October 05, 2001 10:36 AM

McDonald’s and Burger King, move over. L.A. Lakers basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, 42, has purchased a legendary Southern California burger chain with an unlikely but tasty name — Fatburger — and he hopes to take it national, reports the New York Post. At present there are 47 Fatburger stands in the Southland, and the secret of a Fatburger is what’s sandwiched between the buns (besides the hamburger): chili. Johnson reputedly hopes to expand the 47 stands to 100 in the South and East over the next five years. “New York City is definitely on our radar screen,” the Johnson development Corp. president, Kenneth Lombard, told the Post. Johnson himself said that he intends to “do what Fatburger has been doing, but we’re just going to take it to another level, because a lot of people still don’t know about Fatburger.” His timing could be perfect. Simultaneous to that report, the Wall Street Journal on its front page for Friday noted how the country is eschewing fitness diets as a whole in the face of war threats — and chomping into what pleases the palette. In other words, it’s goodbye, celery sticks. Hello, Doritos.

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