From the recently established Elevation Burger to the storied Roy Rogers franchise, four Northern Virginia-based chains have since grown into popular restaurants the country—and world—over. — Lindsey Jenkins & Molly Jacob
Roy Rogers est. 1968
Named after the famous ‘40s era cowboy actor, the Marriot Corporation-founded Roy Rogers opened its first location in Bailey’s Crossroads (now a McDonald’s), and in 1972, shakes were a quarter, soft drinks 15 cents and roast beef sandwiches 69 cents. At its peak, there were over 600 restaurants in the country, mainly on the East Coast. Today, Roy Rogers is owned by the Plamondon Companies, with seven locations in NoVA and 50 nationwide, where the roast beef sandwich is $4.79.
Five Guys est. 1986
Jerry and Janie Murrell, along with their four boys—Matt, Jim, Chad and Ben—opened the first Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Five years later, the Murrell’s fifth boy, Tyler was born. The original location on Columbia Pike in Arlington is now Dave’s Seafood and Subs, but the brand lives on in over 1,200 locations in the U.S. and Canada and opened in July, a spot in London. A burger today goes for $5.79, but over two decades ago sold for $2.19.
Red, Hot & Blue est. 1988
Red, Hot & Blue shares its name with the 1950s DJ Dewey Phillip’s Memphis-based radio show. The original investors—Representative Don Sundquist (Memphis) and his two staffers Joel Wood, Wendell Moore; the late journalist Bob Friedman and Lee Atwater, a blues musician and former chairman of the Republican National Committee—started the restaurant to cure their Southern food cravings. The house specialty, the pulled pork sandwich, originally sold for $4.50. Twenty-five years and twenty-four locations later—with the orginal 1600 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington—the same sandwich is $7.99.
Elevation Burger est. 2005
When Han Hess and his wife April decided to have kids, they wanted to build a family-friendly, healthy food option. The beef is from grass-fed cows and the fries are cooked in olive oil. Now the largest organic chain in the country, Elevation Burger has 35 locations in 10 states (seven in NoVA and the first at 442 S. Washington St. in Falls Church still open) and expanded to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. The price of a burger increased $3.39 to $5.49.