Powers Hamburgers: A Fort Wayne Icon Up for Sale

The History of Powers Hamburgers

Powers Hamburgers is a legendary restaurant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, known for its delicious sliders and nostalgic atmosphere. The diner, located at the corner of Harrison and Brackenridge streets in downtown Fort Wayne, has been serving customers since 1940. It is one of the oldest restaurants in the city and a cultural landmark for many locals.

Powers Hamburgers was founded by Paul Powers, who moved to Fort Wayne from Detroit, Michigan, where he had learned the art of making sliders from the original White Castle chain. Powers wanted to create his own version of the mini burgers, using fresh beef, onions, and steam to cook them on a flat-top grill. He also added his own secret sauce, which remains a mystery to this day.

Powers Hamburgers has a distinctive look and feel, with its small size, red and white tiles, neon sign, and counter seating. The restaurant can only accommodate 18 customers at a time, creating a cozy and intimate experience. The menu is simple and affordable, offering sliders, fries, drinks, and pies. The restaurant is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, catering to a diverse clientele of workers, students, families, and late-night revelers.

The Challenges of Running Powers Hamburgers

Powers Hamburgers has been owned and operated by Michael Hall since 1999, when he bought it from the previous owner, Jim Sanders. Hall had been a long-time customer and fan of Powers Hamburgers, and he wanted to preserve its tradition and quality. He also hired his wife, Gloria Hall, as the manager and “boss” of the restaurant. Gloria has been working at Powers Hamburgers in some capacity for 46 years, since she graduated from high school.

Powers Hamburgers

However, running Powers Hamburgers has not been easy for the Halls. They have faced many challenges over the years, such as:

  • Competition from other restaurants, especially fast-food chains and newer establishments that offer more variety and convenience.
  • Maintenance of the old building and equipment, which often break down and require repairs or replacements.
  • Staffing issues, as it is hard to find and retain reliable and loyal employees who can handle the fast-paced and demanding work environment.
  • Health problems, as both Michael and Gloria have suffered from various ailments and injuries due to the physical and mental stress of running the restaurant.

The Future of Powers Hamburgers

Despite these difficulties, the Halls have never thought of closing Powers Hamburgers. They have always been passionate and proud of their restaurant, and they have enjoyed serving their loyal customers, some of whom have become their friends. They have also received national recognition for their restaurant, such as being featured on the Travel Channel and the Food Network.

However, the Halls have recently decided to put Powers Hamburgers up for sale, as they feel it is time for something different. They are getting older and tired, and they want to retire and enjoy life. They also want to pass on the legacy of Powers Hamburgers to someone younger and enthusiastic, who can keep it going and make it better.

The Halls told WANE 15 Friday the two are about to start the process of putting Powers up for sale. Michael said it will probably be a few months before the restaurant hits the market, and they both said they will wait for the right person and the right opportunity before they actually sell Powers.

The Halls have one condition for the potential buyer: they want to keep it Powers. They do not want any major changes to the restaurant, such as its name, menu, style, or location. They want to preserve the history and identity of Powers Hamburgers, as they believe it is part of Fort Wayne.

“I don’t want anything to change,” Michael said. “Powers is Fort Wayne.”

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