A&W Burger Family
2035 S Coast Highway, Oceanside, California 92054
Roy Allen sold his first root beer for a nickel in Lodi, California in June 1919. In 1922 he took Frank Wright as a partner, thus forming A&W Root Beer. Their first A&W restaurant was in 1923 in Sacramento. Forty years later, in 1963, the A&W restaurants introduced the A&W Burger Family consisting of four large fiberglass statues made by International Fiberglass, yes the same company that made Muffler Men. The family's original lineup consisted of Papa Burger, who held a burger and a three foot tall beer; Mama Burger; Teen Burger, who has a T on his chest; and Baby Burger. Canada also had a Grandpa Burger. Each member of the family also corresponded to a meu option for a hamburger. The statues were made in 1963 and 1964. About 200 sets were supposedly made, although Papa Burger could also be purchased alone. A full set of the family of four cost $1800, while Papa alone was $600. Papa Burger is 8 1/2 feet tall, and his delicious mug of frothy root beer clocks in at a full three feet. Baby Burger is four feet tall.
There are a few of the statues still left in California, although not many, and no where near the 200 sets originally made. Modesto for example has an actual A&W Restaurant that originally opened in 1957. The restaurant still has both a Papa and a Baby Burger out on their patio area.
Oceanside, at a burger place called Angelo's Burgers, has a Papa Burger looking off their out door patio. He has been repainted with glasses and a mustache.
Another Papa Burger hangs out in Selma at Wilkin's Root Beer Drive In. He isn't with the rest of his family. This location was originally an A&W Drive In, but changed names back in 1975. Renga Arts in Sebastopol has had a Papa Burger since 2014, although Papa is missing his beer mug and burger. This location may have closed, however. Lemoore has a Teen Burger off California Highway 41. Chico may have a Papa Burger that was acquired from somewhere in Costa Mesa. I've also heard of a Baby Burger hanging out somewhere in Lodi.
Finding the whole family in California though is difficult. There is a private collection in Santa Maria, and in it are two full Burger families, as well as 3/4ths of a third, the third is only missing Baby Burger. I have not seen these statues personally and they are held in a private collection, thus not visitable by the public. But we have a picture of the collection, and more can be seen on their Instagram account: @awburgerfam. Special thanks to @awburgerfam for the use of their photo!
A complete set is on display in Hillsboro, Oregon, outside one of the town's recreation centers, and the statues have been designated a Cultural Resource of the town.
List of Burger Family Locations:
- Highway 41, Lemoore, California - Teen Burger
- 1404 G Street, Modesto, California - Papa and Baby Burgers
- 2035 S Coast Highway, Oceanside, California - Papa Burger
- Santa Maria, California - at least one full family in a private collection
- Sebastopol, California - Papa Burger
- 1953 2nd Street, Selma, California - Papa Burger
Another mascot for A&W is Rooty, the Great Root Bear! He was first used in 1974, used chain wide by 1976, and in 2011, the franchise brought him back. His official birthday in June 19th!
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Last Edited: 2020-08-14