Whataburger breaks ground

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Breaking ground for the new Whataburger on Keyser avenue are, from left, Chamber President Laura Lyles, Whataburger franchisee Chris Johnson, Whataburger Director of Operations David Cothum, Chamber Chair Joanna Washington, Whataburger area manager Erin Finton, Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. and Whataburger mascot Whataguy. Photo by Juanice Gray

Whataburger is officially a part of the Natchitoches Community. They broke ground at their location in front of Hobby Lobby on Keyser Avenue Tuesday, March 2. Representatives from the City, Chamber of Commerce, Northwestern and the community welcomed the Whataburger franchisee and corporate members. Whataburger Director of Marketing Maci Dover said plans are to open in May. They are already hiring to fill the approximate 100 jobs the restaurant will bring to the City. “We were looking to expand into Louisiana. The college and community made it a place we could call home,” she said.
Dover said the location will be their newest prototype and one of their larger restaurants, like the one they opened about a month ago in Pineville. “It will be state of the art,” she said. They chose to build rather than locate into empty, existing buildings in Natchitoches because “We wanted it to be new and specific to our brand.”
Franchisee is Chris Johnson of Lufkin, Texas. Natchitoches marks his 15th store and his second in Louisiana.
Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. said he was excited to welcome the first “brand name” business to the community since he took office last year. “It’s always exciting to see growth.”
Johnson said the restaurant wants to become a part of the community by giving back. “We love teachers,” he said. “We donate breakfast and taquitos and honey butter chicken biscuits all the time.”
He said they had been talking to NSU and will do sponsorships with them. “We will have some custom murals in the building and will actually have the logo inside the building,” Johnson said. He said talks began approximately eight years ago with the real estate broker and is glad to finally see the location become a reality.

In the Thursday, March 4, 2021, print edition