Texas-based burger chain Whataburger broke ground on the first of two locations in Southaven and expects to start hiring local help in January, 2022.

Company officials joined with Mayor Darren Musselwhite and ambassadors from the Chamber of Commerce for a groundbreaking ceremony at the location at 6885 Getwell Road.

Senior Area Manager Jay Cox said the company is excited to be bringing Whatburger to Southaven and the Greater Memphis area.

“It is my honor to be here with all of you and our Whataburger family to have this groundbreaking and celebrate our first ever restaurant in Memphis,” Cox said. “I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the warm welcome we have gotten here in Memphis and throughout the state of Tennessee.”

Whataburger announced in May that they would be opening a restaurant on the north side of Goodman Road and Malco Blvd. in the former TGI Fridays in Southaven, then came back one month later with news that they would be building a second one on Getwell Road by Chick-fil-A.

Cox said Whataburger prides itself on its big flavor and extensive menu. The chain was started by Harmon Dobson 71 years ago as a simple burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas, with the goal of making a burger so delicious that after every bite customers would say “what a burger.” Whataburger has now grown to 850 locations in 10 states with locations in four more states on the way.

“We want you to know that this restaurant is going to be your Whataburger,” Cox said. “Anywhere we go, we are a gathering place. We want you to be able to feel comfortable coming in to our establishment.”

Marketing director Monica Maldonado said Whataburger plans to be very active in the local community investing and partnering with the schools and other organizations.

“What really makes Whataburger Whataburger, is the work we do within our community,” Maldonado said. “Whether we are supporting local high schools, sports sponsorships, or our charitable partnerships, Whataburger invests in the communities that we are in. We are excited to be a part of this community and to thrive with you and to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our community partners.”

Debbie King, executive director of Southaven Chamber of Commerce, pointed out the large number of Chamber ambassadors who showed up to welcome Whatburger to the city.

“We are thrilled that you are here,” King said. “You have a lot of people here to support you, and the biggest would be our local mayor.

Musselwhite was given the honor of being the first person in Southaven to officially take a bite out of a burger at the city’s first Whataburger.

Musselwhite said Whataburger has a huge following in Southaven and topped resident’s wish list of chains they wanted to see come to the city.

“My favorite statement that many of our residents have said to me over the last three years is ‘hey, you have done some good things. But if you could just bring a Whataburger here, you will go down in the Mayor’s Hall of Fame,’” Musselwhite said.

Musselwhite said his post on social media announcing that Whataburger was coming to Southaven had over 442,000 likes.

“A mayor the size of a city like Southaven, if you get 25,000 people reading that, it was a god post,” Musselwhite said. “We’ve been blessed in Southaven. We’ve had a lot of big developments come here. But I don’t think there has ever been as much excitement as Whataburger.”

Musselwhite thanked Whataburger for their investment in Southaven. 

“We welcome you here. We’re proud to have you. We wish you the best,” Musselwhite said. “It’s going to be big for us.”

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