Whataburger California

What? It’s A-Burger! Photo Credit: Jeff Magbitang

Howdy folks! I’m sure you’re wondering why you’ve found yourself on a website with a giant Safeway logo on the top. Well to keep it short and sweet, this is a website about retail in Houston, Texas. I’ve recently seen a spike in traffic from people searching along the lines of “Whataburger in California”. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but,

There is currently NO Whataburger presence in California.

This page is about the presence the company had from the mid 1970s until the late 80s. If this interests you read on, if not A-Burger in Oxnard is supposed to be similar. Tell them a guy from Houston sent you maybe they’ll mail me a free burger!

Whataburger is a Texas institution! Beloved by so many, that it was declared our stately equivalent of a national treasure, a Texas Treasure, by the 77th Texas Legislature. It is known by most Texans that Whataburger has a presence in “friendly states” (and Oklahoma). However, what most Texans probably don’t know is that Whataburger had a presence in Southern California from the Mid-70s (~1973) until 1987.

A similar Whataburger in Glendale, AZ

All the locations seem to have been franchised by Western World Foods Inc, who was for a time the largest Whataburger franchisee. Unlike the company owned locations, the California ones did not sport the distinctive A-Frames. The first locations resembled other Western World Whataburgers in Arizona, and Colorado. Later locations would use an updated corporate design also used in the Texas market to help incorporate drive-thrus.  The company was able to open 8 outlets in California before making their decision to exit the market in 1987. It’s not completely clear why the locations were closed. The fact that the exit came approximately 15 years after the initial entry into California leads me to believe that when franchise rights expired they were not renewed.

155 South Oxnard Boulevard Oxnard, CAStill resembles a Whataburger in Name, Design and Menu!
400 Thousand Oaks Boulevard Thousand Oaks, CABuilding still exists, now a Japanese Restaurant
2250 East Main Street Ventura, CAConverted to Taco Bell
1579 East Los Angeles Avenue Simi Valley, CAConverted to Jack in the Box
790 North Ventura Road. Port Hueneme, CAConverted to Taco Bell and torn down ~2014
7257 Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Canoga Park, CANow an Indian Restaurant, resembles Oxnard locaiton
1650 E Daily Dr, Camarillo, CA 93010Converted to Jack in the Box
1398 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128Torn down for office space. Thanks to Zip!
El Camino at Oakwood Drive San Mateo, CAPlanned but not built due to building design. 1971
879 Coleman Ave, San Jose, CA 95110Torn down ~2006 for shopping plaza


  1. Thanks for making this info available! My dad said he used to go to the Simi valley location but it was different in the way you ordered. It was a “subway” style build your own burger situation. Which is maybe why the franchise rights were not renewed!

    1. I am currently in El Paso and I’ve been here less than a week and I’ve eaten Whataburger twice already in the time I’ve been here…Needless to say I had a double double animal style in Chula Vista before driving here…Well I thought I’d miss in-n-out but I now believe that I may not…The 2 Whataburger joints I’ve been to lack the long lines and waits for your food and the double Whataburger makes an in-out 4×4 look small…I hope they never change like in-n-out…I am not left thinking where’s the beef with a Whataburger…✌️⛄️

  2. I feel very sure there was one in or near Ontario, California. But I see no mention of it here. It was either on Mountain or Central.

    1. It’s very much possible. I have very limited California based research material. If you can track down any more details, I can look into it!

      1. SJ location was on Coleman and Hedding and I should know: my 1st job at age 15! Our manager lived with n a trailer behind the store. In retrospect a huge jerk, too!

        1. I added yours based on the comment. It looks like it may have become a Taco Bell before being demolished. Any clues?

        2. I grew up in San Jose, I lived near the Whataburger on Coleman Ave it closed way before I was olde enough to go on my own .
          Later the location opened up as George’s burgers and was theyre for many years .

    2. High Linda Peterson I am from Ontario California I grew up during the seventies and the eighties before I left for school in 1990 to Arizona , I can tell you that there was not a whataburger that I’d know of but there was an AW root beer That resembled whattaburger On Mountain Avenue and the reason I know that is because I worked at that location . It was actually on mountain and hold by the Ontario ice ring .

  3. I have been to the Oxnard location many times. It had no seating area in the store.. It had a tall counter you ordered on on end and waited in line for your order. There was nothing in Ca that came close at the time other than In-N-out and it was not in the Ventura county area at all. Same burger and fries as today as I live in Texas.

