Texas sheriff resigns after New Year’s Day Whataburger fight


A New Year’s Day fistfight at a Midlothian Whataburger involving Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown, two college-aged men and Brown’s brother Bobby resulted in Sheriff Brown’s resignation Wednesday morning.

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He pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor assault shortly thereafter.

More: Hot fries and misdemeanors: Police warn against swiping Whataburger table tents

According to reports from FOX 4 DFW and the Midlothian Mirror, two 21-year-olds from Killeen, Matthew Longoria and  Caleb Tomgenovich, told police that Bobby Brown started the Jan. 1 fight after an altercation in the Whataburger parking lot. Video of the incident exists, but has not been released, according to FOX 4.

Brown, who served two terms as sheriff and was recently re-elected, admitted to assaulting Longoria early that morning.

A statement from Brown’s lawyer about the fight reads:

“Sheriff Brown walked into Whataburger in Midlothian where a fight was already in progress. His initial observation was a large white male assaulting Sheriff Brown’s 59-year-old brother and knocking him to the floor. As a sworn law enforcement officer, he is obligated to preserve the peace. He used the force and language necessary to end the violence, prevent further assaults, and protect others from being harmed.”

More: North Texas pastor soulfully serenades a Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit from Whataburger

However, Brown was not wearing his badge (having just come from a Republican Women fundraiser) and acted as a civilian. At one point, according to FOX 4, Longoria said that when witnesses threatened to call the cops, Brown yelled, “We ARE the cops!”

On Wednesday morning, a post on Brown’s Facebook page read, “Good morning y’all. I need extra prayers today please. Y’all get your coffee and read Isaiah 41 verses 10-13. Have a great day.”

Brown later surrendered his peace officer license, was booked into the Wayne McCollum Detention Center and is now required to pay a $500 fine and about $272 in court costs.

More: BuzzFeed article deems Whataburger better than In-N-Out and Shake Shack

Brown released a statement Wednesday stating that it “has been my honor to serve as the Sheriff of Ellis County, Texas for two terms and to have been re-elected by its citizens in the most recent election. I was involved in an unfortunate incident earlier this year which has reflected unfavorably upon me, and I do not want it to adversely impact the good men and women of the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office or the citizens we serve.

“I have accepted the judgment and sentencing of the court and will not file for new trial [sic] or an appeal. Additionally, I have decided to end my long career in law enforcement by permanently surrendering my Texas Peace Officer License and all certificates issued to me by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.”

Southwest Airlines gave away free Whataburger on flights for Texas Independence Day

What’s more Texan than Whataburger? Free Whataburger on Southwest Airlines on Texas Independence Day, that’s what.

This Thursday, July 9, 2015 photo shows a Whataburger restaurant in San Antonio, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
This Thursday, July 9, 2015 photo shows a Whataburger restaurant in San Antonio, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Twitter user @lwaysBeHappy, a.k.a. Charlie, tweeted on Thursday that the Texas-based airline should provide its passengers with free Whataburger in celebration of the holiday.

RELATED: 181 things we love about Texas, in celebration of Texas Independence Day

Southwest responded to the tweet a few hours later, saying, “That is a brilliant idea actually” and well, the rest is history.

It’s a Texas Independence Day miracle, y’all.

Neither Whataburger or the airline said exactly what menu item was served, but it looks an awful lot like a chicken strip sandwich box with Texas toast and gravy. Mmmmmmmm.

If Whataburger and/or Southwest Airlines doesn’t hire Charlie in their marketing department, they’re making a huge mistake.

RELATED: 181 country songs about Texas

Hot fries and misdemeanors: Police warn against swiping Whataburger table tents

This table tent at the Southpark Meadows Whataburger was photographed in place on Tuesday, Feb. 28, and did not leave the store.
This table tent at the Southpark Meadows Whataburger was photographed in place on Tuesday, Feb. 28, and did not leave the store.

As tempting as it might be to take your Whataburger table tent to go (hey, that’s my lucky number!), it is actually, you know, stealing. And one police department in Denton County has had enough.

RELATED — What a scandal: List of top fast food takes Texas favorite for granted

In a Facebook post last week, the Northeast Police Department in Krugerville, Texas, warned area residents that they were on the case:

We have learned that it has become a game for area teens to be removing the plastic “order numbers” from the restaurant when in attendance. Removing these items without consent is a theft, which could result in a citation being issued for Theft of Property under $100.00.

