Killer Burger franchise expands to Spokane Valley
Restaurant slated to open in NovemberSeptember 28th, 2023
Killer Burger, a popular Portland, Oregon-based burger franchise that has made headlines with its potentially polarizing Peanut Butter Pickle Bacon burger, is expected to open in Spokane Valley on Nov. 15.
Franchisee Wescor Inc., owned by Rathdrum couple Wes and Coral Walterman, plans to open the new Killer Burger restaurant in the former Sweeto Burrito building at 15705 E. Broadway.
Wescor also owns and operates a Killer Burger restaurant that opened in 2021 at 85 W. Prairie, in Hayden.
“It’s really a cult following at this point in Portland,” Wes Walterman says. “Everyone knows exactly what they like to order. It’s very distinctive.”
Including the Peanut Butter Pickle Bacon burger, Killer Burger’s menu consists of nine different burgers, all of which come with bacon and are available in three sizes. The menu also includes made-to-order fries.
“We just keep it simple, so we can push out the burgers in a pretty quick, timely manner.”
Killer Burger also added two chicken sandwiches to the menu in the past year, Walterman says. Healthier customizations are available for the burgers and sandwiches, including lettuce wraps, veggie patties, and gluten-free buns.
Killer Burger was founded in Portland in 2010 by TJ Southard.
Walterman and Southard met when they were seated next to each other on a flight from San Diego to Portland. The two forged a friendship during that flight, and Southard, who at the time was a senior pastor at a Portland-area church, had asked Walterman, who holds a music degree, to come and lead his church’s choir.
“I ended up doing some music at their church,” Walterman says. “This guy calls me and says ‘Hey, you and your wife and kids want to come over for dinner one night? I’m making some burgers.’”
Walterman accepted the invitation, and Southard served him and his wife nine different burgers, telling them to take just a bite or two of each and then throw the rest away. After trying eight burgers, Walterman was stuffed, but Southard brought out the peanut butter burger.
“Coral took a bite, and it ends up being her favorite burger to this day,” Walterman says.
Southard then disclosed his plans to open Killer Burger and serve the burgers that the Waltermans had just tested for him.
“I ended up going back to TJ after he founded maybe four, five, six different restaurants in Portland and said, ‘Hey, I want to be your first franchisee,’” Walterman says.
The Waltermans opened Killer Burger’s first franchise location in Happy Valley, Oregon, a suburb of Portland, in June 2017. They moved to Rathdrum in 2020—Walterman is from Coeur d’Alene originally—and just recently sold the Happy Valley location, allowing them to focus on the Hayden and future Spokane Valley locations.
There are currently 22 Killer Burger locations across Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, not including the future Spokane Valley restaurant, according to the company’s website.
Walterman says he chose Spokane Valley for his next franchise location because it is relatively close to Hayden, making it easier to go back and forth between restaurants when needed. The Valley location’s proximity to Walmart, the Sullivan Road-Broadway Avenue intersection, and many other businesses also enticed Walterman, he says.
The 3,200-square-foot Valley location is equipped with a “digital drive-thru,” which Walterman says will be used for third-party delivery pickups and takeout orders.
“We can’t make that a regular drive-thru,” he says. “It takes about 8 to 10 minutes to make burgers.”
Like the Hayden location, the Valley restaurant will have several arcade-style video games, like Ms. Pac-Man and other old favorites, Walterman says. There will be some TVs and ’80s rock music to create an atmosphere that keeps with the tradition of the original Killer Burger locations.
It will serve beer from local breweries, he adds.
Depending on how things go in Spokane Valley, Walterman plans to open two Killer Burger locations in Spokane in a couple years or so, potentially in North Spokane and on the South Hill.
Walterman is in the process of hiring about 30 employees for the Spokane Valley location. There are about 20 employees at the Hayden restaurant.