MATTOON, Ill. (WAND) - It's one of Mattoon’s most well-known, and tastiest tales! It's that of the original Burger King.
The story starts back in the 1950's, when a young man named Gene Hoots bought an ice cream stand named the Frigid Queen from his uncle. After a while, Hoots added burgers and fries to the menu, an re-named the stand "Burger King."
He decided to register Burger King as a trademark with the state of Illinois. This eventually led to a lawsuit with the Burger King chain. Hoots came out on top, and now the restaurant chain can't build within 20 miles of the original in Mattoon.
Now, the store is owned by Ernie Drummond. He started as a grill cook at the restaurant in the 1970's and worked his way up over the decades.
Drummond says it's important to him to maintain the restaurant's original flair.
"We don't want to change it to where people come in and say, 'Hey, this isn't anything like it used to be.' People can still come in like they did 50 years ago and say, 'This is just like I remember.' And we kind of have that hanging over our heads all the time be sure we don't make big changes and mess things up," Drummond explained.
Drummond has also taken over the old "Twistee Freeze," an ice cream cone-shaped building across from Lytle Park in Mattoon. He re-named it the Frigid Queen in honor of Hoots' original ice cream stand.