Hardee'sHardee’s is one of the most popular hamburger chains in the Southern and Midwestern parts of the United States. The first location was opened in Greenville, North Carolina in September of 1960. Wilbur Hardee, the chain’s namesake, created a very manly menu with large, filling burgers that became popular among workers. Only a year after the founding of the first restaurant the first company owned franchise location was opened in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Wilbur Hardee actually lost the majority of the company’s shares in a poker game to James Gardner and Leonard Rawls, the openers of the first company location. He soon sold the rest of his shares to them as well.

The chain was bought and sold multiple times between the 70s and 90s, but is now owned by CKE Restaurants that also owns the Carl’s Jr. chain. Hardee’s grew rapidly in the 70s and 80s by both encouraging franchise openings and purchasing existing locations from other chains like Burger Chef and Sandy’s.

Hardee's Original ThickburgerThe Hardee’s menu is still dominated by burgers with large patties and plenty of toppings. The chain bought limited rights to some of the Burger Chef creations when that chain went under, so many locations sell a Big Shef burger. While a basic hamburger and cheeseburger are on the menu, the Thickburger is Hardee’s main burger line as of 2003. These burgers start at a 1/4th pound patty size and are available as large as the 2/3rd of a pound Monster Thickburger. This massive burger has over 1,000 calories and comes topped with bacon, cheese and mayonaise. Premium burgers include the Six Dollar Thickburger. The Six Dollar burger was designed to compete with the premium burgers offered at casual dining restaurants, but retails for under $5. Healthy options like flame broiled turkey burgers are also available.