Restaurant celebrates 75 years in Houston

July 6, 2009 3:51:12 PM PDT
Prince's Hamburgers is celebrating 75 years in Houston. It is as synonymous with Houston as a hot summer day. At Prince's, it's possible to cool off with a cold shake, but when the first Prince's set up shop in 1934, the only breeze came from the Gulf. It was a drive-in -- the first drive-in burger stand in Houston.

"The car was king," Prince's Hamburgers owner John Broussard said. "The '56 Ford Fairlane with the wings and the '59 Cadillac -- those were the really neat things."

There were car hops in somewhat skimpy uniforms for the time. Longtime customer Jo Hardy has memories of that as a young girl.

"They would wear long, red pants and white tops, and in the summer they would wear bright red, flippy skirts, and they would wear hats," she said.

Eventually, the drive-ins were closed or sold.

Broussard now owns four Prince's restaurants around Houston. The menu has been added to, but the original recipes remain.

"The secret sauce is not really a secret, but we ladle that over the burger," Broussard said.

That is called the original burger, also around for 75 years now, as are the poppy seed buns. It is said that the round hamburger bun was created for Prince's, but the real legacy of this locally grown business is how it makes people feel.

"It's comforting," customer Latosha Turkett said. "I always get a hamburger."

Customer Barry Sherman was of a similar sentiment.

"It sort of brings back memories of burgers as a child," he said.

And that's reason to celebrate a Houston institution that has endured 75 years and is still going strong, one bite at a time.

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