If you had dreams of someday wearing a custom pair of Whataburger sneakers from Dank & Co. shoes, you might have to wait a while.
The Texas burger chain with a cult following announced the winners of its #WhataThoseContest on Wednesday, and if you're not Daniel Javaheri of Fulshear, Santiago Rodriguez of San Antonio or Abraham Diaz of San Juan, all Texans, your feet will remain unadorned for the time being. Better luck next time.
Whataburger gleefully offered up three unique shoe designs in July, asking its fans to detail their favorite custom Whataburger order on social media. Judges narrowed the responses to 10 finalists and let the people vote it out.
After a combined 8,200 votes, the top choices were clear, according to a statement. Javaheri's Patty Melt with grilled jalapeños and bacon took first place, with Rodriguez's Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich (cut the BBQ sauce, add creamy pepper sauce and toast the bread twice) taking second place, and Diaz's similar Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich (cut the BBQ sauce, add creamy pepper sauce and jalapeño ranch) taking third place.
Whataburger notes that none of the top 10 finalists' creations will be added to the permanent menu. Fair, but you've got to think: With second and third place being so similar, The People sent a clear mandate for a spicy, peppery chicken strip sandwich with a jalapeno kick.
(Luckily, it's within reach, if you just ask nicely when ordering.)
But, back to the shoes. They were designed by San Antonio artist Jake Danklefs, who has made a name for himself in the custom sneaker world working with stars like LeBron James and the San Antonio Spurs franchise. Danklefs' sneaker fixation began when he was just a kid; he drew countless sketches in elementary school.
He eventually taught himself to retrofit actual shoes with his imaginative designs and began doing the same for his friends. Years back, he created an homage to Whataburger for a buddy. A photo of that pair made it onto social media and eventually to Whataburger's twitter. Fans went crazy, and Danklefs says it went on to be one of the social media savvy company's most retweeted posts of all time.
There was clearly something there. Whataburger reached out to Danklefs and thanked him for the support with "a lot of free Whataburger," he says.
From that germ of viral interest, the company devised its #WhataThoseContest and asked Danklefs to create three new designs for three lucky winners.
But, back up: This artist got free Whataburger? Is he eating it every meal now? Wouldn't you?
"Probably more frequently than I should," he says, with a laugh. His go-to order is the No. 2, double meat, double cheese burger with bacon.
The man needs fuel for a heavy work schedule. Since launching his own business, he's stayed in high demand. His most basic custom designs start at around $500, and the cost rises quickly depending on details and desired intricacy. Pricey though that may seem, customers are willing to pay it. Many will wait close to a year to finally receive their Dank & Co. kicks.
But not Javaheri, Rodriguez and Diaz. Now that Danklefs has the sizing information for the winners of the #WhataThoseContest, he's ready to start building.
How excited are those guys? Very. Most simple tweets don't yield so much swag power. Speaking of swag, where do you even wear a Whataburger shoe that retails at $1,000-plus?
First-place winner Javaheri says they're definitely not for everyday wear. He's thinking he'll pair his up with something formal for a photo shoot. Oh, about that: He runs an Instagram account dedicated entirely to Whataburger patty melts called @thepartymelt.
A word of warning: Don't take a look at his pics until you're within a 5-mile radius of the nearest Whataburger.
Sometimes he dresses his order up with sauces (or fries in the middle, as pictured above) and throws in a piece of toast or extra patties in the middle, but, he always, always starts with the patty melt base after his best friend introduced him to the sandwich about seven years ago.
"From that day forward, it's been nothing but patty melts, with the occasional seasonal promotional item or whatever, " he says.
Clearly, this dude knows that he's doing. As well he should; he says he visits Whataburger about twice a week. But, don't expect to see him sporting his Dank & Co. shoes on just any old burger (or patty melt) run.
"I honestly don't even know if I want to wear them — I am going to, there's no doubt about that — but, really, to wear them out, I think I'll need a really special occasion," he says.
Third-place winner Diaz has a different perspective. He says the first place he'll wear his will probably be to work at a local nonprofit.
"I've been bragging so much to co-workers about how hopefully I'll win," he says. He's had his eye on a Spicy Ketchup shirt, and he might finally get it to pair up with the shoes.
"Finally, my love for food won something," he says, with a laugh. "I'll probably wind up putting it as a line on my resume."
Know how much Texans love Whataburger?
We've got stories for days about the beloved burger chain with a good sense of humor. Check out more Whataburger coverage here.