Halo Burger

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Halo Country, LLC[1]
Halo Burger
Private LLC
Industry Fast Food
Founded Flint, Michigan, U.S., (1923)
Founder Samuel V. Blair
Headquarters ,
United States
Number of locations
  • 8 restaurants
  • 1 food truck
  • 9 total (September 2017)[3]
Area served
MI: Central Michigan
Key people
  • Chance Richie
  • (CEO, Halo Country, LLC)[1]
  • Paul Warren
  • (Halo Country COO)[4]
  • Jim Sutherland
  • (Director of Operations)[1]
Members Chance Richie
Daniel Stern[5]
Number of employees
350 (2013)[6]
Website haloburger.com

Halo Burger, formerly known by its full name Bill Thomas' Halo Burger, is a fast-food restaurant chain based in Genesee County, Michigan[7] owned by Halo Country, LLC. Begun in 1923 as the original Kewpee location and separating from the Kewpee chain in 1967 with two locations, the chain has since grown to 17 locations in the region only to drop to 12.

It is not easy to determine a single founding date for the company because the company evolved from the original Kewpee location opened in 1923 which expanded into a chain before 1944 when Thomas started his business that would later be named Halo Burger by leasing the original location.[7][8][9]


Samuel V. Blair opened Kewpee Hotel restaurant in downtown Flint and expanded to approximately 400 locations by 1939 through licensing the name.[10][11] William "Bill" V. Thomas started working at Kewpee in 1938.[7] Thomas began leasing the original Harrison Street, Flint location from Blair upon his retirement on April 1, 1944. Blair died in 1945 and Thomas continued to lease the location and pay royalties for use of the Kewpee name from the estate until the Kewpee trademark and Blair estate owned locations went up for sale in 1958. Thomas was able to purchase the Flint location but the Kewpee trademark was sold to Ed Adams of Toledo, Ohio. Thomas expanded with a second Kewpee location downtown Flint with the purchase of Vernor's Ginger Ale building in 1951.[7]

Halo Burger

Adams switched from a trademark license of Kewpee to a full franchising arrangement in 1967. Thomas rejected this new arrangement and changed the name of his restaurants to Bill Thomas' Halo Burger.[7] Halo Burgers' first location only under the Halo Burger name opens in 1973 on Linden Road. But during construction, Bill Thomas died that year. In 1976, two more locations join the chain on West Pierson Road and in downtown Grand Blanc at a former Perkins Pancake House.[12][13][14] In 1979, the Harrison location was vacated to make way for University of Michigan-Flint parking.[15] The staff of the former Harrison Street location were transferred to a newly opened Halo Burger serving Flint's east side.[12]

The 1980s became a decade of expansion with 10 more locations, starting in 1984 with another Downtown location.[12] In 1985, Halo Burger expanded to Birch Run, Michigan,[12] with a location that was opened on property leased at Conlee Oil Company's station.[16] Locations in Saginaw and Flint's Southwest side opened in 1986. Another location in Saginaw followed in 1987 along with the Richfield Road and Genesee Valley Center locations. Three more locations opened in 1988: in Fenton, at Atherton Road and at Corunna Road near Ballenger Highway.[12] The Saginaw, Genesee Valley Center and Corunna Road locations later closed.[17] Their Grand Blanc Downtown location closed in 1998 and was replaced by a location in Grand Blanc Township.[12]

On September 5, 2002, Halo Burger takes over the former Campus Cafe at University of Michigan-Flint University Center.[18] In November, the company recalled flashlights that were given out with kid's meals.[19] On July 22, 2007, all 11 locations were shut down for a day do to a possible E. coli contamination as their supplier, Abbott's Meat, had recalled a number of meat products and received meat from a temporary supplier.[20] Due to the new student housing and 24-hour food service, Sodexo, that goes along the housing, the University Center location closed April 21, 2008.[15]

Dortch Enterprises ownership

An initial attempt to sell the chain to key employees fell through after issues with the bank. As his son was uninterested in 2010, the Thomas family sold the nine location chain to Dortch Enterprises, which operates multiple Subway restaurants in Michigan, with the sale completed on December 29, 2010[7] for a price of about $10 million.[21] Dortch will be expanding to new locations and making over of the restaurants towards a "fast-casual feel" with earth tones and "upscale decor".[22] In 2011, the company announced they are adding locations in the Oakland County/Detroit metro area in late 2012[23] and that they would be adding 2 to 3 locations per year.[24] While Dortch feels that Halo Burger locations would do well in East Lansing with Michigan State University and Ann Arbor with University of Michigan having Flint area university students, plans for opening in those cities have been put on hold.[23]

In June 2011, the Company broke ground for a new 10th location in Grand Blanc Township on Holly Road.[25] Three other sites have been selected for new locations: Fenton, Lapeer and Lapeer Road, Davison.[26] In October the Holly Road location opened.[27]

