WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Good service, food at heart of Burger Boy success

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The Burger Boy restaurant at 201 Ward Blvd., shown here in 2011, is a classic Wilson icon.
The Burger Boy restaurant at 201 Ward Blvd., shown here in 2011, is a classic Wilson icon.
Times file photo
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A lot has changed since 1969, but Burger Boy has remained largely the same and now the popular eatery is celebrating 50 years of serving the community with some anniversary deals.

“We made some changes in the 1970s. When it first opened, we didn’t have the walk-in area,” said owner Marion Boykin. “You walked up to a window outside and ordered, but after three years, we added the walk-up area you see now, but that is really the last major thing we’ve done to it.”

Boykin and his partner owned the Starlite Drive-In adjacent to the Burger Boy property, but when that was closed and the company shuttered in 1984, the restaurant became the property of Wilson Amusement Co. And when his partner died in 1996, the 84-year-old man owned 100 percent of the business.

“It really is an accident the Burger Boy is there at all. My partner and I ran the drive-in theater. The office and restaurant was all a grassy field in 1968 and Ward Boulevard was two lanes at the time,” Boykin recalled. “We didn’t have a lot to do in the daytime, so we got the bright idea that we would get one of those food trailers to sell hot dogs at lunchtime to people on Ward Boulevard. The first thing we did was talk to the health inspector and in about three minutes, he disqualified that idea and said he wasn’t going to let it happen. Well, not to be outdone, we came back and borrowed $125,000 and built the Burger Boy.

“If he had let us put the trailer there, the restaurant probably wouldn’t be there.”

Boykin used his experience serving customers at the drive-in snack bar and combined it with his expectation as a customer to a motto that lives on today.

“Since I’ve been in the food business, our motto has been, ‘We serve good food with good service,’” Boykin said. “That, to me, is the key to having a good restaurant. That and having a good location.”

When Burger Boy opened, specially designed compressed air drive-up windows were installed and the four windows that mimicked a laundry window down the street were the only ones like it at the time. The food served through those windows hasn’t varied much through the years, prepared under the leadership of longtime manager Ricky Reason for 45 of the 50 years before Dawn Meacomes took on the role.

The Big Brother — an oversized cheeseburger served with mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato — with fries is a signature item, but Boykin said hot dogs are the best seller.

“Hot dogs for sure,” he said. “We probably sell four hot dogs to one of everything else, but cheeseburgers would be second.”

Boykin said he’d like to expand the seating area, but a renovation isn’t in the works just yet. For the 50th anniversary, Burger Boy staff and the Wilson Chamber of Commerce will hold a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 29. Hot dogs and cheeseburgers will both be two for $1 (limit one special per person) from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and medium drinks will be 50 cents all day long that day. Five $50 gift cards to the eatery also will be given out throughout the day.

“I’ve been in Wilson all my life. I know a lot of people and I’ve fed a lot of them, so I’m honored to have withstood the test of time,” Boykin said. “I’d just like to thank our customers for 50 years and hopefully someone will have it for another 50 years.”

EXTRA! EXTRA!

Owners of the aptly named Furniture Liquidators have announced the business is closing the doors at 1951 Westwood Ave. and everything is up to 60 percent off.

Signs began popping up around town last week and customers have flocked to get a deal on furniture, mattresses, decorative accents and more Some financing is available for the $3 million sell-off, but cash and credit cards are preferred. No closing date has been announced.

Got an idea for news to include in next week’s Main Street Minute? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 252-265-7821 or bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com.

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