Monday, November 14, 2011

"Hungry" For Some Food History...?

As a lot of you might know, I'm fond of food!

If you could see my waistline, you would know just how fond of food I am! Therefore it stands to reason that I enjoy some of the early history of our food industry!

This article from covers some of the love affair between the automobile and the drive-ins, both important in their own way!

I'm sure that, like me, many of you have a lot of memories associated with one or both of these icons! Wonder how the "Drive In" got it's start?

Nov 14, 2006:
Last day for Texas' celebrated drive-in Pig Stands

On November 14, 2006, state officials close the last two of Texas' famed Pig Stand restaurants, the only remaining pieces of the nation's first drive-in restaurant empire. The restaurants' owners were bankrupt, and they owed the Texas comptroller more than $200,000 in unpaid sales taxes.

A Dallas entrepreneur named Jessie G. Kirby built the first Pig Stand along the Dallas-Fort Worth Highway in October 1921. It was a roadside barbecue restaurant unlike any other: Its patrons could drive up, eat and leave, all without budging from their automobiles. ("People with cars are so lazy," Kirby explained, "they don't want to get out of them.") Kirby lured these car-attached customers with great fanfare and spectacle. When a customer pulled into the Pig Stand parking lot, teenaged boys in white shirts and black bow ties jogged over to his car, hopped up onto the running board—sometimes before the driver had even pulled into a parking space—and took his order. (This daredevilry won the servers a nickname: carhops.) Soon, the Pig Stand drive-ins replaced the carhops with attractive young girls on roller skates, but the basic formula was the same: good-looking young people, tasty food, speedy service and auto-based convenience.

That first Pig Stand was a hit with hungry drivers, and soon it became a chain. (The slogan: "America's Motor Lunch.") Kirby and his partners made one of the first franchising arrangements in restaurant history, and Pig Stands began cropping up everywhere. By 1934, there were more than 130 Pig Stands in nine states. (Most were in California and Florida.) Meanwhile, the chain kept innovating. Many people say that California's Pig Stand No. 21 became the first drive through restaurant in the world in 1931, and food historians believe that Pig Stand cooks invented deep-fried onion rings, chicken-fried steak sandwiches and a regional specialty known as Texas Toast.

But wartime gasoline and food rationing hit the Pig Stands hard, and after the war they struggled to compete with newer, flashier drive-ins. By the end of the 1950s, all of the franchises outside of Texas had closed. By 2005, even the Texas Pig Stands were struggling to survive—only six remained in the whole state—and by the next year they had all disappeared.

In 2007, state bankruptcy trustees found a way for one Pig Stand, in San Antonio, to reopen. Though it will probably never be as popular as it once was, and customers now have to get out of their cars and go inside to eat, the restaurant remains a sentimental favorite of many Texans.

You know what? All this history of food and drive-ins made me hungry! Somehow I just knew that would happen, didn't you? Guess I had better try and come up with a snack.

Feel like some fresh coffee on the patio? I'll give ya a slice of "Key Lime Pie" to go with it!


Ben in Texas said...

I remember seeing one on Lancaster Street in Fort Worth, but don't remember ever stopping at it. By the mid 60's when we was tearing up the streets, Our choice as a local Hamburger Chain called Pal's with three in Arlington and one over near Dallas.
Sure glad they invented the onion ring though. :-)

Anonymous said...

It is first now that those kind of restaurants has become popular here in Sweden, I can't understand why it took so long though.

They really should make a working museum out of that last one, it is after all an important part of Your history!

Have a great day!

Momlady said...

In Atlanta the Varsity is the drive-in icon and you are greeted with "What'll ya have, what'll ya have??"

Sixbears said...

It just occurred to me that I haven't had to eat drive through food in ages. It's handy when on the go, but I guess my life has slowed down.

JoJo said...

What an interesting story. I had never heard of that place but then I never spent much time in TX or CA. I have seen so many come and go thru the years. I try to stay away from them and any fried foods. Not that I don't love that stuff but my health has other ideas.
Now the key lime pie is very tempting and I may just have to have some of that with our coffee this morning. WOW the sun is shining again!

HermitJim said...

Hey Ben...
I do love me some onion rings! They go with so many things!

Another favorite of mine was the steak sandwich!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

Hey Christer...
It does seem to me that you would have had them long ago!

Funny how so many things change from country to country!

Thanks, my friend, for coming over today!

Hey Momlady...
Guess that every town has at least one drive in that stands out!

Gotta love the saying, though!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Sixbears...
It does seem like some of our older habits change as we get more mileage on us!

What used to be fun is now not so much! Probably not as healthy either!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey JoJo...
Probably a good thing that you are staying away from these places.

I do love some of the food, but I know it just can't be good for me!

Back to the 80s again today! I'm ready for some more cool weather!

Glad you are getting some sunshine!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by this morning!

Annie Mouse said...

Going to Pig's in
San Antonio was a great event.
It didn't happen often.
We felt so special to "go out to dinner" there.
Thanks again, Jim, for some good memories
Annie Mouse

HermitJim said...

Hey Annie Mouse...
When our folks would take us out to the food drive in , we always thought of it as something special!

My Dad had his favorite places to go and in each place, he always had his "special" treats!

I could sit back for hours and think back on those times! Good memories!

Thanks, my friend, for coming over today!

TROUBLEnTX said...

first chain i remember, back in the 60s, was the Dairy Queen, in Austin, with that huge basket of onion rings.

sel said...

I want a Pig sandwich now!!