The post also pointed out that the police sometimes had more of the numbers than the local Whataburger did, and shared photos of seized table tents spread out on the hood of a patrol car as if they were so many kilos of drugs or stacks of ill-gotten cash.

RELATED — Your Whataburger vs. the Whataburger she tells you not to worry about

The post has been shared more than six thousand times and gained more than half as many comments, many taunting the officers and boasting of their own table tent collection.

For the record, if you want a Whataburger Table Tent bad enough, you can buy one on eBay (here’s one example, though there’s no guarantee that it’s not “hot”). Sadly, the Whataburger online store does not offer them, though you can get a “Fancy Ketchup Mouse Pad.”

RELATED — North Texas pastor soulfully serenades a Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit from Whataburger



What a scandal: List of top fast food takes Texas favorite for granted

We Texans can get pretty defensive about our state’s homegrown fast food treasure, Whataburger. So it’s clear as day that the staff at The Ringer made a few errors in regards to its list of the “Top 50 fast food items in America.

The Corpus Christi-born chain landed in the No. 37 spot with one of the “All-Time Favorites” menu items, the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich. The Ringer left off the “strip” in its name, which is the first of many mistakes (in my opinion) made in this ranking, which include:

  1. Ranking the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich way too low at No. 37
  2. Only placing one Whataburger item on the list to begin with
  3. Placing three burgers from California’s In-N-Out ahead of Whataburger

The Ringer is based in Los Angeles, so perhaps there is a slight regional bias. Whataburger has a Texas-sized online personality and is deeply embedded into our state’s food culture. How could a list of the greatest fast food not mention the expansive menu of items like chicken strips, burgers the size of your head, milkshakes and the holy grail of breakfast food, the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit?

Chick-fil-A’s waffle fries landed in the top spot of the list. A truly eclectic ranking, somehow enough people are convinced Arby’s is worth visiting that the curly fries and roast beef sandwich ranked higher than Whataburger. Other items ranking higher than the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich:  Taco Bell’s chicken quesadilla, McDonald’s baked apple pie and Chipotle’s soft tacos. Auntie Anne’s pretzel landed in the top 20!

Since the list was decided by The Ringer’s staff, I asked my colleagues what they thought of the whole ranking. Here are some choice comments from our newsroom:

  • “HBCB in the middle of the night or bust.” – assistant online editor Gabrielle Munoz
  • “I won’t be reading any list that starts with Chick-fil-A fries. Gross. That being said, the Whataburger honey butter chicken biscuit is fast food nirvana.” – assistant features editor Emily Quigley
  • “Honey BBQ chicken is to die for.” – sports columnist Kirk Bohls
  • “I used to work at Raising Cane’s, and I’m very proud of that, so I take it very personally that their sauce didn’t get its own list item on this list. And – biggest mistake of all – they didn’t even mention the Whataburger Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit. THEY DIDN’T EVEN MENTION IT. I’m pretty sure it’s scientifically proven to be the best thing to eat at 3 a.m. ever.” – Rachel Rice, reporter for the Westlake Picayune and Lake Travis View
  • “I’m disappointed that Taco Bell’s Cinnamon Twists aren’t on this list. Crunchy pieces of fried dough dusted with cinnamon sugar… what’s not to love?! These treats kept my sister and I happy on plenty of family road trips during our childhood.” – multimedia producer Tina Phan
  • “Wendy’s chili is getting so screwed over here.” – online content producer Joe Harrington
  • “It is absurd to rank a Shake Shack burger under a McDonald’s burger. This is not a slight on the Big Mac: I believe that every fast food item has its relative merits. There is room for, say, a Taco Cabana taco and Taco Bell taco in all our lives, on their own terms. But when one considers the objective values assigned to each component part of the hamburger – freshness of bun, flavor and texture of meat, melt of cheese – ranking a Big Mac over a Shack Burger is a farce of the highest order and an attack on the very concept of fact-based evidence. And why even bother placing Popeyes menu items in contention if you are going to exclude red beans and rice, which are the perfect side dish? Also: Blizzards are Beyonce, McFlurrys are Rita Ora. Correct placement.” – social media and engagement editor Eric Webb
  • Another one of our multimedia producers, Alyssa Vidales, just sent me this video of someone trying to burn a Big Mac using molten copper.

If fast food is your thing, go ahead and try out everything on the list. Austin is home to every chain ranked (yes, even a Culver’s!).  And if you go a little overboard, head on over to our Fit City blog for fitness tips or Relish Austin for fresh cooking ideas.

