South Central, Los Angeles– In 1952, Lovie Yancey and her co-investor founded Mr. Fatburger on Western Avenue in South Central, Los Angeles near exposition park. Yancey had previously operated a business in Tucson and wanted to expand her entrepreneurial skills. Yancey and her daughter had recently moved to Los Angeles a few years earlier in 1947.
Lovie Yancey created one of the most successful African-American burger chains and embodied the true entrepreneurial spirit that many Blacks of that time possessed; despite blatant discrimination as well as segregation.
The original Fatburger stand is described as a post war world II eatery with three bar stools out front. Her business partner is said to have worked in construction and used scrap-metal to build the Fatburger stand.
Yancey split with her partner years later and decided to drop the “Mr.”
Thus, Fatburger was born.
Yancey was a familiar face around the burger stand, sometimes working 16-hour shifts to ensure business ran smoothly and burgers were cooked correctly.
Eventually, Yancey opened a second location in Beverly Hills on La Cienega Boulevard. Celebrities including Red Foxx and Ray Charles were frequent visitors at the location.
In 1990, the Texas native sold the rights of Fatburger to a group of investors but maintained control of the original Western location. She eventually sold the property in 2007. One of the agreements drafted in the purchase of the original Fatburger property is that it can never be torn down.