From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Industry fast-food restaurants
Fate closed
Founded 1959
Founder 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 which existed from 1959 to 1975. At its peak, Wetson's had approximately 70 locations in the greater New York metropolitan area.

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.


Herb Wetanson started the Wetson’s Hamburger chain. While on a road trip to San Bernardino, California, Herb happened to stop by the original McDonald's Hamburger Drive In restaurant, owned and operated by the McDonald brothers. Having grown up working in his father Carl Wetanson’s restaurants, Herb was drawn to this new and unique style of what has now become known as “fast food” restaurant. Recognizing Herb’s enthusiasm in the business, the McDonald brothers were kind enough to show Herb around. Herb quickly realized that this type of restaurant would be a perfect fit back home on Long Island, where at that time there were no drive in restaurants.

Upon arriving home from the service, Herb immediately began scouting locations for Long Island’s first 15 cent hamburger drive in restaurant. Recognizing the Levittown area of Long Island shared a similar post war demographic to that of San Bernardino, he focused his search there. Herb found a closed Mayflower coffee and donut shop and along with his younger brother Errol Wetanson, chose this as their first location. Investing his life savings and a loan from his mother Grace construction began. The first Wetson’s was opened in 1959.

McDonald's and Burger King entered the New York City market in the early 1970s and Wetson's struggled against the larger national chains.[1] 29 Wetson's locations were sold.[2]

As of 2012, the Wetson's mark is owned by a Long Island,New York-based food and hospitality group. A relaunch of the brand is expected in late 2016.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Wetson's-Nathan's Merger Set". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ "Nathan's Hunt for an Upturn". The New York Times.