BRUNSWICK — For more than six decades, Fat Boy drive-in has been a family affair and a Mid-Coast icon.
On Nov. 30, the beloved burger joint, reportedly one of the country’s only remaining drive-in hamburger spots – where customers could order and eat without leaving their cars or pickup trucks – went up for sale.
“It’s time for everyone to enjoy life and move on to something else,” owner Ken Burton said Monday.
The drive-in at 111 Bath Road, across from the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, sold its first Whopper Burger Basket in 1955. John Bollinger (Ken’s uncle) and Joe Burton (Ken’s father) were the original owners.
Burton said he and his wife, Jeanne, are now ready to retire after running the business for close to 35 years.
“It’s tough, you work 16-hour days and even on your day off, you still have to come in and make sure everything was closed down right,” he said
Burton and Jeanne took over in 1984, six years after Ken’s father died in 1978.
Their son and daughter, Brian Burton and Jamie Burton Alexander, have worked alongside their parents since they were children.
“We asked our kids if they wanted to run it, but they really didn’t want to,” Burton said. “It’s a 20-hour-a-day job owning a restaurant and they didn’t want to be tied down to it.”
The drive-in closed for the season after Labor Day, but there was no announcement that Fat Boy would be up for sale.
“Some people were upset that we didn’t tell them we were selling, but it’s time,” Burton said.
He said if a buyer doesn’t come through by March or April, he might consider reopening. But that is a huge “if.”
The restaurant is listed for sale for $1.15 million and is being sold by Magnusson Brokers. Realtor Victor Tedford said he has already received calls from prospective buyers.
The Burtons are preparing to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this month and are ready to retire and enjoy themselves.
“We’ve never had a summer in Maine in 35 years,” Burton said. “… This is what I am excited about, to enjoy a summer in Maine. I just want to be able to do that. We will be able to go to the beach or do things at night on the weekends.”
Burton says he knows the community is heartbroken over the news of the drive-in closing, and he appreciates the support he and his wife had from the community.
“The people in town and all around still came to our place and that is what made us so great,” he said.
One regular patron was Town Councilor David Watson, who said he is “sad” to see Fat Boy up for sale.
“One can only hope that some person purchases Fat Boy and continues the history,” Watson said.
Burton offered simple advice for prospective buyers.
“If you keep it the same way as it was,” he said, “then you’ll do well.”
Fat Boy drive-in on Bath Road in Brunswick is for sale for $1.15 million. It has been family owned and operated since 1955.