Happy Days Are Here Again At Biff
St. Petersburg Times, July 26, 1991, Series: Days Off
St. Petersburg, Fl
By Sarah Betzer, Staff Reporter


Biff-Burger -A blue Pontiac GTO. A white Ford Galaxy. A candy apple red Ford Mustang. 1964 or 1965? Proud owners stand by as the curious and the obsessed talk car talk and guess at year, make and model. Hoods yawn open, displaying work that is in some cases a hobby, in others, a romance. We've stepped back in time at Biff Burger at 49th Street and 39th Avenue N in St. Petersburg.

Every Friday Beverly Haynes and her baby, a shiny white '57 Chevy, leave work at 5:30 and drive straight to the Biff to get a good spot. The Chevy was at one time a "parts" car, a heap. But the car was rebuilt piece by piece, and now, under the hood, boasts shinier chrome than is found outside most cars.

It has been raining this evening, and Haynes' friend Gene Lamar says the crowd is considerably smaller than usual. Normally, he says, the crowd is so thick on Friday nights that it is hard to walk in the driveway where the cars park. And, he adds: "Usually this couldn't have parked here," motioning to the gold Cadillac Ninety-Eight nearby.

As shiny as it may be, the Caddy isn't old enough. Usually, a sign specifies "Classic Cars Only" - autos at least 20 years old - for certain parking areas.

The cars aren't the only golden oldies here - the music ranks as classic, too. DJ Jeff plays At the Hop, substituting some lyrics so that now the song is Let's Go to the Biff. Eleven kids twist to the music in the parking lot, probably practicing for the Twist Contest at 9 p.m. People eat indoors or on the deck, and regulars sit at the bar.

Owner Sandy Musser says that although she sees a lot of new faces, "the people sitting at the bar are always sitting at the bar." It's just that kind of place. It's comfortable. People bring their families and know they'll find their friends. The menu is also accommodating. You can get burgers and shakes; you can get Jamaica dogs and Biffalo wings [note spelling], too.

Locals aren't the only people who like Biff Burger. Chances are that if you're at the Biff on a weekend night, you'll hear the German rendition of the Beach Boys' Fun, Fun, Fun. After their first visit, an enamored German couple went back to Germany and had the tape made. The couple visits every year. And they aren't the only ones. The Farthest Away contest reveals visitors from New Zealand, Japan and Massachusetts, where tonight's winner, Todd, resides.

Other activities include Hula Hoop, limbo and twist contests and a Pee-wee Herman dance.

Beginning today, Biff Burger has its first in a series of monthly full moon parties; it also has begun offering karaoke.

The St. Petersburg Biff Burger is the last of its kind. The burger franchise once was part of a chain that came apart as the owners sold off individual restaurants.

Copyright Times Publishing Co. Jul 26, 1991

 
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