For those who have not yet read it, I’d like to direct your attention to a nice news obituary for burger chain founder William “Bill” Kenney Sr. of Roanoke County. This obit was written by my colleague, Jordan Fifer.
Please feel free to share your fond memories of Mr. Kenney and his businesses here on the Fridge Magnet blog.
As far as I know, Kenney burgers are still available at Zorba’s Small World Cafe near the intersection of Lynchburg Turnpike and U.S. 419.
According to Jordan’s story, there are still Kenney burger restaurants in Buena Vista and Lexington. If you know of another place to get a Kenney burger these days, let us know.
Burger chain founder Bill Kenney dies at 91
By Jordan Fifer
The Roanoke Times
Some say it was the secret sauce. Others say it was the classic decor of the restaurants. Still others loved the whole combination — the messy, greasy deliciousness that was a Kenney’s burger.
The man credited with creating that phenomenon and launching a generation of fast-food-loving diners in Southwest Virginia died Monday.
William “Bill” Kenney Sr., of Roanoke County, was 91.
As a 37-year-old franchisee, Kenney opened a Biff Burger Drive-In in 1958 on Williamson Road in Roanoke — one of the first fast-food restaurants to be established in the area at a time when McDonald’s was only just getting its start. He went on to open several Biff Burgers in the region in the late ’50s and early ’60s.
Kenney learned from the Biff Burger franchise and replicated that style in his own restaurants. In 1962, the Biff Burger locations in Southwest Virginia changed their name to Kenney Burger Drive-Ins, simply referred to as Kenney’s. The burgers there, like at Biff Burger, were known for the secret sauce into which patties were dipped that kept customers coming back.
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