A national chain closed its Fresno location. This family-run burger spot took its place

Same spot. Different burgers.

National chain Wayback Burgers has closed its only location in Fresno, but a local, family-owned burger spot has already reopened in the same spot.

The restaurant is in the Marketplace at El Paseo shopping center near Highway 99 and Herndon Avenue, in one of the outbuildings facing Riverside Drive.

Wayback, which has about 160 franchises in 30 states and is based in Delaware, opened here in 2021. It was known for its burgers and milkshakes.

But its last day was Dec. 24. It sold the business to the owners of a new restaurant, Main Street Burgers.

Khalid Abdulqawai, left, and his brother Omar hold up some of the bites available at their new restaurant, Main Street Burgers, in the Marketplace at El Paseo in northwest Fresno.
Khalid Abdulqawai, left, and his brother Omar hold up some of the bites available at their new restaurant, Main Street Burgers, in the Marketplace at El Paseo in northwest Fresno.

Wayback’s shutdown follows the closure of the Tulare location that opened in 2018. The only remaining Wayback Burgers in the area is in Firebaugh, just off Interstate 5.

It’s a story similar to Steak ‘n Shake, a national chain that made a splash in southeast Fresno in 2017, only to close a little over a year later.

Wayback Burgers and the restaurant’s manager did not respond to several phone calls and emails about why it closed.

The Fresno location opened in April 2021, when many people were still working or attending school from home during the pandemic. The pandemic was hard on many restaurants, especially new ones marketing themselves at a time when many customers were eating at home.

Main Street Burgers

Main Street Burgers is the new locally owned burger place that moved into the former Wayback Burgers location at the Marketplace at El Paseo in northwest Fresno.
Main Street Burgers is the new locally owned burger place that moved into the former Wayback Burgers location at the Marketplace at El Paseo in northwest Fresno.

The new restaurant opened last week.

Main Street Burgers is all about big hamburgers. They’re smashed til wide and crispy, but they don’t market them as the super thin smashburgers that are becoming popular in Fresno.

They’re served with the bun off so customers can see the toppings (like the bacon and onion rings on the Western burger) or the drenching of “street sauce.”

“The Main” burger is the most popular option, with two beef patties, grilled onions, bacon and fresh jalapeños.

There are also french fries and milkshakes on the menu.

“The Main,” front left, Main Street Burgers’ signature burger, and street fries are pictured with onion rings and Cajun fries.
“The Main,” front left, Main Street Burgers’ signature burger, and street fries are pictured with onion rings and Cajun fries.

“It’s a simple menu, targeting a certain audience that’s going after burgers,” said co-owner Khalid Abdulqawi.

He owns the restaurant, with his brother, father and a family friend who owns several Foster’s Freeze franchises. Two of the partners also own the newly opened Kabab Time near Herndon and Milburn avenues in northwest Fresno.

Main Street Burgers will celebrate its grand opening Feb. 3. The event is still being finalized.

Details: Main Street Burgers is at 6493 N. Riverside Drive. Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. 559-515-6388.

“The Main,” Main Street Burgers’ signature burger, features two smash burger patties, cheese, grilled onions and jalapeños and bacon.
“The Main,” Main Street Burgers’ signature burger, features two smash burger patties, cheese, grilled onions and jalapeños and bacon.
A press is used to flatten hamburger meat on the grill at Main Street Burgers located at the Marketplace at El Paseo in northwest Fresno.
A press is used to flatten hamburger meat on the grill at Main Street Burgers located at the Marketplace at El Paseo in northwest Fresno.