WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – Whataburger is a Texas staple and the fast food chain has no shortage of ardent fans. But there are regular fans and there are die-hard fans. Ashley Bean Thornton belongs to the latter category.
Thornton, who lives in Waco and describes herself as a Whataburger “superfan,” said she has been going to the restaurant just about every day for the last 10 years or so.
“To me, it’s a clean, comfortable place where I feel welcome and the food is good,” said Thornton. “I love that you run into every kind of person there – from homeless people to senators and bank presidents. I hope that is what heaven will be like.”
Her two favorite Whataburger locations are the one across from Baylor University on Interstate 35 and the Valley Mills location just a few minutes away.
Thornton said it is the breakfast that she is really devoted to. She told FOX 44 News that she goes almost every single day for breakfast and is not nearly as regular with other meals, maybe just once or twice a week.
“It started out as a once-a-week habit, on Sundays, then it slowly spread to more and more days until it was the whole week,” said Thornton. “I’ve missed a few days here and there, mainly when I am out of town and I don’t have easy access. Although I do try to plan where I am staying around access to a Whataburger. Sometimes I skip if someone else invites me to breakfast, but usually I sneak in a pre-breakfast at Whataburger before going to the other breakfast.”
Thornton’s usual breakfast order is a sausage biscuit. Her favorite used to be a Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuit until it was “discontinued by the Chicago Overlords.”
“I am still grieving over the loss of the Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuit! The best thing that was ever on the menu! I bought two cases of them right before they took them off the menu, hoping they would eventually come to their senses and bring it back. But my supply is dwindling, and I am starting to lose hope,” she said. “All I can tell you is that every day I woke up a little bit happier because I knew I was going to get a Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuit for breakfast. And now every day I wake up a little sadder because I am not.”
She said she also misses the Dr. Pepper Shake and was sad to see it go.
While she’s faithful to her breakfast order, for other meals she changes it up – even ordering a salad every once in a while.
While Thornton said Whataburger’s sausage is terrific and underrated, she is not a fan of the biscuits with gravy. “I know some people say that’s the best thing they have, but I can’t look at it.”
Most people can’t afford to be this devoted to fast food without burning off some calories every now and then. Thornton often opts to walk to get her Whataburger fix.
“I try to walk every day. I used to walk to the Baylor Whataburger when I worked at Baylor. Now I usually walk to the Valley Mills Whataburger on Sundays.”
For people who love Whataburger even half as much as she does, Thornton recommends joining the rewards program.
“I think joining the reward system is worth it because you can get a Jr. Burger for free, which is one of my usuals,” she said. “Then, since I’m old, I can get the senior drink for free – which means I can get a whole meal for just the price of the fries.”
But it’s not just about the food for Thornton.
“Really, the main reason I go every day is because of the people,” she said. “The morning crews at both Baylor and Valley Mills are terrific! The ones who have been there for a while all know me, and we can laugh and have fun. I’ve even gotten to know some of the regular customers! I have my own ‘pew,’ and if someone is sitting in it and they know me, sometimes they even get up and move so I can have my ‘spot.'”
For Thornton, other fast food chains pale in comparison.
“I don’t really have a second runner up fast food place – maybe Popeye’s, if you insist, for the Red Beans and Rice,” she says. “If I am going someplace other than Whataburger for a burger, it’s Kitok’s and Oriental Fries. I do swing by Dairy Queen occasionally for an ice cream cone or a Blizzard.”
“When we say we love our regulars, we truly mean it,” a Whataburger spokesperson told FOX 44. “Not only do our Family Members look forward to serving our regulars—like Ashley—every day, but they’re excited to catch up with them. What starts as a conversation about a mutual love for Whataburger often buds into long, meaningful relationships with our communities and the people in it. It’s one of the many things that makes Whataburger such a special place.”