Gamers find Whataburger cup in new ‘Resident Evil’ game

Whataburger's Root Beer Shake is one of the recent recommendations on the "Statesman Shots" podcast. Credit: Whatabrands LLC
Whataburger’s Root Beer Shake seen in the company’s styrofoam orange and white striped cup. Credit: Whatabrands LLC

They may be murderous cannibals, but the villainous family at the center of the new Resident Evil 7: Biohazard game at least follow Whataburger’s directions.

Released Tuesday, gamers play a man searching for his wife in a Louisiana home haunted with the aforementioned creepy family, undead and other monstrous creatures. But In real life, the Creole State is home to bayous and 15 Whataburger locations, making for an interesting Easter egg in the game.


While exploring the home in the game, players noticed a cup in a trash bin bearing a striking resemblance to Whataburger’s famous orange and white-striped beverage vessel. Each real styrofoam cup contains the message “When I am empty, please dispose of me properly.”

One player tweeted this cup in the trash isn’t the only one.

Think you can handle the horror of this house? The game is rated M for Mature and is available on PlayStation 4 (including virtual reality capability), Xbox One and Windows PC.

BuzzFeed article deems Whataburger better than In-N-Out and Shake Shack

Any self-respecting Texan knows Whataburger is amazing. But it’s taken a while for the rest of the country to recognize just how good Texans have it when it comes to Whataburger and its many delicacies.

Courtesy of Whataburger.

Not anymore.

A recent post from Buzzfeed has nothing but great things to say about Whataburger, deeming it better than California burger joint In-N-Out and New York City standard Shake Shack.

MORE: Central Texas H-E-B store getting Whataburger drive-through

“It’s time for everyone to accept that Whataburger is not only better than In-N-Out and Shake Shack, but it’s also the best burger joint in existence,” the post begins.

Among the spots where Whataburger outshines its competitors, according to the article:

  • More burger options (Seriously though, you can make  36,864 burger combinations)
  • Shorter food delivery times (“They’ll give you a handy number and bring your food to you like you are the goddamn queen of England”)
  • The Whatachick’n Strips meal is “mouthwatering”
  • The Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit
  • They’re open 24 hours

A poll at the end of the post asking users to comment on their favorite of the three burger chains had Whataburger firmly in first place:


Whataburger fans came out in full force in the Facebook comments:

One commenter even related her first experience with Whataburger:

Other commenters stuck up for In-N-Out, Shake Shack, and other regional favorites.

What do you think? Is Whataburger better than every other burger restaurant?

Whataburger engaged in friendly beef with DC Comics over Wonder Woman logo

The sight of Whataburger’s “Flying W” logo has been known to lasso in a lot of late-night fast food patrons, but the Texas burger chain is now wondering if their logo might be in danger.

This Thursday, July 9, 2015 photo shows a Whataburger restaurant in San Antonio, Texas. The iconic Texas restaurant chain will not allow the open carrying of guns on its properties, taking a stand against a new law legalizing the practice. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
This Thursday, July 9, 2015 photo shows a Whataburger restaurant in San Antonio, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The San Antonio Express-News confirmed Friday that the wonderful burger chain has met with DC Comics and is currently engaged in a “friendly trademark discussion” about Wonder Woman’s new logo, which bears a bit of a resemblance to the orange “Flying W.”

Wonder Woman’s latest logo.

“Contrary to some suggestions, Whataburger is not at war with Wonder Woman over her newly redesigned logo. In fact, Whataburger supports superheroes like Wonder Woman and her friends in the Justice League,” a Whataburger company spokesperson wrote in a statement to Chron.com. “Truth be told, Whataburger’s own superhero – Whataguy – would love to team up with Wonder Woman and her friends sometime to battle evil together.”

More: Catch up on Whataburger news on Buzzworthy

But which logo came first? Whataburger’s current logo was trademarked in 1972, while Wonder Woman’s stacked W logo was trademarked in 1985. The character of Wonder Woman has been around since her first appearance in Dec. 1941.

At first, the Amazon Warrior’s trademark bore some resemblance to Whataburger’s logo, but if there ever was any creative dispute, Whataburger had little reason to worry. Wonder Woman’s logo was registered for the comic book industry, and not for the beverage or restaurant service industries.

Wonder Woman’s original logo from 1985.

