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Chuc Wagun Hamburgers


Disastro

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  • 5 months later...

My family owned Chuck Wagon restaurants and they started in Corpus Christi by my Grandmother's brother Richard Warren and my Grandfather Ernest Derr Sr. My entire family grew up working at Chuck Wagon's at an early age including Ernie Derr III, Johnny Derr, Charles Derr and Michael Winner who is my Godfather. The best family story that I have heard from my relatives is that Chuck Wagon was approached by Whataburger around 1954 looking to sell the #1 and #2 Whataburger stores in Corpus Christi for $25,000.00. The Whataburger deal never happened because it did not fit Chuck Wagon's business model due to the Chuck Wagon shape of the burger stands that did not have indoor dining areas. Thank God that this never happened...because Whataburger would probably never existed after 1955!

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The one on Crosstimbers...that's the one I remember! smile.gif

Yes the one on 11st is right next to Hogg Middle School and across from Andy's cafe. The building is still there but soon to be lost forever. I remember it operating until sometime around the mid 80's.

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I worked at the Chuc Wagon on Bissonnet in 1975ish. I remember Richard Warren and his wife, along with several other co-workers. The onion rings were the best. I was actually trying to remember that darn recipe a few months ago. I do remember the Post solicitors (back when there WAS a Houston Post) and that little bitty window next to the large flat griddle that you ordered from. I can still hear those metal spatulas clanging............... The uniforms were yellow checked shirts and those fake leather (vinyl) aprons <ick>. It could be a crazy place at times. For those who worked there, remember the little office in the back...and that squeaky back door? Too funny.

I worked at the 7-11 around the corner from this Chuck Wagon in the fall of 67. Worked there for 3 months before I was transfered to the store behind Westbury Square shopping center. At the Willow Bend location we could smell the Chuck Wagon cooking the french fries and the onion rings, the smell drove us crazy in a good way. The guy running that location told me they had someone that specially grew the onions for all the locations. The onions were a special large size so Chuck Wagon's onion rings were all a good size, they never sold a small onion ring. I never ate onion rings because I didn't like onions, but the smell and the guys I worked with looked loved them so I had to try some. My lack of liking onion rings and onions went out the window after eating those Chuck Wagon onion rings.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

At one time there were 16 Chuc Waguns in Houston. My daddy and his brother ran 3 of them at one time. My cousins ran others. I have fond memories of working there. I guess Chuc Wagun followers know that the Wheel Burger, Hub Burger and Spoke (hot dog) were the components of the contestoga wagon.

Each location had a number. My daddy's CW at Crosstimbers and Yale was #5. He also had on at Bissonet and Kirby...that was #2. In reading this blog I saw lots of familiar names...Richard Warren was my first cousin. My uncle was Marshall Warren. I grew up with the Derr children and if any of them see this blog I would love to get in touch with them. Alas my mother/daddy, Richard and Uncle Marshall has all passed into memory now but I have wonderful memories and stories to tell.

Someone mentioned the plastic box that the money was dropped into the box and change was made with a change machine. I learned to make change at an early age working there.

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There was a Chuck Wagon on W. 34th st. next door to Waltrip High School, about the 1300 block. I know that it was in operation from the mid 50's until around 1968, likely longer than that.

Wheel Burgers were $.35, Hub Brurgrs were $.25 and Spokes were $.25. They had the best tater tots ever made. When you called to place an order, they answered the phone Chuck Wagon #9. The location is now an abandoned auto repair.

The only better hamburger I ever had as a kid was at Linder Lake. Now that goes back a long, long time.

There is still an old building on Broadway that has the wagon top. I'll see if I can get a pic.

