LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — 2 p.m. | Since we were at the Whataburger opening, we decided to see how long it would take to order and get our food.
We hopped in line around noon, and it took a little over an hour to get our food.
It took 54 minutes to get into the restaurant and order, and it took an hour and two minutes to get our food. That is just ordering inside the restaurant, so if you plan on coming to @Whataburger, make sure to factor in traffic. pic.twitter.com/FfCHTQb3KF— Katharine Finnerty (@katie_finnerty) November 15, 2021
Katharine's order: A Whataburger with fries and a chocolate mint milkshake.
Casey's order: A chocolate mint milkshake and fries (she's vegetarian).
There are still long lines from Victoria Drive and Douglas Street.
Thank you for following along with our coverage.
11:45 a.m. | It has been 45 minutes since the restaurant opened and the line just keeps growing.
KSHB 41 News got to peak inside the restaurant and talk to customers who got in line early.
We ran into Matthew Ford and Wesley Harden while inside, and they got out of their car and were the first customers inside the restaurant.
Because of that, Ford and Harden received the Whataburger gift basket and a years supply of Whataburgers.
Ford did end up ordering the patty melt, and he said it was worth the wait.
Harden, because it was his first time, ordered the #1 combo - the Whataburger combo.
He said the burger was great and exceeded expectations.
However, it may be getting more difficult to get to the restaurant.
Missouri Department of Transportation posted on social media about a vehicle crash on Interstate 470 near Douglas St. - the exit for the new Whataburger.
MoDOT Kansas City also tweeted out 30 minutes ago that the line for the drive thru is now past I-470 and Douglas St.
MoDOT asked that people “pay attention and be courteous while waiting.”
11 a.m. | Whataburger is officially open.
The first two cars in line got 52 free Whataburgers - that's one for every week in the year.
Jackie Clark was first in line bright and early at 6 a.m.
She told KSHB 41 News reporter Charlie Keegan after receiving the news that she's told so many people about the chain that she should probably be considered a "brand evangelist."
Steven and Tiffany Shields were in the second car behind Clark and also received a year of free burgers.
Check back in for line updates. The line of cars is backed up well down the block, and a line of people outside wraps around the Whataburger building.
10:15 a.m. | It’s just under an hour until Whataburger opens.
A spokesperson for the company said that they will move the cones at 10:50 a.m. and let the first few cars into the drive thru.
Quite a few Whataburger employees are walking around outside preparing for the opening.
Employees are setting up the “now open” banners. pic.twitter.com/kpTyV8NnqN— Katharine Finnerty (@katie_finnerty) November 15, 2021
Over 20 people are waiting outside to go into the restaurant to order, and the line of cars continues to grow.
9:30 a.m. | A line is beginning to form.
Six cars are lined up with a little less than two hours until Whataburger officially opens.
Tiffany and Steven Shields were the second car in line. Steven is from Texas, but Tiffany is trying it for the first time today.
The third car in line was Matthew Ford and Wesley Harden.
Ford is from College Station, Texas, and he is excited to see the burger chain come to Kansas City.
Ford normally would order a honey butter chicken biscuit for breakfast, but since it will be after breakfast time, he is going to get a patty melt.
Harden said he is just along for the ride and will be following Ford’s recommendations since it is his first time trying Whataburger.
Another person in line said that they came this morning to try Whataburger for the first time because of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Bobby and Ann-Marie Reber are not new to the Texas-based chain, but they haven’t had a Whataburger in two years. They were the sixth car in line and ready to order.
8:15 a.m. | There has been more activity as the sun rises over the Lee’s Summit Whataburger.
Whataburger employees are cleaning the windows and setting up before the 11 a.m. opening.
Around five Lee’s Summit Police Department cars recently drove into the parking lot.
Cones are still blocking off the Whataburger from awaiting customers, and employees are being shuttled from their cars parked across the street at the movie theatre.
Cones have been blocking off the @Whataburger parking lot, so employees have been parking in the movie theatre parking lot across the street. This van has been shuttling the employees back and forth. pic.twitter.com/rZgX4huvlG— Katharine Finnerty (@katie_finnerty) November 15, 2021
7:45 a.m. | Jackie Clark is still going strong.
She told KSHB 41 that she set her alarm for 5 a.m. to be at the opening.
Clark plans to not only get Whataburger for herself, but also bring some to her niece at Lee’s Summit North High School.
What does Clark order you ask, that motivated her to wake up so early and wait in line for hours? Just a plain Whataburger, fries and a Diet Coke.
There’s nothing wrong with that, according to Dash Blaker, a spokesperson for Whataburger.
That’s what he recommended for new customers.
The Texas phenomenon has been expanding for years. There will be Whataburgers in 14 different states including Kansas and Missouri.
Don’t worry, this Lee’s Summit location will be like the rest - open 24/7 for 364 days.
Blaker said the only day Whataburger isn’t open is Christmas.
6:30 a.m. | We’re here at the Lee’s Summit Whataburger on opening day.
Currently, the store has blocked off its parking lot with cones, but cones aren’t going to stop fans of the burger chain from lining up.
KSHB 41 News reporter Charlie Keegan interviewed what looks like the first person in line - Jackie Clark.
“I think they are the perfect franchise,” Clark said. “They have great burgers, great fries and they have my favorite drink.”
Clark works remotely for her job, and she said as long as she has an internet connection she is all set.
“I’ve got my two phones, I’ve got my laptop and I’m ready to go,” Clark said.
.@CharlieKeegan41 caught up with the first woman in line…— Casey Murray (@caseyrmurray) November 15, 2021
“I think they are the perfect franchise,” she said.
Can’t argue with that.
The store officially opens at 11 a.m.
ORIGINAL STORY - 5:30 a.m.| Howdy y'all!
KSHB 41 News digital producers are up bright and early to cover the first Whataburger opening in the Kansas City area. The store is located in Lee's Summit at 1450 N.E. Douglas St. and will be opening at 11 a.m. Monday.
If you haven't heard, Whataburger announced last year that they planned to open stores in Kansas City.
This came after Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes campaigned to bring the Texas favorite to his new home.
Whataburger offered to send Mahomes a care package filled with different ketchups in 2018.
Mahomes replied "I just want a store in Kansas City!"
Whataburger later announced in March 2021 that they would be opening four locations in Lee's Summit, Independence, Overland Park and Blue Springs in the fall of 2021.
But, Mahomes of course had to get in on the action.
The quarterback is a part of a franchise group that is going to bring 30 Whataburger restaurants to the KC area.
Whataburger was founded in 1950 in Corpus Christi, Texas, and is now headquartered in San Antonio.
The fast-food chain has become famous further south for its spicy ketchup, burgers and creative shake options.
We will check in throughout the day as Kansas Citians line up and get a taste of the Texas favorite.