Feltner Trio to Branch Out to Tontitown

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Jun. 11, 2018 12:00 am   2 min read

Tontitown is poised to be the second location of Feltner Brothers Burgers, with more planned after that.

That’s what Travis Feltner, one of the three brothers who founded the first Feltner Brothers restaurant in Fayetteville in 2009, told us last week.

The Feltner name is well known to many Arkansas diners. Travis’ grandfather Robert Feltner founded Feltner’s Whatta-Burger in Russellville in 1967. However, the Feltner brothers — Travis and his twin, Chase, and their younger brother, Grant — have no role in Feltner’s Whatta-Burger, which is owned by their aunt and uncle. And none of the Feltners is associated with Whataburger (notice the different spelling), a chain based in San Antonio.

Travis Feltner said the brothers are hoping to open the Feltner Brothers Burgers restaurant at 992 E. Henri De Tonti Blvd. by Aug. 1. The 1,600-SF space will seat 55-60. And starting in 2019, although there’s no timeline — “I think everything just happens when it’s supposed to,” Feltner said — the goal is to open one a year.

The choice of Tontitown for their second site, an investment costing about $350,000, was carefully considered. Northwest Arkansas may be booming, but competition for diners’ dollars is fierce. “We’re always looking for those outer-lying areas,” Feltner said.

“There are a lot of folks in these smaller towns who want a ‘better burger’ burger joint,” he said. “I don’t see some of these big corporate joints being in these smaller areas. We kind of thought we could be the better burger option in these smaller areas.”

In addition, Feltner said, “the small-town people know our name more than in Springdale and Bentonville. Those are transplants. These folks in these smaller areas, they know.”

Though the brothers have no business relationship with the Whatta-Burger in Russellville, they knew, when they decided in 2009 to partner to open a business, that the Feltner name might be an attraction. Yes, the economy was down and it might be hard to get a loan, but they thought, “I bet with our last name and our family history, we could slap ‘Feltner’ on the sign and bring customers in. Our dad said, ‘You don’t know what you’re doing.’ Of course, we didn’t pay much attention to that,” Travis Feltner said. “Looking back now, he was right on the money.”

The brothers had no restaurant experience, but their father had owned an athletic store in Russellville and they came from a family of entrepreneurs. They did know they wanted to work for themselves and that they wanted the flexibility to spend time with their families. Their parents had attended all the brothers’ athletic and other events, and the brothers thought, “We want to be able to do that with our own families. Time is more important than the monetary side,” Feltner said.

So far, he said, it’s working out.



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