodstock and Macon, among others, remain available.  

It's unclear if Whataburger is targeting any other former (or current) O'Charley's restaurants in metro Atlanta.  A source familiar with the San Antonio, Texas-based restaurant chain's plans tells ToNeTo Atlanta that the company is actively considering specific locations in Athens, Bethlehem/Winder, Buford, Loganville, and Snellville, among others, with more than two dozen under consideration in the state.  

In January, Whataburger opened a new location in Leeds, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham (and also recently home to fellow Texas-based business Buc'ees) where they converted a former Hardee's.  The company earlier this year also received approval from the Hoover City Council to move forward with plans to open a new restaurant on the site of a former freestanding Pier 1 near Riverchase Galleria mall.  (ToNeTo Atlanta reported July 25 that Chick-fil-A is seeking to relocate an existing restaurant to the site of a shuttered Pier 1 on North Druid Hills near North DeKalb Mall.)

Earlier this year, Whataburger also confirmed plans to return to the Nashville market after retreating from the Music City in the 1970s, and also enter Memphis.  The Nashville area is slated to get an initial nine locations, the first of which is expected to open this fall, with Memphis expected to get an initial five locations.  Among the fourteen planned units are vacant O'Charley's, TGI Friday's and Logan's Roadhouse units which are slated to be razed and rebuilt as freestanding Whataburger restaurants.  

Real estate sources tell ToNeTo Atlanta that Whataburger has proven willing to pay top dollar for prime locations.  That said, there simply aren't any intown or many metro Atlanta second generation drive-thru enabled locations up for grabs.  This reality could be why the chain is focusing on suburban locations for now.  (If Whataburger was willing to pay literally A FORTUNE, surely they could secure the former Shoney's on Piedmont Road that has sat idle and deteriorating for more than twenty years.)

Among the notable suburban second gen drive-thru locations on the market are a former Burger King in Cumming and former Del Taco restaurants in Milton and Roswell.  

At present, Whataburger operates just a single location in Georgia, in Thomasville, about an hour north of Tallahassee and about four hours south of Atlanta.

The new Whataburger in Opelika 

The Kennesaw location is currently making its way though the planning and permitting process and if all goes well, should open in 2022.  It will likely be the first of several units the company opens in Georgia in 2022 and beyond, with sources close to the company indicating the chain may be waiting on formally announcing it until they have a "critical mass" with several units confirmed and in the immediate pipeline.  

Are you excited for the planned opening of Whataburger in Kennesaw?  If you have been to a Whataburger, what is your favorite menu item?  Where else would you like to see Whataburger open in metro Atlanta?

Please share your thoughts below. 

43 comments:

  1. I will be one happyTexas transplant with it so close

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  2. What about the former BK sites in Dunwoody/Peachtree Corners? I'd rather have a Popeye's but Whataburger or Cook Out would be fine, too!

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  3. Looking forward to them opening,here!!!

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  4. OMG - this has been a horrible week - but news that Whataburger is coming to ATL has made everything well again!! YAY.

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  5. Many of late nights at Whataburger after the bars when I was working for multiple weeks straight in Houston. Can’t wait for them to open up in Atlanta.

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  6. I'M SO EXCITED FOR THIS!! I always got the double burger with fries 😁😁😁

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  7. Will SOMEONE please build a Bonchon in the East Cobb area! Please! Delicious! Maybe in the old Jason deli location.

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  8. this is simply the greatest news ever!

    I am a native Texan, now living in Georgia. You can bet once there is a Whataburger to go to, I will. It is the best chain I know of, though unfortunately I have lived much of my life in places where Whataburger isn't available.

    But I started eating at Whataburger in my university days, about 60 years ago. Simply yum!

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  9. Texas born and Texas raised. Been in Dallas, GA for 7 yrs now. Went to Whataburger & Bucees in Leeds, AL a month ago and it was well worth the drive. Very excited about the Kennesaw location for Whataburger. Could use one out here in Dallas, GA.

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  10. Yaaaaasssss been waiting for this day for 4yrs since we moved here from FL

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  11. Welcome Whataburger! We have an OCharlies in Tucker just begining to be resurrected. Take a look at the article about the closed TacoMac to see why they will never go into the former Shoneys on Piedmont. Seems the apartments across the street are reminiscent of the wild west.

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    1. +1 this ^^^. Not a great place for a 24/7 restaurant in an area where other businesses are closing due to the crime rates.

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  12. HELL YES I'm over the moon!!!