Best hamburgers/steakburgers ever is still in operation in the East End.......CHAMP BURGER on Sampson a block N. of Harrisburg. Always service with a smile, quick & price is right! Been in business @ 50 yrs by same family. I use every excuse imaginable to swing by for breakfast sandwich [bacon for mine]. Chuck Wagon on 34th was good also. Still remember the tall slim man who was there every time. Next door was the convenice store ?Brennens? which had a great meat dept. Another long time business is the Aztec Tool rental. Owner has made a fortune. Was small building & now has half the block & some down in next block near TC Jester. Always nice, knowledgeable people there......Walking memory lane.

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Wasn't Roy Rogers restaurant kind of popular for a while?

and I wonder if the real actor gave his ok to use his name? I understand you just cant grab a famous name and use it without consent, etc. mellow.gif

I imagine Roy Rogers had a hand in the creation said restaurant and use of the namesake. There's no way they could've ran with his name without his approval.

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Hello all, I stumbled across this fourum by searching for "Chuc Wagun".

Richard Warren was my uncle. He was one of the co-owners of the place along with my dad Ken Whetzel, and his friend, Tony.

My dad built the building on the Bissonett location. My grandfather, Marshal Warren, ran the location with the old Wagon top on OST. My mom worked there while she was going to school.

I spent much time there in my teens working jobs around there and making onion rings, which we made fresh each day by hand. Luckly, we had an automatic, "manual" onion slicer that made part of that process a lot quicker. Intresting to hear of so many people that remember the old places. smile.gif

I stumbled across this also.(I love this forum)... On my seventh birthday, back in '56, was one of my best birthday presents I remember.All I wanted was all the Wheel Burgers I could eat ! It was the one on OST I think they were 35 cents and to die for.

My whole family loaded in the car and went out for dinner. I ate two and started on the third when I found out what glutton I was. Lesson never learned! :D

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I used to also get Wheel Burgers at the one on OST and huge drinks.....the Hub Burger was the small one and the hot dog was called the Spoke Dog.

4:30ish PM after football and basketball practice at BHS, the Chuck Wagon on Bellaire just west of Chimney Rock and later the one on Bissonnet & Beechnut (now El Pupusadromo Numero Dos), for a Wheel with Cheese, Fries, and a Tub o' Coke (a quart I think)

then home for mom's big dinner at 7PM...

it was good to be a teenager in the mid-60s :-)

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  • 11 months later...

I was thinking of the one we used to go to in the early 60's. I found a photo online...I'm not sure where this one was.

 

chuc-wagun.jpg

 

I was trying to remember the name of these short-lived 'novelty' round corn chips. We were living in Houston in the early 60's and I remember these round corn chips coming out. I'm pretty sure they were from Frito-Lay and they were hyping the novelty of them being round and coin-like. That's I why I seem to recall them having a name like PESOS or CENTAVOS, but I see nothing online.  
  
I can literally picture myself at Chuck Wagon (or Chuc Wagun) eating a bag of them with my hot dog. I don't think they lasted long and maybe they were just testing them in that region. 

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There was another one on Lawndale & Des Jardines. It has also been demolished.

 

Nearly 3 years later, but my mom grew up on Truett and Dismuke and she was over this Saturday. We had to go to Martini hardware (which she says has been there forever, all I know is they have the most random hardware and it's not that farther than home depot to get to on a Saturday). On the way back she swore up and down that Lawndale used to have really really bad traffic.

 

But more to the point of this topic, she said that what is now "Stephanie's Ice House" used to be called "The Wagon Wheel". I'm assuming this is the location you were talking about?

 

I may press her for details next time I see her, but she seemed to be very sure of it, even telling me a story of how my dad's boss once drove there for lunch, then walked back to the office less than 2 blocks away, and after work thought his car had been stolen since it wasn't in the office parking lot.

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I believe that there was another Chuck Wagon (Chuck Shack?) at 75th and Lawndale. It was next to the theater or possibly just across the street, at one time there were two hamburger joints almost straight across the street from each other at that corner (or rather just up 75th Street towards Mason Park from that corner) one of which is still there, having morphed into a Mexican food restaraunt if I'm not mistaken. I can attest to the fact that Martini's Hardware has been on the same site since the '50's.

