Wimpy's History

I put this video together for use at Wimpy’s Day (September 19, 2015) at Centenary Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau.

My father, Freeman Lewis, owned Wimpy’s Drive-In and Grocery store from 1942 to 1973 along with his parents, Fred and Ethel Lewis and brothers Frank and Bill.

We broke out the secret Wimpyburger recipe to sell Wimpyburgers as a fundraiser for the church.
In Cape Girardeau, a Wimpy's hamburger business began in a small stand next to a filling station located by the entrance to Arena Park. The Wimpy's hamburger stand was first owned by the Bilderbacks in 1935. Mr. and Mrs. Ted Daugherty purchased the business soon after. Around 1940 the filling station went out of business, the Daughertys converted the filling station into an expanded Wimpy's. They put in an efficiency living area in the back. There was a counter with 4 stools for inside dining. Behind the counter was the grill and small kitchen. Curb hops waited on customers in cars outside.

In May 1942 my father Freeman and his friend Bill Magill stopped in to have a hamburger. When Dad was talking to Mrs. Daughtery, she mentioned she wanted to sell the business for $800. Dad and his mother and father talked it over and decided they would see if they could raise the money. They did, and took over that summer. Dad was 19. The building was being rented from the city of Cape Girardeau for $30 a month.


Wimpy's History Gallery

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  •  Original Wompy's stand - 1936

    Original Wompy's stand - 1936

  •  Original Wimpy's stand to right of filling station in front of Arena Park

    Original Wimpy's stand to right of filling station in front of Arena Park

  •  Wimpy's takes over entire filling station building.

    Wimpy's takes over entire filling station building.

  •  Fred Lewis and son Bill run Wimpy's while Freeman serves in WWII.

    Fred Lewis and son Bill run Wimpy's while Freeman serves in WWII.

  •  Kukendahl's Garage, purched in 1947 to be the new Wimpy's

    Kukendahl's Garage, purched in 1947 to be the new Wimpy's

  •  Freeman Lewis in front of the new Wimpy's about 1948

    Freeman Lewis in front of the new Wimpy's about 1948

  •  Freeman and his parents, Fred and Ethel

    Freeman and his parents, Fred and Ethel

  •  Wimpy's about 1965

    Wimpy's about 1965

  •  Interior of restaurant

    Interior of restaurant

  •  Wimpy's after closing in 1973

    Wimpy's after closing in 1973