Burger Chef was Marlton's first fast food restaurant, opening in May, 1967 in a BC 08-16 style Burger Chef building. Burger Chef was often the first fast food store in a town like Marlton since the Company's growth strategy was to open stores in small towns - by doing this Burger Chef became the second largest and fastest growing Hamburger chain in the late 1960's, second only to McDonald's. Marlton Burger Chef was located on Route 73 north of the Marlton Circle, behind the present day Kohl's Shopping Center. Even though it had a rather short existence, closing by 1971, it is still fondly rememberd by long time local residents for its open-flame broiled burgers and homeade french fries. The building remained boarded up and vacent until it was demolished in 1977, with the exception of the flooring and foundation which attracted nostalgia buffs.
In April, 2009 the site was cleared as part of the Marlton Circle Replacement Project and a drainage ditch was built there. An off-ramp now passes across the front of the site. There was a hidden GeoCache there for a couple of years until the site was cleared, which attracted GPS buffs to find a hidden container at the site and introduce them to some fast food nostalgia.
This is a composite photo I created, using a photo of the Marlton Burger Chef site and addding a photo of a Burger Chef building from another location to recreate how the site looked. The shopping center on the left was built after Burger Chef closed though.
Another composite photo of the Marlton Burger Chef site I made.
June, 1967 ad from Evesham Township News
Evesham Township News, June 16, 1966...
Frank Juliano of Juliano Corporation was granted approval for a Burger Chef to be constructed on a two-acre site on Route 73 north of the Marlton Circle.
The (planning) board's approval specified that all present out-building on the site be removed by the time a certificate of occupancy is issued and that any use of the remaining land be considered by the board.
Evesham Township News, March 23, 1967...
Burger Chef Sign: Variance Denied
A request for a variance to erect a sign at the Burger Chef on north Route 73 was denied by the zoning board at Monday's meeting.
William Juliano's proposal for a 162 square foot sign to be placed 35 feet from the highway was unanimously rejected on the grounds he had been aware of the zoning code's limitation on signs of 100 square feet.
Juliano told the board he anticipated opening the restaurant within the next 30 days, and claimed the sign he requested was necessary to insure the success of his business.
The developer said the national Burger Chef representatives were prepared to give him a 162 square foot sign, and limiting the size to 100 square feet would require making a new one.
He admitted to being aware of the zoning code restrictions, and said he had informed the company, but was told to ask for a variance.
He said the highway frontage belonging to the State Highway Department and the large willow trees on that 10-foot strip, together with the additional 15 foot setback required for the sign, would make it difficult for a 100-foot sign to be seen by transient traffic coming down the highway.
Juliano added he had served proper notice of the variance request on the property owners within a 200-foot distance of his property line, but no one had come forward with objections.
He said the additional 62 feet would not be objectionable, and that similar requests had been granted by the zoning boards in Hammonton, Maple Shade and Cherry Hill.
Board member Jack Higgins said, "If these trees had been placed on the property after you bought it, perhaps we would look at the situation differently.
"However, the trees must have been planted there for at least 40 years. You havn't made one statement yet to show you have been deluded in any way."
Board Chairman William Kuhlman said the zoners were not trying to "impede commercial growth." He added that Juliano "must look at the Township's side" of the matter.
Kuhlman said the request was for a sign "almost 60 percent in excess of the zoning code." If this (the request) were closer to complying the board might be more willing.
Zoning Officer and Building Inspector George Richer said Juliano had claimed in September that he would comply with the ordinance and would not need a variance.
Richer added he turned down a request by Sunoco Service Station for a 200-foot sign. "If we permit this sign," he said, "I'll have one heck of a time explaining it."
Evesham Township News, October 19, 1967
Zoners Continue Sign Variance
A request for variance by the Juliano Corporation to move an existing sign at Burger Chef, Route 73, to within inches of the property line was continued by the zoning board at it's Monday, Oct. 16 meeting.
Petitioner William T. Juliano explained that his property was leased to Burger Chef and that the tenants were upset because the existing sign was not visible for more than 50 feet on the highway.
The reason for the extension of the sign centered around the obstruction by trees on an adjoining property. "We feel that by extending the sign out to the property line," said Juliano, "that this situation would be corrected.
Juliano explained that the transient business operated by his tenants depends on the fact that the sign could be visible from a safe slowing and stopping distance. "This man's livelihood depends on attracting customers in this manner," he said.
The board continued the hearing until the Nov. 20 meeting to give the members a chance to make an on site investigation.
Another memorable Fast Food restaurant in Marlton
This would be facing the service counter, which was the horizontal line running across the center of the photo, from the lobby.
April 24, 2009 photo taken from Burger Chef driveway showing beginning of Marlton Circle Replacement Project. An off-ramp was built between the utility poles (poles on the left were removed), to the left of the sign base shown near center of picture.
The clearing of the site for the road project brought the end to the Marlton Burger Chef 'shrine'. Many fans of Burger Chef nostalgia took souvenir floor tiles that remained since the 1977 demolition. This area is now a drainage ditch.
The three photos below are from Bill Ore, showing the Marlton Burger Chef site in later years. Bill is a Burger Chef fan who worked for them from the late 1960's through the 1970's starting in Southern New Jersey then Virginia and Indiana...
The Marlton Burger Chef Site Today...
After all these years the demolition of Marlton Burger Chef has been completed.
These hunks of concrete were the base and footing of the road sign.
The following two pictures were taken May 22, 2009 - by this time all vestiges of Burger Chef have been obliterated......
The Marlton Circle Replacement project was started in April, 2009 One of the first areas affected was the Marlton Burger Chef site.This image is from a NJ Highway Department plan showing Marlton Burger Chef property (Shown within red) after the road project is completed. To see full plan visit this page.
1970 aerial photograph of the Marlton Burger Chef property, shown with red line.
There were residences on either side of the property.
Close-up aerial view of the Marlton Burger Chef in 1970.
Febuary, 1980 photo of Marlton Burger Chef site. We can also see the Two Guys outdoor garden center (under canopy) and Grossman's Lumber (white striped building at distance).
May, 2011 photo of the Marlton Burger Chef site.
Passing the front of the Marlton Burger Chef site, beyond the guard rail and overhead sign, today is the off-ramp to Route 70 from Route 73 and the approach to the overpass that replaced the Marlton Circle.
Burger Chef front service counter and menu board from the late 1960s.