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Industry fast-food restaurants
Fate closed
Founded 1959
Founder(s) Herbert Wetanson
Defunct 1975
Headquarters New York, California, U.S
Number of locations 70 (at its peak)
Products hamburgers

Wetson's was an American fast food hamburger chain[1] which existed from 1959 to 1975. At its peak, Wetson's had approximately 70 locations in the greater New York metropolitan area, including Sunrise Highway in Valley Stream, Staten Island (at 1767 Forest Ave, now Firestone's auto next to Wendy's), 1525 Hylan Blvd (now Mr. Bargain auto parts),(2875 Richmond Avenue, in the Richmond shopping center next to Pathmark), a branch in Hicksville on Old Country Road (now a Dunkin Donuts, in an all new building) and one in Commack (on Jericho Turnpike). There were Wetson's in Brooklyn at 7th Avenue and 86th Street (where Nathan's is today) and Bay Parkway and Shore Parkway(where Wendy's is now). For many years beginning in 1963 there was a Wetson's in Hazlet, NJ at the Airport Plaza Shopping Center. The nearest McDonalds at the time was 10 miles away in Middletown, NJ so it prospered for years. Wetsons had a branch in Pine Brook New Jersey, where Hook Mountain Road meets Route 46. That site is occupied by a Wendys restaurant today. Another Wetsons was located in Lodi New Jersey.

The chain was known for its signature burger, the "Big W", as well as 15-cent burgers, 10-cent fries, and the slogans "Look for the Orange Circles" and "Buy them by the bagful", phrases similar to the McDonald's slogan "Look for the Golden Arches" and White Castle's "Buy 'em by the sack". Wetson's also had two clown mascots in the style of McDonald's Ronald McDonald, named Wetty (female) and Sonny (male). The "Big W" was similar to today's Burger King Whopper. Wetsons also sold breakfast sandwiches.


Wetson's was co-founded in 1959 by both Herbert Wetanson and Harold Norbitz. While traveling through a Chicago suburb, they saw the popularity of McDonald's hamburger drive ins. They were impressed with the concept of cheap food and fast service. Herb returned to Long Island, New York borrowed money from his mother to open the first Wetson's Drive In. Herb and his brother, Errol, opened the first Wetson's in Levittown, N.Y. After seeing their success their father, Carl, invested in the idea and future stores. The Wetson' Hamburger chain was owned and operated by the Wetanson family. Harold Norbitz, a relative, was an employee of Wetson's and operated the chain.

By 1975, McDonald's and Burger King were battling for dominance in the New York market and Wetson's could no longer compete. That year, Nathan's Famous Inc., bought Wetson's. [2] Since 2011, the Wetson's name and mark is owned by National Food Brands Marketing Inc, a New York company. As of 2014, National Food Brands does not own or operate a food business.

See also[edit]