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  13. Love it can't wait for the kennesaw location to open! Hopefully a Dallas Georgia location also!!!

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  14. (ahem). KENNESAW IS NOT METRO ATLTANTA, IT'S KENNESAW!!!!����

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    1. Metro Atlanta is six counties Cobb being one of them. Kennesaw is in cobb. It seems you have the "city of" and "metro area" confused. But who cares there still a whatburger coming to the area

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  15. Super pumped….love my double Whataburger with one slice of cheese, small fries and a medium Coke. Please bring it to Alpharetta!!!

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  16. Greetings 🙋🏾‍♀️
    I’m from TX & Whataburger is my fave go-to for fastfood. It’s open 24/7 & their food is cook to order. My fave is the #7, I get the wheat bun, bacon & cheese & get grilled onions...with a Dr Pepper. Normally I’m only able to get whataburger when I visit home so when I heard they were coming to Atlanta I was elated. Now reading this article I’m deflated. Kennesaw is not Metro Atlanta it’s Kennesaw, GA...period. Those of us that live in the true Metro Atlanta would have an hour easy (with traffic) on the road to a Kennesaw. And looking at the other North GA spots they are looking, it won’t be in metro Atlanta anytime soon. I’m a fan so I’ll go one time...just to see if the food greatness is there. *sigh*

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  17. As a Texan I am so excited to see we are going to have a Whataburger here in Kennesaw!

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  18. Old del taco in roswell ga would be an ultimate location. The building is practically new!

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  19. Best place ever! Discovered them about 12 years ago in TX.and have eaten there ever chance I get. Its the best news I gotten in a long time. Now I just hope that Chamblee, GA will be there next location

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  20. My favorite hamburger place. I am so excited!!!

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  21. My favorite hamburger place. I am so excited!!!

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  22. I can taste the jalapeño cheeseburgers!! Bring it on, this Whataburger will be less than two miles from my house!!

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  23. I can taste the jalapeño cheeseburgers! This Whataburger will be less than two miles from my house! Bring it on🍔🍔

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  24. When I go to Texas, that is one of the places we always go! Best Shakes ever. We had one when I lived in Tallahassee and we always had our Classic Cars on display on the last Saturday of the month.

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  25. This transplanted New Mexican is thrilled a whataburger is coming to the Atlanta area. Now if they would build one south of Atlanta. I will be visiting Kennesaw when it opens though!! Can I get some Hatch Green Chile on that ;)

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  26. Houston Tx transplants - My husband tells every person he can with a Texas license plates where the nearest Whataburger is - in Birmingham! Thrilled beyond words for one to open here! Finally, Atlanta “Metro” is perfect!

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  27. Blah. Burgers are just blah. So many other low end burger places here, don’t need a whataburger. Krystal, varsity and steak and shake move over. We can add Culvers and Freddie’s and Cookout to that. Gross. Don’t need yet another low end burger joint.

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  28. looking forward to it! need one in marietta!

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  29. Hallelujah. Born and raised in Texas. Whenever we visit, we always feast on numerous WHAT-A-BURGERS.... am so excited that we can get to a location in metro Atlanta.

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  30. Best news ever! Been waiting for a Whataburger to come to ATL for years! One happy Texan! I'll even drive from Alpharetta to go!

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  31. Best news ever! Been waiting for a Whataburger to come to ATL for years! One happy Texan! I'll even drive from Alpharetta to go!

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  32. Good. Hopefully Alpharetta is next on the list.

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  33. To the person requesting Bonchon, the best Korean fried chicken is BBQ Olive in Doraville, Duluth, or Suwanee. My go to is Golden Original chicken, Cheese Chicken, and Rose Tteokbooki. As for Whataburger, I had it in Texas and it was ok, I prefer Culver's though.

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  34. Very confused at the comments saying Kennesaw isn't "Metro Atlanta" -- it is well within the metropolitan Atlanta area. In fact, Downtown Kennesaw is just 28 minutes from where I sit in Midtown Atlanta right this moment...

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  35. Bummer, I was hoping for a Trader Joes or a Whole Foods.

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  36. We've waited long enough. Welcome to Kennesaw! We love Whataburger!

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  37. Wow, lot of excitement for just another burger joint. How about a Chick-fil-a instead?

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  38. Bring back Burger Chef! We need that, not Waterburger.

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  39. I never, and still don't, understand the allure of Whataburger. Even after drunken college football games, I didn't think it was any good.

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