However, with April’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and 2017’s “Wonder Woman” and “Justice League” films, where Gal Gadot plays the superhero with the lasso of truth, the Wonder Woman logo will become much more visible.

“Wonder Woman’s stacked W logo has both made it appear more similar to Whataburger’s long-standing Flying W trademark and has been accompanied by nine new trademark applications, covering a much more substantial list of goods and services than just comic books, including a variety of food and beverage products,” the spokesperson wrote to the San Antonio Express-News.

Legal action hasn’t been taken by either party yet, and the proceedings seem fairly amicable. But does this mean that we might see Whataburger/Wonder Woman tie-ins in the future? Will a scene of the “Wonder Woman” film take place at a Whataburger? Will the Justice League regroup and plan their next move over Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits? We can only hope.

And as far as similar logos go, Weezer’s latest logo looks a lot like Wonder Woman’s, and Waylon Jennings’ logo in the ’70s favored a W with wings as well.


Happy birthday, Whataburger! Fast-food chain was born this day 66 years ago

This Thursday, July 9, 2015 photo shows a Whataburger restaurant in San Antonio, Texas. The iconic Texas restaurant chain will not allow the open carrying of guns on its properties, taking a stand against a new law legalizing the practice. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
This Thursday, July 9, 2015 photo shows a Whataburger restaurant in San Antonio, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

On this day 66 years ago, the Texas staple behind the Patty Melt and the A.1. Thick and Hearty Burger was born. That’s right — we’re talking about Whataburger.

Read: Blind burger taste test proves Texas’ favorite still reigns

The fast-food chain got its start in Corpus Christi on Aug. 8, 1950  thanks to a man named Harmon Dobson. As the San Antonio Express-News reports, the Texas State Historical Association says the grand opening earned a total of $50.

Related: Meet the Texas man who has been to more than 700 Whataburgers

“Four days later they took $141.80 and sold 551 burgers. The word was out. Whataburger was a success,” TSHA says.

Today, Dobson’s family still owns the Whataburger company which runs more than 700 restaurants across Texas, Arizona, Florida and many other states.

Read: Whataburger’s Twitter is the celebrity accountability tool we need

Happy birthday, Whataburger!

Meet the Texas man who has been to more than 700 Whataburgers

Photo courtesy of Whataburger.
Photo courtesy of Whataburger.

Many Texans might try and argue they’re Whataburger’s biggest fan — but have they been to 757 different Whataburger locations?  Rockport’s 79-year-old Karl Hoepfner has.

Read: Texas man trapped by Brazos River flooding rides tractor to Whataburger

According to The McAllen Monitor, Hoepfner visited a Brownsville Whataburger this week in an effort to continue a mission he and his late wife started in 2012: to visit every Whataburger in existence.

And they did. As of 2013, the couple had visited all 730 restaurants in 10 states. The chain even declared them its biggest fans. In a Texas Monthly article in 2013, the couple said they had started their quest while Carol Hoepfner was undergoing radiation treatment for a rare form of eye cancer.

Read: Whataburger’s Twitter is the celebrity accountability tool we need

Their affinity with Whataburger dates back to 1963, according to an article in Food Republic. Karl said he and Carol were stationed in San Angelo as part of the Air Force and were looking for a good meal for a great price. “We found both in Whataburger, so we stuck with it,” he said.

But earlier this year, after 59 years of marriage, Carol died.

“My wife had eye cancer, and she just passed in February,” Karl told The Monitor. “We had visited all the stores through 2013. She got so bad that she couldn’t go with me anymore. After she passed, I’ve been kind of lonesome and I don’t have much to do, so I decided I’d go out and visit some more stores.”

Karl, who has developed a relationship with Whataburger over the past few years, received a list from the chain with every restaurant that had been built since 2013. His stop in Brownsville marked No. 24 and he still has about 50 left to go.

To read more about this truly Texas love story, click here. 





Whataburger’s Sweet and Spicy Bacon Burger is back


It’s an exciting time to be alive if you’re a Whataburger lover — the Sweet & Spicy Bacon Burger is back.

The fast-food restaurant announced Monday that at 3 p.m. the burger would be available once again — but only for a limited time. The burger, which debuted last summer, is made up of  two beef patties, bacon, grilled onions, Monterey Jack and American cheese, Whataburger’s Original Mustard and its Sweet & Spicy Pepper Sauce.

It’s unknown how long the burger will be available but people are already going crazy on Twitter.