Reece Cavallo goes in search of why Whataburger has become the regular hangout for students.


Maya Ortiz

The Whataburger in Town Center in Kingwood is a gathering place for students after games and practices.

Reece Cavallo, Staff Writer

It was your typical Kingwood Friday night. Following the basketball game against Porter, dozens of Kingwood Park students flocked to Whataburger, ordering greasy burgers and loitering outside in the parking lot. I, too, was there. But unlike the rest of these teenage renegades, I was there on business. 

When trying to categorize the behavior of most high schoolers, the words impulsive and unpredictable come to mind. This can make it hard to uncover their motives, which was, unfortunately for me, precisely what I was attempting to do that night. I had been tipped by an anonymous source that students tend to meet en masse at Town Center after big high school events, specifically at the Whataburger. 

“Why Whataburger?” I thought to myself, “What am I missing?” 

Like any great investigator, I was prepared to do whatever it took to find out.

After scarfing down a practically-named Double Meat Whataburger, I refocused my attention to the matter at hand: finding out what about this place was able to draw so many Kingwood Park students.

Ask any detective and they’ll tell you field work is the best part of their job. It’s thrilling, it’s revealing, and, in many cases, it’s dangerous. This is why I took along my two associates, seniors Sean Bunford and Jaylen Mayorga. If things turned nasty, which they often do, three sets of fists always outperform one. 

With my two men in tow, we drove into the Whataburger parking lot at around 8:30 p.m. Even though the basketball game had ended just minutes prior to our arrival, there was already a large group of teenagers outside the restaurant. We ordered quickly and found ourselves a booth in the back. 

After scarfing down a practically-named Double Meat Whataburger, I refocused my attention to the matter at hand: finding out what about this place was able to draw so many Kingwood Park students. Spotting an employee sitting idly in the booth next to us, I figured I had found my man. 

I slid into the seat across from him and introduced myself and my purpose. The young worker identified himself as junior Bradley Glass. With the air of a disgruntled and overworked long-time employee, Glass told me it was his first day on the job. Only slightly deterred, I began questioning him. Unfortunately, he seemed even more confused than I was. Our interview ended with Glass looking me dead in the eyes and asking me the question I was looking for him to answer: “Why is this place so special?” 

Slightly shook, I stood up and returned to my booth. Despite my efforts, Dr Pepper couldn’t cleanse the disappointment from my palate; I needed answers. 

I approached a confident-looking teenager who called himself Caleb Medlock. Allegedly a junior at Kingwood Park, Medlock was able to answer my questions, even offering seemingly reasonable explanations. 

“I think it’s just because this is in Town Center that makes it so popular,” he told me. 

Medlock’s easy words suggested honesty, but his eyes told a different story. I felt he was holding something back. Something terrible. Like the seasoned criminal I was beginning to suspect he was, he wouldn’t crack, and I was forced to move on. 

My last attempt to elicit truth was with freshman Jessica Martinez. The girl had the energy of a frisky pup, which I was banking on causing her to slip-up and reveal Whataburger’s secret. But as was custom that night, I was wrong. Martinez appeared to be a master fabricator

When asked why so many people came here, she answered, “Cuz it’s, like, the hang-out spot.” 

Already knowing that, I pressed her further, asking why it’s the hang-out spot. 

“Because the food,” Martinez retorted. 

Having eaten the food earlier that night, I knew that couldn’t really be the reason. I was stumped. These people’s lips were sealed, and whatever was going on wasn’t going to be discovered by me. Defeated, I drove home in silence.

It was a tough decision to publish this account. There is unquestionably a conspiracy surrounding the Whataburger at Town Center, and I suspect there will be repercussions for sharing this story. The truth, however, needs to be known. If you, dear reader, have information relevant to this case, please stop by my office. And while you’re at it, bring me a Whataburger. I’ve really been craving them lately.