Our Story

Family First

George and Ruth Culver, Their First Restaurant and the ButterBurger

In 1984 Craig and Lea Culver, along with Craig’s parents George and Ruth, opened the very first Culver’s in the family’s beloved hometown of Sauk City, Wisconsin.

In a sense it was destiny.

The son of a cheesemaker and grandson of a Wisconsin farmer, George Culver spent the early part of his career inspecting and grading dairy farms for the Wisconsin Dairies Cooperative. While George was out calling on area dairy farms, Ruth Culver was home joyfully raising their three children, instilling in them the small-town, Midwest values she herself had come to know growing up in Sauk City.

In 1961, George and Ruth seized an opportunity to buy their first restaurant. With no formal training, only Ruth’s warm and gracious hospitality and George’s natural command of the kitchen, the two proved a great team. With their kids growing up serving guests and learning firsthand about hospitality and delicious food cooked to order, the Culver family’s team approach became the model of many successful restaurants and supper clubs to come.

Culver's ButterBurger and Fresh Frozen CustardThen, in 1984 came an idea for a restaurant no one could resist. Craig combined a love for his mom’s homemade hamburgers with his favorite childhood vacation treat, fresh frozen custard, creating our signature combination: Culver’s ButterBurgers and Fresh Frozen Custard.

Signature Combination »

Since Day One

  • Signature Combination
    Signature Combination

    Combining a love for his mom’s homemade hamburgers with his favorite childhood vacation treat, fresh frozen custard, Craig Culver creates Culver’s signature combination.

  • Flavor of the Day
    Flavor of the Day

    Caramel Pecan, the first of many. Today you’ll still find a unique flavor of Fresh Frozen Custard, made daily and different from one Culver’s to the next.

  • Pumpkin Fresh Frozen Custard
    Pumpkin Fresh Frozen Custard

    Culver’s adds real pumpkin to a batch of Vanilla Fresh Frozen Custard and unleashes a new seasonal pumpkin-loving craze.

  • First Successful Franchise Opening
    First Successful Franchise Opening

    Culver’s enjoyed its first successful franchise with an opening in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Today there are more than 500 family-owned restaurants across 22 states and growing.

  • Lemon Ice
    Lemon Ice

    Craig’s inspiration for a perfect summertime-only complement to our Fresh Frozen Custard treats, originated in the Italian ice shops of New York City.

  • Culver's First Academic Scholarship
    Culver's First Academic Scholarship

    To support team members’ pursuit of higher education, Culver’s awards its first academic scholarship, which led to the creation of Culver’s VIP Foundation. To date, more than 1,800 team members have been awarded $1.8 M.

  • Scoopie

    Culver’s official ambassador of cheer steps onto the scene, lighting up faces everywhere and introducing folks to the wonders of Fresh Frozen Custard.

  • First Culver's Outside Wisconsin
    First Culver's Outside Wisconsin

    The first Culver’s outside of Wisconsin opens in Buffalo, Minnesota, started by a couple of Wisconsin natives who enjoyed Culver’s so much they decided to introduce us to their neighbors.

  • Wisconsin Cheese Curds
    Wisconsin Cheese Curds

    A Wisconsin delicacy debuts at Culver’s. Cheese curds are unaged bits of cheddar, breaded and deep-fried. They’re supplied by a family-owned Wisconsin dairy.

  • 100th Restaurant
    100th Restaurant

    Guests love for handcrafted ButterBurgers and Fresh Frozen Custard helps Culver's reach the 100th restaurant mark in June of 2000.

  • Northwoods Walleye
    Northwoods Walleye

    Culver’s serves its first basket of Northwoods Walleye, hand-battered and cooked to order in the great Wisconsin fish fry tradition. Catch this guest favorite for a limited time each spring.

  • Ruth Culver Community Library
    Ruth Culver Community Library

    Culver Franchising System donates the former home office, overlooking the Wisconsin River, to the community of Prairie du Sac in Ruth Culver’s memory.

  • North Atlantic Cod TV

    As Craig Culver says, "We have the best fish sandwich in the business." Here's why our North Atlantic Cod can't be beat.

  • Cooked to Order 101

    Deliciousness is a meal made just for you. Allow us to explain.

  • Sign of Thanks

    Help us give back to America’s farm families and ensure the future of the next generation. For every viewing of this video, Culver’s will donate a dollar to the National FFA Organization. 

Culver's Flavor of the Day

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