Illinois’ original Burger King gets a new owner

MATTOON, Ill. (AP) — An eastern Illinois burger joint with a long history and a familiar name now has a new owner. According to the Mattoon Journal-Gazette, the owners of what’s known in Mattoon as the original Burger King have sold the restaurant to a local partnership. Gene and Betty Hoots have owned the downtown institution for more than 50 years. They plan to retire. Mattoon’s Burger King survived a court battle with the national chain of the same name years ago. Gene Hoots bought what was the Frigid Queen in 1952 and renamed it Burger King in 1954. He trademarked the name the same year, before the chain had opened a location in Illinois. Part of the court decision forbids the chain from opening within 20 miles of the Mattoon Burger King.