Red Kingdom Turns Orange

Patrick Mahomes brings Texas-sized flavor to KC with Whataburger

Patrick Mahomes has brought a lot to Kansas City: Two Super Bowl championships and a third appearance; an elevated women’s soccer presence; international attention to Kansas City; and just a whole lot of fun at Arrowhead Stadium.

But for some, his greatest contribution to the metro is a simple hamburger: Whataburger.

“If you want a juicy burger that tastes super fresh and a crisp side of fries, they’ve got you. And me!” says Lori Timmons Gunderson of Parkville, who admits to being a closet fast foodie.

Rebecca Pool just moved to Riverside from Atlanta last year and can’t wait until the Parkville location opens in November.

“To have Mahomes be from a small town in Texas and make a push to bring WhataBurger past its Texas roots is amazing,” she says.

A native of Tyler, Texas, Mahomes has often told the story of babysitting his younger brother while their mom worked and they would walk down the street for a burger. He’s a huge fan of the spicy ketchup and No. 1 with cheese, ketchup, pickles only, with a large fry and large Coke.

“But they also have this thing on Texas toast, a barbecue chicken strip sandwich which I like a lot, and Brittany always makes us get the honey butter chicken biscuits in the morning,” Mahomes said on his radio show on Sport Radio 610AM in November 2021.

Mary Ann Harvey of Parkville grew up in Tyler, Texas, same as Mahomes.

“When I was a teenager, many moons ago, I remember them as big and flat and salty,” she says. “I think they have changed since I was a kid and I think the version they are making now is better.”

There are now 11 Whataburgers in Kansas City. The fourth Northland location is set to open in November in Parkville, adjacent to Ace Hardware across from Price Chopper on Highway 45. In all, KMO Burger, in which Mahomes is an investor, plans more than 30 locations from Wichita to St. Joseph. There are 930 orange Whataburgers in 14 southern states.

But to really appreciate this little hamburger, a trip to Corpus Christi, Texas is a necessity. Two guys named Harman Dobson and Paul Burton founded the company in this Gulf Coast town in 1950. Although the corporate headquarters is now in San Antonio, burger aficionados still pilgrimage to Corpus Christi for a complete immersion into the burger culture.

The original location at 2609 Ayers Street was torn down long ago. However, in 2005, the company built a replica at 4126 South Staples as a testament to the popularity of the burger chain that began there.

While you are in Corpus Christi, which is the gateway to Padre Island National Seashore, you’ll want to take in a baseball game with the Corpus Christi Hooks. They are a Houston Astros minor league team sponsored by Whataburger.

Make sure you take in a home game on Wednesdays, which are Whataburger Family Days. That’s when the Hooks temporarily change their name to the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits. Isn’t that the best name ever for a sports team?

The team store includes a team jersey for the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits. Although it’s orange, if you wear that to a Chiefs game, there’s a good chance #15 will surely see you stand out in the field of red and give you a thumbs up.

While people will always argue about their favorite burger joint, and not everyone is a Whataburger fan, it’s pretty much agreed that the ketchup selection at Whataburger is a fun treat.

It’s not an official title with the company, but let’s call it the “ketchup concierge.” That’s the person who, after your order is delivered to your table, comes around with a tray filled with salt, pepper, extra napkins, and an impressive selection of condiments.

In addition to barbeque sauce, dipping sauces and mustard, Whataburger has two signature ketchups. The ketchup concierge is there to answer questions.

 “Whataburger Fancy Ketchup is a proprietary blend of fresh ingredients and spices, giving it that “just right” combination of tang and sweetness,” says Miranda Grubbs, Public Relations Coordinator for Whataburger.

“We add red jalapeño puree to its counterpart, Whataburger Spicy Ketchup, for the perfect marriage of sweet and heat.”  

An informal, unofficial survey of customers at the three Northland locations indicates the preference of Clay and Platte County burger buyers is spicy ketchup.

But after the Parkville store opens in November, let’s re-tally the votes and see how the Northland prefers its ketchup.

Northland Whataburger locations

  • 600 NW Barry Road, Kansas City
  • 9100 Block MO-45 Highway, Parkville
  • Highway 152 & North Booth Avenue, Kansas City
  • 8851 N. Ambassador Drive, Kansas City

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