JACKSON, Miss.—Algernon Stamps Sr. was driving his family home from Utica, Miss., where he had just stood at the pulpit ministering to the Browns Chapel C.M.E. Church congregation on a Sunday morning in the early 1970s.
The father of six owned and operated Stamps Grocery, a small mom-and-pop grocery store and meat market in the Washington Addition neighborhood of Jackson, Miss. While his store had ingratiated itself as a community staple, other bigger-name grocery stores started to spring up around Jackson, mitigating the need for a business like his. He needed to find a new avenue, he determined—a new niche.
As he drove his family the 30 miles back to Jackson, the idea came to him.
“I can’t find a good burger around here,” Stamps Sr. commented.
His wife, Barbara Stamps, served as the primary cook for the family, but he was not a total duntz when it came to cooking, as he handled breakfast duties. He liked a good burger, and if he could not find a good place to get one in Jackson, then he decided he would just have to do it himself.
“I’m gonna make a good burger,” he told his family.
Not too long afterward, Stamps Sr. began rising out of bed every morning at 4 a.m. to make his rounds with various butchers to secure fresh ground beef. After seasoning the meat, he would take it to the griddle installed in the back of the grocery store, where Stamps Sr. cooked around 150 pounds of beef burgers on a daily basis—allowing intuition to guide his flipping rather than relying on set times.
The quality of Stamps Sr.’s burgers remained consistent, which drew attention from his neighborhood, then Jackson and then beyond the capital city. Although he intended to simply call his establishment “Super Burgers,”
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