One opened in a gas station in Mount Morris in February 2012.[8] In August 2012, Dortch filed and received approval for a site plan for a joint Halo Burger-Subway location on Belsay Road in Burton.[28]

In January 2013, Halo Burger's Fenton location moved to a former Burger King building on Leroy Street.[29] A new Brighton, Michigan location was scheduled to open in May in Livingston County and would have been their first location in the Metro Detroit area.[30] In March, Dortch announced plans for 5 Oakland County locations: Troy, Clarkston, Novi, Bingham Farms and Farmington Hills and an East Lansing location to open this year along with the existing announced Brighton location.[31] The joint Halo Burger-Subway Burton location opened March 27.[32]

On February 5, 2013, Dortch Halo Enterprises sued a Grand Blanc man who is using @haloburger Twitter handle since 2009 and has been unwilling to turn the handle over to the company without payment. The man's defense is that he is not using it commercial, Twitter handles are first come first served and the "Halo Burger" trademark was supposedly rejected by the U.S. Trademark Office for being too similar to another trademark.[33] Dortch Halo dropped the lawsuit to "prevent more controversy." in April.[34]

On May 8, 2013, the Halo Burger in Clarkston opens, its first in Oakland County[35] with a shift to fast casual format with no drive-through in its Oakland County locations.[36] On October 6, Ferndale and Rochester locations were revealed to be under construction along with four others already announced[21] with the Frandor Shopping Center, Lansing location opening up on the 7th.[37]

In early March 2014, the third fully fast-casual format location was opened in Troy.[38] The week of July 26, Dortch Halo opened it seventeenth location at the Brighton Mall, Brighton.[39] By 2016, two locations were closed, Troy and Clarkston.[1]

Halo Country subsidiary

Dortch Enterprises sold the 15 location Halo Burger chain to Halo Country LLC on January 14, 2016. Halo Country is majority owned by Chance Richie, who has been involved in investment banking and the oil and gas industry.[1] With the Flint water crisis occurring, the three Flint and Burton locations were handing out free bottled water on January 22, 2016 with support from Coca Cola Company.[40]

In March 2016, Halo Burger began renovating its downtown Flint location with plans to continue renovation at locations in Birch Run and on Linden Road in Flint Township. Office were being added upstairs at the downtown location.[4] Also in early March, a new location was opened at the Palace of Auburn Hills in the chain's first professional sports partnership.[41] Starting with the July 2016 Back to the Bricks, the company would have a Halo Burger food truck for community events.[42]

Three locations, Brighton, Novi and Fenton Road, were closed in late September 2016 due to poor sales. Halo Country felt a drive-thru would improve sales at Metro Detroit locations, but the cost and location outside of Halo Burgers' area of recognition made that unreasonable.[43] By September 29, 2016, the Brighton location was closed with a Burgerland opened in its location.[44]

Two stores in Genesee County closed on January 6, 2017. The Mt. Morris Township location was located in a Beacon & Bridge gas station where Halo could not agree on a new lease with the landlord. A replace site is being look for with expectation of reopening in late 2017. While, the Richfield Road, Genesee Township location was closed due to lack of sales and closeness to three others.[43] In September 2017, its Holly Road, Grand Blanc Township location was closed then the location was leased by Halo Country to Tiki Pineapple restaurant in August 2018.[3]

In January 2017, Halo Burger signed Andre Drummond as its first spokesperson and brand ambassador, which arose out of his interest in Flint arising out of the water crisis and Piston owner's Flint Now response effort. In February 2017, Drummond will design his own burger, the Dre Burger, to join the menu in the second quarter and participate in community outreach of the company.[45] The Dre Burger debut on April 16, 2017, with a benefit official launch event on Saturday, May 6, 2017.[46]

Thrillist named Halo Burger one of the 10 most underrated burger chains in February 2017 calling out The Beefy Double cheeseburger as the chain's best burger and its signatures burger as the Olive Burger and the "drink of choice", the Boston Cooler.[47] Originating under the Thomas ownership, the chain revived a coffee pricing promotion starting on January 3, 2018. A regular-sized (14 ounces) coffee is price at the high temperature of the day but not less than 10 cents and during the work week.[48]

By March 18, 2018, the Saginaw Street Downtown Flint location started serving breakfast again, which was stopped about a decade back. The chain has plans to roll out breakfast to other locations throughout the year.[49]


