by Steven Doyle
Keller’s Drive-In has been a Dallas staple since 1950 when Jack Keller opened his first drive-in in Dallas. Having worked at the original drive-in which was located on Chalk Hill off the DFW Turnpike, the Pig Stand, Keller ventured out to open his own restaurant replete with snazzy carhops, cold beer, and tasty burgers.
The Pig Stand was the original drive-in by most claims, opening in 1921. This holds to be true since cars became most commonly driven only one year before the Pig Stand opened. What better way to dine than in your sparkling new auto, family in tow, munching down on some pretty terrific burgers. Or pig sandwiches, so it would seem with the Pig Stand. Soon after there would be ten locations in Dallas alone, and many more in six states.
Keller took this idea and perfected it with his own brand of pizzazz. With three locations still serving Dallas-wide Keller’s is known for hospitable carhops, inexpensive burgers and some of the best onion rings you might ever taste..
“We have been coming here since I was a child,” said Keller’s patron Mark Stern, “and before that my father was brought here by my grandfather. It is a family tradition.”
And Keller’s is steep up in tradition in the spirit of American Graffiti. Now you will find those same cars revisiting Keller’s renewed and show ready. Car clubs are often seen showing their classic autos at the drive-in, creating more mass appeal to the burger stand.
With the loss of so many iconic restaurants in the vein of Keller’s such as The Prince of Hamburgers, which opened on Lemmon Avenue not entirely too long after the Pig Stand, it is comforting to see traditions hold fast that Jack Keller started 67 years ago. 1950 was the same year the credit card was invented, the Korean War began and the beginning of the Peanuts comic strip. These are all images that many still can recall, and a visit to Keller’s is an image that we can all endear today.
Be sure to order a #5 Special (2.48), which is a double meat with cheese, lettuce, tomato and a special sauce, most likely a house blend of ketchup and mustard, with free grilled onions if you have a hankering. All this topped with a poppy seed be-speckled bun that screams Keller’s. Add to the order those incredible onion rings or tots for a slice of nostalgia.
There are three Keller’s locations in Dallas but no Facebook or website. Look for them at 6537 E Northwest Highway, 10226 Garland Road and 10554 Harry Hines.
Jack Keller passed away in 2016, but his legend lives on.