A Childhood Icon

I grew up in an old neighborhood in Dallas, TX. One of my fondest childhood memories was when mom would pile the family into the car and we’d all go down to Keller’s drive-in.

For those of you unfamiliar with such an establishment, this is the type of place Sonic tried to replicate but never got it right. Yes, they have car hops, and yes they leave the trays on your window, but it just isn’t the same. One should not push a button to call for service at these places. We always left our headlights on (or maybe flashed them).  The look and feel of Keller’s was always a “hole-in-the-wall” kind of place. The food was great and everyone always knew the “regulars”. If you wanted a fast food burger, you could go to Jack-In-The-Box.

But I digress.

My friends Badcat and Lyl were in the car with me. We’d had a girls night out while I was in town and were on our way back to Lyl’s when I passed Keller’s. This is how the conversation went:

Me: OMG! Y’all still have a Keller’s up here?

Badcat: Yes, we do. That one’s been there for years.

Lyl: What’s a Keller’s?

Me: Oh no. We have to fix that.

And I did a U-turn right in the middle of Northwest Highway. Impulsive buy, #5 Specials for everyone. It was sooooo good. I felt like I should have a moment alone with that burger, just the two of us. Yes, it was that good. I hadn’t had a Keller’s cheeseburger since they tore down the drive-in over on Samuell Blvd. in the early 1990’s.

Last week I had to go back up to Dallas unexpectedly, for a memorial service. My sister and I both attended. After the service, my sister wanted to go to lunch. I asked her if she’d like to go to Keller’s. My sister’s response, They still have a Keller’s??”

So off we went to Keller’s. We sat in the car talking about childhood memories, both the good and the bad. We caught up on what’s going on with our kids, and we enjoyed some really good burgers and tater-tots while we were at it.

When it was all done, we heard someone talking to the guy parked next to us say, “Thanks, Mr. Keller.” My sister and I looked at each other and had that “no way” moment. When the car hop came to check on us, my sister asked her if that was really Mr. Keller next to us. She said it was.

Well, of course, I couldn’t just leave this alone.

Me: I’m going to get out and introduce myself to him.

Seester: What??? What are you going to say?

Me: I’m not going to be rude or all “OMG You’re Mr. Keller???” He’s trying to eat. But this man owns Keller’s drive-in. It’s a huge part of my childhood memories – the good ones. I want to thank him and tell him how we enjoyed going to the place over on Samuell Blvd. Yeah. I’m getting out of the car. 

Seester:  :: facepalm ::

Mr. Keller was a sweet old man who was kind enough to tell me I wasn’t old enough to remember that place. We didn’t take up too much of his time, but my sister and I did introduce ourselves and we did tell him how fondly we remember the place from childhood.

It was a great way to end a sister lunch.

If you’re ever in Dallas, you’ve got to go to this place and have the #5 Special. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried it.

Kellers Burgers and Beer

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~ by Duch on December 26, 2012.

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