Homer Longmire founded the Blue Circle hamburger chain in 1931 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The chain eventually grew to over 30 locations. The chain’s motto was “A happy place for hungry people.” The house specialty was a grilled burger, diced onions, and mustard on a steamed bun. They also served breakfast, french fries, chili, onion rings, pork barbecue, and baked goods from the Blue Circle bakery.
Most locations had both walk-in service and drive-in with telephone order service available. The chain also had a company laundry for employee uniforms and eventually operated B/C Supply – a subsidiary company for storing and distributing nonperishable items.
Once Blue Circle was established, they sold franchises in middle Tennessee and as far away as Alabama and Virginia.
The Longmire family sold the chain in 1966 to Wometco of Miami, FL, and a new image emerged. Soon after, new restaurants opened in South Carolina, but the chain’s reputation faltered, buildings fell into disrepair, competition grew, and Wometco sold out to the Enroc Company of Milwaukee, WI, in 1974.
By 1975, with only 17 restaurants remaining, the company filed for bankruptcy. Only one Blue Circle remains, located in Bristol, Tennessee, at 333 Bluff City Highway.
The Bristol restaurant opened in 1964, and the original sign (with some updates) serves as a welcoming beacon for patrons. Today, the diner serves many nostalgic items from years ago while adding new offerings from time to time.
333 Bluff City Highway
Bristol, Tennessee 37620