  • Q.P.: Original called the Kewpee, its name is a phonetic sound-out of the original name.[7] The Q.P. is also a short form reference to the patty size, a quarter pound hamburger. This still today remains one of the Halo Burger's most popular sandwiches, especially with olives.[50][51]
    • Olive Burger - a Q.P. with olives[52]
  • The Beefy Double[47]
  • Boston Cooler - with Vernor's Ginger Ale[51][53]
  • Specialty burgers[35]
    • BLT Cheddar Burger
    • Hula Burger
    • Thai Burger
    • Marsala Brie
    • HaloPeño Burger[32]
    • Dre Burger - two patties, bacon strips, cheese, pineapple, crispy and raw onion ring and a mix of Halo & BBQ sauces[46]
  • hot dogs - supplied by Koegel
  • Coney dog - Flint style
  • Salads
  • Turkey burger - Jennie-O[52]

Notable location

The Downtown Flint location was previously Vernor's Retail Store and Sandwich shop built in 1929. A Vernor's Ginger Ale mural (including the ginger ale's gnome mascot) covers the adjacent Greater Flint Arts Council building and was painted by John Gonsowski. The restaurant's interior iron railing still contain large wrought V's.[53]


  • 1978 Top 100 United States Burgers by a national radio survey[54]
  • 1983 Voted Flint's #1 hamburger by a Flint Journal Newspaper survey[7][54][55][56]
  • 2000 Voted Michigan's #1 hamburger by a Detroit News Reader Survey[7][54][56]
  • 2011 Best Hamburger of Genesee Readers' Choice Awards, The Flint Journal[54]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Halo Country LLC Completes Acquisition of 90 Year Old Michigan Icon, Halo Burger". Restaurant News. January 14, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  2. ^ http://haloburger.com/img/Halo-Burger-Privacy-Policy.pdf
  3. ^ a b Acosta, Roberto (Aug 27, 2018). "New restaurant moving into former Grand Blanc Township Halo Burger". Flint Journal. MLive Media Group. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Conat, Randy (March 22, 2016). "Halo Burger's new owner plans to remodel some stores, attract a younger crowd". ABC12 News. WJRT. Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  5. ^ Young, Molly (September 27, 2016). "Halo Burger exceeds fundraiser goal, sponsors produce drop-offs in Flint". Flint Journal. MLive Media Group. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  6. ^ Jacobson, Marc (September 16, 2013). "Halo Burger celebrates 90th anniversary". ABC12.com. WJRT. Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Rauschert, Jeff (2010-12-28). "Halo Burger to be sold by Thomas family to Dortch Enterprises". NBC 25 News. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  8. ^ a b Fonger, Ron (March 19, 2012). "Halo Burger opens 11th location in Mt. Morris Township". Flint Journal. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  9. ^ Turner, Kris (December 29, 2010). "Thomas family saddened to hand over Halo Burger". The Flint Journal. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  10. ^ Whit Smyth (2010-01-24). "Kewpee Hamburgers - Lima, Ohio". Nation's Restaurant News. Archived from the original on December 11, 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  11. ^ Hogan, David Gerard (1997). Selling 'em by the Sack: White Castle and the Creation of American Food (1st ed.). NYU Press. p. 50. ISBN 0-8147-3567-3. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
  12. ^ a b c d e f "The Halo Burger History". Halo Burger. Archived from the original on June 13, 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  13. ^ Flint Suburban, Michigan, Directory. R.L. Polk. 1971. p. 1234. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  14. ^ "halo+burger"++%2B+"old+bridge" Flint Suburban, Michigan, Directory. R.L. Polk. 1987. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  15. ^ a b Christy Ryan (2008-04-21). "Halo Burger reluctant to leave in fall" (shtml). Michigan Times. Flint, Michigan: University of Michigan-Flint. Retrieved 2008-06-02. [permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "History". About Us. Conlee Oil Company. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  17. ^ "Our Locations". haloburger.com. Halo Burger. Archived from the original on July 6, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  18. ^ Abercrombie, Shena (2002-06-10). "With Halo Burger on campus no excuse for hungry students". The Flint Journal. Archived from the original on 2002-06-10. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  19. ^ Vaughn, Marlon (2002-11-16). "Halo Burger kids meal flashlights recalled". The Flint Journal. Archived from the original on 2002-11-16. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  20. ^ Bach, Matt (July 24, 2007). "Halo Burger restaurants reopen after E. coli concern". The Flint Journal. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  21. ^ a b Skid, Nathan (October 8, 2013). "Eat to grow: Burger chain looks to surround region with Halo havens". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  22. ^ Turner, Kris (January 23, 2011). "Halo Burger could expand to Lapeer, Fenton or Davison this year". Flint Journal. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  23. ^ a b Turner, Kris (January 4, 2011). "New Halo Burger owner keeps old staples, plans for more locations in Genesee County". The Flint Journal. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  24. ^ Yung, Katherine (June 2, 2011). "Flint's Halo Burger chain to debut in metro Detroit in '12". