In the early 1920’s few people knew what a hamburger was. This is when Doug Prince discovered the hamburger for himself at the State Fair of Texas and decided to make it his life. He opened a small little “drive in” on Lemmon Avenue in Dallas. A virtual one man show. He would come out to the car, take your order, return to the kitchen, prepare the food and deliver it back out to the car.
In 1932 he took a trip to Houston and decided that it was there that he would build his empire. He purchased a small Weber’s Root Beer stand on Main Street and quickly changed the Houston restaurant scene for years to come.
Prince was a real innovator. He not only grilled a fantastic hamburger but his art of promotion was ahead of it’s time. He made everything from scratch, even his own Root Beer. Along with Fairmade Baking Company, (now known as Rainbo Baking Company) developed the round hamburger bun. His recipe for fried shrimp won him annual awards from Houston restaurant critics. Perhaps his finest achievement was having his Prince’s Drive In featured in Life Magazine.
Throughout his career Mr. Prince and his family opened some 20 drive ins and restaurants. He expanded to other Texas cities including Beaumont and San Antonio, but his true love was Houston. It was there that he had 18 units, usually strategically located near a High School where the kids could “hang out”.
Prince’s continued to prosper and expand through the 1960’s. After Doug Prince’s retirement the company was guided by his two sons, Buck and Charles Prince. The two brothers formed a new company, Prince Food System Inc. (PFS).
PFS specialized in the operation of in-house dining facilities for many of Houston’s largest employers. With the new direction for the company and the advent of air conditioning, the days of the drive in were coming to an end. And an end to an amazing era of the burger.