Why Burger King Is Not Allowed In Mattoon, Illinois

If you’re craving a Whopper and happen to live in Mattoon, Illinois, you’ll have to drive 25 miles to Tuscola to enjoy one. That’s because the burger chain is not allowed within a 20-mile radius of Mattoon. Gene and Betty Hoots just happen to own a restaurant named Burger King, which they opened in 1952. Upon opening the small restaurant, they immediately trademarked the name. The Florida-based Burger King chain we know today opened their first store in Jacksonville in 1953, calling it Insta-Burger King. The following year, they expanded and dropped the “Insta” from their name, becoming simply Burger King. When the chain attempted to open a store in Mattoon, the Hoots sued them in state court. The chain promptly counter-sued in federal court. Eventually, the case made its way to the Court of Appeals, and in the end the two restaurants agreed on a compromise. The corporate giant isn’t allowed to open any Burger King restaurants within a 20-mile radius of the Mattoon Burger King for as long as it remains in business.