    1. I used to go to the Thousand Oaks (Ventura County) location fairly often. It was on Thousand Oaks Blvd. The location is now a Japanese restaurant called Cho Cho Sans, on T. O. Blvd.

      1. I’ve been to the one in Port Hueneme many times, our whole family would say wow what a burger. 😋

  4. I use to go to the Camarillo location a lot. It was always busy back in the late 70’s and into the 80’s

  5. I lived in SoCal for a little over a year in back in ’97-’98. Could not find a single Whataburger location there. This was just before the internet had really become the thing it has now, so I asked around and most people my age said they recalled seeing a location or two back in the 70’s & 80’s but also noted that WB didn’t have a large presence in CA.

  6. I was sure that I stopped at a Whataburger in either Oxnard or Ventura in the 70s. I’m glad to know that I memory still works. 🙂 Apparently, not good enough to remember which town but good enough.
    Though I moved to Missouri in the 80s, I still remember those were good burgers. Not as good as In-N-Out Burger but still quite good.

    1. I’m glad I could help trigger some memories! If the photo looks familiar, it was deffinetly the Oxnard location. If not, then it was Ventura as the building styles were very different. Closest Whataburgers to you are Northern Arkansas.

      1. This is definitely the Oxnard California store. I worked there in 1977. It did have indoor dining tables and tables outside. The lines were long. The food was good for chain burgers. Oxnard and veo had had fantastic mom and pop burger stands. Whataburger is now “A Burger” in Oxnard, California.

    2. I tried in out burgers twice. They had not improved and have never gone back. What a burger is much better.

    1. Second on the list! 400 Thousand Oaks Boulevard Thousand Oaks, CA

      It’s now a Japanese restaurant.

    1. That’s awesome! It’s one of the first visual confirmations I’ve seen of Whataburger’s CA stores.

      1. I grew up in San Jose and always thought there was a location on Coleman ave and Bedding st near the airport.

        1. Was Bedding Street possibly renamed? I checked out the area but couldn’t find anything. I’ll keep looking into it as I did find there were plans to build as far North as San Mateo.

      1. It was on Winchester Blvd about a block south of the interstate…about three blocks from the Winchester House

          1. There was a Whataburger on Coleman and Hedding in San Jose, also. Not sure of the exact address, though. I clearly remember the one at 1298 S. Winchester Blvd.

              1. Should be 1398 S. Winchester Blvd San Jose (at Driftwood, next to the Pizza Hut that’s currently a BBQ place), torn down for a small medical office building. At 1298 S. Winchester where the new Taco Bell is, there was an old no-name service station that did car repairs but no longer sold gas by the early 1970’s, but I could add air to my bicycle tires when I was too little to cross Winchester without letting my parents know. That intersection at Payne and Winchester still had 4 gas stations for many years (Mobil and Shell are now Pollo Loco and the tiny strip mall with Little Caesars, with only Chevron left).

  7. Whataburger recently got sold to some investment firm based in Chicago.

    I hope they expand and make a return to Southern California, specifically Oxnard.

  8. The Whataburger on Oxnard Blvd became a Lotaburger for a while, before becoming just A Burger. I wonder if a legal dispute was involved at all. Always wondered why Whataburger suddenly became a big deal in Texas decades after it died in Oxnard.

    1. Lotaburger is a named used by an unrelated chain out of New Mexico, so I could see that being problematic. As for the growth in Texas, that occurred mostly before and right up until the locations were built in California. It was a very well established chain in Texas by the mid 70s. The more recent building booms have more so do to with an increase in population in Texas, and new construction.

    2. I’m 55 years old and a lifelong Texan (except for a brief stint in CA in the 90’s). Whataburger has been a big deal in Texas, at least, as long as I have been alive. 🙂

    3. Clearly you know nothing about Texans and their Whataburger. Whataburger absolutely did NOT “suddenly become a big deal in Texas decades after it died in Oxnard.” I’m well into my 50’s and Whataburger has ALWAYS been a big deal in Texas
      for as long has I can remember! Eating at Whataburger is actually my very first memory of eating at a restaurant when I was in preschool! The first time I ever ate at a McDonald’s was the summer before I started middle school!

          1. I remember the Ventura location very well. It was across from Ventura high School (my high school) . It opened on a late fall day in ‘73 or ‘74. We all anticipated the big opening. The day they opened their doors, almost every kid from school rushed the place. Their burgers and fries could not be beat …except by Bobs Big Boy. However in all fairness, that was a completely different burger. In n Out didn’t open in Ventura until Sept 1992. We sure missed Whataburger when they closed.