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NYC burger chains: Where the out-of-towners came from

Burger-loving New Yorkers know that Shake Shack started in Madison Square Park, Bareburger in Astoria and 5 Napkin Burger in Hell's Kitchen. Take those three heavy hitters and add them to all the independent joints around the city, and it's hard to believe we ever eat at imported chains... but the fact is, we do. Often.

As we await the arrival of the next one, Wahlburgers, set to head from Boston down to Coney Island this May, let's take a look at the chains we've already adopted-- and find out exactly where they came from, anyway.

Five Guys Burgers & Fries: Arlington, VA

The Murrell family opened the first Five Guys
Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

The Murrell family opened the first Five Guys in Arlington, Virginia, in 1986, making a name for themselves by serving up hand-formed burgers and fresh-cut fries cooked in peanut oil.

They started franchising in 2003, and now have more than 1,000 locations across the United States, including in every borough of NYC.

Umami Burger: Los Angeles, CA

Adam Fleischman opened the first Umami Burger in

Adam Fleischman opened the first Umami Burger in Los Angeles, California in 2009, centering around the concept of "umami," a distinct type of savory taste. To enhance this flavor, burgers are sprinkled with umami master sauce and umami dust, which contain Japanese ingredients.

The first Manhattan location, which offers waiter service and a fall bar, opened in Greenwich Village in 2013.

Smashburger: Denver, CO

Opened in Denver, Colorado in 2007 by Rick
Photo Credit: Smashburger

Opened in Denver, Colorado in 2007 by Rick Schaden, Smashburger literally smashes, sears and seasons its handcrafted burgers, which it claims makes them juicier and more flavorful.

The fast-growing chain first opened in NYC in 2014, and now has locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Fatburger: Los Angeles, CA

Restaurant owner Lovie Yancey founded Fatburger in Los
Photo Credit: Twitter/@Fatburger

Restaurant owner Lovie Yancey founded Fatburger in Los Angeles, California in 1952, and found fame thanks to oversized, grilled burgers, fresh, not frozen onion rings and old-fashioned milkshakes. (Becoming the subject of Ice Cube and Tupac hits didn't hurt, either.)

The business began to focus on expansion outside of California in the 1990s, and now reaches as far as Pakistan. It re-opened a Manhattan location in Murray Hill in 2013.

BurgerFi: Fort Lauderdale, FL

John Rosatti opened the first BurgerFi in Fort
Photo Credit: Yana Paskova

John Rosatti opened the first BurgerFi in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2011, offering a fast-casual, eco-friendly setting and natural ingredients. It has since expanded all the way to the West Coast, and boasts a NYC location on the Upper East Side.

Steak 'n Shake: Normal, IL

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Gus Belt opened the
Photo Credit: Twitter/@SteaknShake

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Gus Belt opened the first Steak 'n Shake hamburger stand in Normal, Illinois in 1934. The joint got its name by grounding sirloin and T-bone steaks to make its burgers. It expanded primarily throughout the Midwest and South, coming to NYC's Theater District in 2012.

The Counter: Santa Monica, CA

Jeff Weinstein founded the Counter in Santa Monica,
Photo Credit: Twitter/@CounterBurger

Jeff Weinstein founded the Counter in Santa Monica, California in 2003, and the spot quickly became known for its build your own burger options, which diners fill out on a clipboard. There are more than 300,000 possible combinations.

In 2015, the Counter exists as far as Australia, and owns a location in Manhattan's Times Square.

McDonald's: Des Plaines, IL

It's hard to imagine there was ever a
Photo Credit: Flickr/powerplantop

It's hard to imagine there was ever a time when McDonald's didn't dot most city blocks, but Ray Kroc founded the McDonald’s Corp. in 1955, and opened his first store in Des Plaines, Illinois. His franchise business model took off, and it wasn't long before the golden arches were taking America by storm. The first Manhattan McDonald's opened in 1973, and, as they say, the rest is history.

Burger King: Miami, FL

Business partners James McLamore and David Edgerton opened

Business partners James McLamore and David Edgerton opened the pioneer Burger King in Miami, Florida in 1954, and by 1958 it was the famous "Home of the Whopper." By the 1970s, Burger King had a presence in New York, throughout the United States and abroad.

Wendy's: Columbus, OH

Dave Thomas, the white-haired businessman whose face anyone

Dave Thomas, the white-haired businessman whose face anyone who watched TV between 1989 and 2002 knows well, opened the first Wendy's in Columbus, Ohio, in 1969. In 1975 it expanded to Canada, and by 1980, there were 2,000 Wendy's restaurants. A few months later, Wendy's was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, helping the company to continue on its fast track to success.

White Castle: Wichita, KS

Walt A. Anderson and Edgar Waldo A. Ingram
Photo Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney

Walt A. Anderson and Edgar Waldo A. Ingram combined their skills (food and finance) to open the first White Castle in Wichita, Kansas in 1921, starting what is widely credited with being the first American fast food chain with five cent sliders.

Today, there is actually not a single White Castle restaurant in the state of Kansas, but there are locations in all five boroughs.

Checkers Drive In: Mobile, AL

Checkers Drive In opened its retro-inspired doors in
Photo Credit: Facebook

Checkers Drive In opened its retro-inspired doors in 1986 in Mobile, Alabama. It teamed up with Rally's Hamburgers, Inc. and today has locations in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island.

Wahlburgers: Boston, MA (Coming soon)

Wahlburgers, the burger franchise owned by actors Mark
Photo Credit: Twitter/@Wahlburgers

Wahlburgers, the burger franchise owned by actors Mark and Donnie Wahlberg and their chef brother, Paul Wahlberg, has signed a lease in Coney Island and has plans for six more locations in Manhattan, according to the New York Post.

The Boston-based restaurant and bar has its own reality show, "Wahlburgers," on A&E, and is slated to open its Coney Island location on May 1.

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