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on December 12, 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  25. ^ Rabinowitz, Nyssa (June 22, 2011). "New Halo Burger breaks ground in Grand Blanc Township". Flint Journal. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  26. ^ Rabinowitz, Nyssa (June 23, 2011). "New Halo Burger brings jobs to Grand Blanc, will continue to expand". Flint Journal. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  27. ^ "A new Halo". Grand Blanc View. 2011-11-17. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  28. ^ Acosta, Roberto (August 15, 2012). "Growth spurt: Halo Burger and Volunteers of America thrift store may bring boost to Burton economy". The Flint Journal. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  29. ^ DeFever, Dana (January 7, 2013). "Halo Burger announces move for its Fenton restaurant". The Flint Journal. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  30. ^ Totten, Jim (February 5, 2013). "Halo Burger coming to Brighton area". Daily Press & Argus. Archived from the original on March 15, 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  31. ^ Franklin, Matt (Mar 15, 2013). "Halo Burger expands across the state". ABC 12. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  32. ^ a b Allen, Jeremy (March 26, 2013). "Burton Halo Burger to open Wednesday, March 27". Flint Journal. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  33. ^ Harris, David (April 15, 2013). "Halo Burger sues Grand Blanc man over Twitter handle". Flint Journal. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  34. ^ Harris, David (April 15, 2013). "Halo Burger dismisses its suit against Grand Blanc Township man using its name on Twitter". Flint Journal. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  35. ^ a b Beaudoin, Andrea. Halo Burger now open Archived 2013-11-02 at the Wayback Machine. June 26, 2013. Clarkston News. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  36. ^ Rector, Sylvia. Flint's Halo Burger expands into Oakland County with new locations, decor and menu. July 13, 2013. Free Press. Retrieved July 15, 2013. Archived October 22, 2013.
  37. ^ Halo Burger Ribbon Cutting. Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. Accessed on November 1, 2013.
  38. ^ "Troy welcomes Halo Burger's 15th location". The Macomb Daily. March 4, 2014. Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  39. ^ Whitesell, Amanda (July 27, 2014). "Halo Burger brings 'wow factor' to Brighton". Daily Press & Argus. Archived from the original on August 27, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  40. ^ Adams, Dominic (January 22, 2016). "Halo Burger's new owners give away free water at 3 Flint locations". Flint Journal. MLive Media Group. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  41. ^ Shea, Bill (March 21, 2016). "Halo Burger opens at Palace of Auburn Hills". Crains Detroit Business. Crain Communications, Inc. Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  42. ^ Adams, Dominic (June 10, 2016). "Halo Burger food truck to hit the road soon". Flint Journal. Mlive Media Group. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  43. ^ a b Acosta, Roberto (January 6, 2017). "Two Halo Burger locations close, plans in works for new facility". Flint Journal. Mlive Media Group. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  44. ^ Hernandez, Noe (October 23, 2016). "Vegas-style Burgerland opens in Brighton". Livingston Daily. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  45. ^ Woodyard, Eric (January 26, 2017). "Andre Drummond becomes spokesman, brand ambassador for Halo Burger". Flint Journal. Mlive Media Group. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  46. ^ a b "Halo Burger, Andre Drummond introduce the Dre Burger". Flint Journal. Mlive Media Group. April 15, 2017. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  47. ^ a b Breslouer, Lee (February 23, 2017). "Underrated Burger Chains That Need to Be in Every State". Thrillist. Group Nine Media Inc. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  48. ^ "How low can it go? Halo Burger offers cup of coffee at price of high temp". Flint Journal. MLive Media Group. January 2, 2018. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  49. ^ "Breakfast is back at Halo Burger thanks to downtown business surge". ABC12. Grey Media. March 18, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  50. ^ Allen, Stu (June 20, 2011). "Halo Burger Expanding". WCRZ. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  51. ^ a b Orchant, Rebecca (2012-10-31). "Vernors Ginger Ale Is America's Oldest And Michigan's Favorite". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  52. ^ a b Rummel, Sally (February 15, 2013). "Halo Burger Continues Fenton tradition at new location". Tri-County Times. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  53. ^ a b Raymer, Marjory (August 13, 2008). "Vernors fans bringing pop culture to Flint". The Flint Journal. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  54. ^ a b c d "Best hamburger: Halo Burger". The Flint Journal. June 5, 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  55. ^ "Number 1". Flint Journal. Flint, Michigan: Booth Newspapers. 1984-02-07. p. C1.
  56. ^ a b Dave. "Restaurants of Interest". Cuisine, A Semi-Exhaustive Guide. Frog Leg Productions. Archived from the original on 2008-04-12. Retrieved 2008-06-02.

External links

  • official web site
  • A Tasty Part of Flint History—The former Vernor's outlet in Flint, MI, now Halo Burger
  • Explain history at Kewpee's site
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