Many Texans might try and argue they’re Whataburger’s biggest fan — but have they been to 757 different Whataburger locations? Rockport’s 79-year-old Karl Hoepfner has.
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According to The McAllen Monitor, Hoepfner visited a Brownsville Whataburger this week in an effort to continue a mission he and his late wife started in 2012: to visit every Whataburger in existence.
Karl and Carol #Hoepfner of Rockport, Whataburger's Biggest Fans, stopped by the @Whataburger on 8th Street. pic.twitter.com/50KkJwTJ
— OAphotoEditor (@OAphotoEditor) May 8, 2012
And they did. As of 2013, the couple had visited all 730 restaurants in 10 states. The chain even declared them its biggest fans. In a Texas Monthly article in 2013, the couple said they had started their quest while Carol Hoepfner was undergoing radiation treatment for a rare form of eye cancer.
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Their affinity with Whataburger dates back to 1963, according to an article in Food Republic. Karl said he and Carol were stationed in San Angelo as part of the Air Force and were looking for a good meal for a great price. “We found both in Whataburger, so we stuck with it,” he said.
But earlier this year, after 59 years of marriage, Carol died.
“My wife had eye cancer, and she just passed in February,” Karl told The Monitor. “We had visited all the stores through 2013. She got so bad that she couldn’t go with me anymore. After she passed, I’ve been kind of lonesome and I don’t have much to do, so I decided I’d go out and visit some more stores.”
Karl, who has developed a relationship with Whataburger over the past few years, received a list from the chain with every restaurant that had been built since 2013. His stop in Brownsville marked No. 24 and he still has about 50 left to go.
To read more about this truly Texas love story, click here.