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Original Wineburger in Phoenix closes after 53 years of service

Posted at 6:07 PM, May 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-13 22:26:30-04

It’s been around since Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency, but Sunday night, the doors will be closing for the last time at the Original Wineburger.

Since 1965, it’s been serving thousands of customers and countless burgers. 

“It was the neighborhood hangout,” said owner Kathleen Courter.

Back then, it was nestled to the east on 19th Avenue and Bethany Home Road. She says it was the spot where people came to enjoy a wineburger and a drink. 

Denver Davis has been going to the Original Wineburger for more than ten years. He even followed it when it moved from its old location last year.

“We love coming here,” Davis said. “Honestly, it’s one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.”

Kathleen and Lynn Courter bought the burger joint 13 years ago. The Courters said it’s emotional for them to say goodbye.

“It’s really depressing to work this hard and see it fail,” Kathleen said, adding that their problems began when the light rail went under construction. “We were forced out because of the light rail.”

She says most of their customers didn’t want to deal with the hassle of dealing with all the construction. Then, the owners of the property where they were located told them they had to go.

“We found out that the corner that we sat on had been sold,” Kathleen said. 

That was last year, and by August they had moved to their current location on 7th Avenue just north of Indian School Road, but even then the customers just stopped coming.

“I don’t get it, they’re not coming," Kathleen said. “Food is the same; it’s just what’s different? They don’t know where we are?”

Customers say what made this place so great wasn’t just the food but the history.

Arizona’s first female governor Rose Mofford was a regular at the original location.

The owner’s loyalty to their customers went as far as to immortalize many of their loyal customers on their wall right as you walk in through the door. 

For those who stayed, Sunday was a tough farewell.

“I cannot believe I just had my last wineburger. I’m actually gonna order another one to take home,” Davis said.