LOS ANGELES TIMES
Lovie Yancey, 96; founder of Fatburger restaurant chain
By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 2, 2008
Lovie Yancey, founder of the Fatburger restaurant chain, which began with a popular post-World War II hamburger stand in South Los Angeles, has died. She was 96.
Yancey, who had pneumonia, died Jan. 26 at Olympia Medical Center in Los Angeles, said her daughter, Gwen Adair.
Yancey had already operated a restaurant in Tucson and was living in Los Angeles in the late 1940s when she began thinking about launching a new food business.
"I settled on hamburgers because they were the fastest-selling sandwich in America," she told the Wave newspaper in 1985.
Yancey launched her foray into fast food by partnering with Charles Simpson, who worked for a construction company and reportedly used scrap materials to build a three-stool hamburger stand on Western Avenue near Jefferson Boulevard.
Opened in 1947, the business was called Mr. Fatburger.
"The name of the store was my idea," Yancey said. "I wanted to get across the idea of a big burger with everything on it . . . a meal in itself."
In 1952, Yancey shed both her business partner and the "Mr." in the hamburger stand's name, and Fatburger was officially born.
"I think of that stand as like a little postwar survivor that's a tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit of an African American woman who really did usher in what became a very good model for a franchise business," Adriene Biondo, chairman of the Los Angeles Conservancy's Modern Committee, told The Times on Friday....
http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/ ... 5811.story