 

As far as traffic being bad on Lawndale, that would be before my time, however, I do believe that Lawndale was once an important route to Galveston (via Old Galveston Road) and that might have caused some heavy traffic.

Edited by msteele6
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A nice person answered me on another forum and they WERE called PESOS! If I had Google'd Frito-Lay and PESOS I would have found a couple of things about the trademark. I kept trying Frito-Lay and 'round corn chips', 'early 60's.' Would still love to see an image of an old bag or the logo.

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  • 8 months later...

The ones that I remember were: on Broadway in Park Place, on OST near Calhoun, on 11th in the Heights, on Bissonnet near Chimney Rock in the Bellaire area, and on Willow Meadows near Post Oak Rd. Someone above said there were some others, too. Since they are no longer around, I found a close taste to the Chuck Wagon's Wheel Burger. Next time you go to Whataburger, get them to put Mustard on both bun halves and add extra Pickles. It will bring back memories.

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I vaguely remember the Chuck Wagon on Long Point.  Can't remember exactly where it was, but I think it was close to the first Whataburger I ever ate at ... with the classic triangle shape.  There was also a BBQ place nearby that I liked, which I think maybe lasted into the 70s.  It was on Long Point near the intersection with Antoine.  

 

Also close to those places was the Prince's Hamburgers location on Wirt, just south of Long Point.  I remember being fascinated as the price of a burger, as listed on their sign, increased from 12 cents, a few pennies at a time.  This would be in the late 50s or early 60s.  In those years, Weingartens was the major grocery store in the neighborhood, at the NE corner of Long Point and Wirt.  Across Wirt, White's was a place to buy automotive stuff like tires and batteries.  In the same strip mall was a Palais Royal or maybe Wiener's, a drugstore, and another grocery ... maybe Henke & Pillot.  Later on, the first Pancho's Mexican Buffet I ever saw.  I loved that place at the time, tho' I wouldn't eat there now :-)

Edited by ArchFan
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  • 1 year later...

At one time there were 16 Chuc Waguns in Houston. My daddy and his brother ran 3 of them at one time. My cousins ran others. I have fond memories of working there. I guess Chuc Wagun followers know that the Wheel Burger, Hub Burger and Spoke (hot dog) were the components of the contestoga wagon.

Each location had a number. My daddy's CW at Crosstimbers and Yale was #5. He also had on at Bissonet and Kirby...that was #2. In reading this blog I saw lots of familiar names...Richard Warren was my first cousin. My uncle was Marshall Warren. I grew up with the Derr children and if any of them see this blog I would love to get in touch with them. Alas my mother/daddy, Richard and Uncle Marshall has all passed into memory now but I have wonderful memories and stories to tell.

Someone mentioned the plastic box that the money was dropped into the box and change was made with a change machine. I learned to make change at an early age working there.

 

I just stumbled onto this post some four years late, apparently.  Which Derr children did you work with?  You might remember Mike Winner, too.  

Edited by TDerr
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  • 8 months later...

The Chuc Wagon in Pasadena was a block from my Grandfather's gas station, on lthe southwest corner of Shaver & Harris, across the street from the Catholic School on Main street.

Directly across Shaver was an empty lot that was a big, vegetable and fruit stand with a railroad box car in the middle of it.  I worked there for a couple of summers while I was in Jackson Jr. high school.  The danged thing was open 24/7.  Chuc Wagon had the best burgers, fries and malts that I can remember and ya'll are right, being a teen in the 60's was a great time.

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BigDenTx -- I remember that Pasadena Chuck Wagon too. Got burgers there many times, and I THINK they also sold some Tex-Mex because I also bought tacos there - unless my memory is playing its usual tricks on me.

 

I went to Jackson too. A VERY long time ago. Eisenhower was President. When were you there?

Edited by FilioScotia
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/16/2007 at 8:02 AM, Disastro said:

Anybody remember the Chuck Wagon restaurant? I think it was over on Airline or somewhere near Garden Oaks. I remember my parents taking me there when I was a little kid...remember the food being good. Can anyone give some details or pictures of the joint?

