Opened in '66
Dailey Item, Saturday, February 26, 2000, Section B
Sunbury, PA
By Karen Blackenledge, Staff Reporter

Leon Pontius stopped in his first Biff-Burger more than 33 years ago. He was in Virginia and asked where the fast-food franchise was based. “They gave me the address and I went to see them”, said Pontius, who traveled to the company’s headquarters in Largo, Florida.

At that time, Pontius operated a boat business along Routes 11-15 in Shamokin Dam and owned property across from his marine business. “The Biff-Burger people came up and looked at my site and approved it,” said Pontius of Hummels Wharf on Friday.

Pontius opened Biff-Burger along Routes 11-15 in Monroe Township on May 26, 1966. “I believe it was the farthest one North,” he said of the restaurant. Biff-Burger was the first fast-food restaurant that opened along the strip of businesses on Routes 11-15. “They wanted me to open one in Sunbury, but it was more than I could handle,” he said. At the time, he continued to own the marine business. “I had a manager for Biff-Burger. Every day, I would go over there,” he said.

Pontius owned the restaurant for slightly more than 10 years (~1977).

He said the burgers his restaurant produced were “the best ever” with the Biff secret sauce.

He said the part of the building containing the kitchen and refrigerator was built in Florida and brought to the area on a trailer. “We built the front part that seats people and the back for supplies,” he said. “It’s that way today.” Pontius sold the business to David Karchner, who had done bookkeeping for him.

Karchner owned it for about 10 years (~1985) and then sold the restaurant to Cam Forry, the current owner. After Pontius began selling used automobiles along with boats, he got into a new Nissan car franchise and sold the boat business.

He has since sold the Nissan business and now operates Autos Plus along Routes 11-15. Pontius is still running a business opposite a fast-food restaurant. He’s now across from McDonald’s. “I’m a guy who all the time is wanting to do something,” he said.

Copyright Dailey Item Publishing Co. Feb 26, 2000

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