Dis

 

Actually, i haven't been there yet. But i have been hearing a lot about the tasty burgers of Chuck wagon from my sister in law who lives nearby. She described it as a hamburger which is flavorful with a good kick. If I remember it right, the restaurant serves a good breakfast also.

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On 10/27/2016 at 10:10 AM, Earlydays said:

Used to go to the one on OST in the '60s....Wheel Burgers, Hub Burgers and Spoke Dogs!

 

I was not around for Chuck Wagon, but this makes me wonder if Wheel Burger at  1073 Silber Rd, Houston, TX 77055  took their name, and burger name from Chuck Wagon... Maybe it was a former location?

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On 8/20/2012 at 5:05 PM, Earlydays said:

Chuck Wagon did have good hamburgers, but I think the best Houston hamburger chain was Hamburgers by Gourmet!

 

 

Growing up in Southwest Houston (close to the intersection of South Main & OST)  the best burger joint was Prince's Hamburgers.

 

Chuck wagon had the best onion rings I ever eaten period. Man I miss those onion rings.  

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  • 1 year later...

I remember this restaurant as a kid. at 6817 Bissonett. I remember going there with my Dad and to this day thought they were the most tasty burgers I ever remember. Then in maybe 1977-1978 or around there timeframe it got either new management or became another restaurant and the burgers changed, weren't as good. I remember the patties being thin and well cooked to perfection. My Dad was a connoisseur of burger joints. He loved them. Miss him.

Edited by EPJR
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I remember this restaurant as a kid. at 6817 Bissonett. I remember going there with my Dad and to this day thought they were the most tasty burgers I ever remember. Then in maybe 1977-1978 or around there timeframe it got either new management or became another restaurant and the burgers changed, weren't as good. I remember the patties being thin and well cooked to perfection. My Dad was a connoisseur of burger joints. He loved them. Miss him.

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  • 9 months later...
  • 2 months later...
  • 5 weeks later...

I sure remember Johnnies Hamburger House. It was run by a fellow named John Glos. He had a couple  of sons named Frankie and Jodie. Nice little family place. The building is / was still there. If you were a good customer, he'd sometimes give you a cigar box. I had a paper route and stopped by there every day. A soft serve ice cream cone was a nickel.

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  • 1 month later...
On 9/16/2007 at 10:02 AM, Disastro said:

Anybody remember the Chuck Wagon restaurant? I think it was over on Airline or somewhere near Garden Oaks. I remember my parents taking me there when I was a little kid...remember the food being good. Can anyone give some details or pictures of the joint?

Dis

The was one on the SE side off of OST as well. We would go there as a kid.

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  • 7 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Hello. I used to manage chuc wagon #14 for Richard warren, A Z and Ken Whetzel. They were the 3 owners in 71. This is Larry. Yep. Those were the days. Mike Bennett great employee.  Great burgers and especially the broasted chicken. Mike and I also owned car corner across the street in the old fina station.

Edited by Larry Schmotzer
update era
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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi...My name is Jon Gantenbein and I worked at Chuc Wagun # 1 on O.S.T. for Marshall Warren.  Most times I would close up at night and delivered the 

money to Mr. Warren's home every night. I was about 19 when I first started working there. I had a 60 Corvette for a while and used to park it where I could see it

late at night. I worked with some of the best people. Some of the guys were working there way thru college and went on to have great careers.

We used to have contests to see how many burgers could be wrapped in one minute. Naturally I won most of the time. I think I was about 22 when I stopped

working there. I worked with a guy named Jones and there was Ernie Derr, Richard Warren, Ronnie Seals, Dr. Jack Bridwell,  and several of my younger

cousins later on. It was a wonderful experience in my early life. I'm 82 now and remember it like it was yesterday

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  • The title was changed to Chuc Wagun Hamburgers

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