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Prince's Drive-In Restaurant No. 7 At 1500 N. Shepherd Dr.


md2hog

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Looking for any old photos of the Princes Drive in on North Shepherd (around 17th street). The old sign is still there, as well as what I believe is the kitchen building. Thought maybe someone had a photo of the place while it was still open. Thanks.

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I wish I could help you out md2. I was actually THERE the last night it was open. Alot of us folks came out with our Hot Rods to cruise it one more time. I had some pics, but they are stored away somewhere, and I haven't a clue to know where to start looking.

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  • 4 months later...
Yes, that's my REAl last name, Peabody, but don't tell anyone, OK ? Now, if you'll excuse us, me and my boy Sherman have to go for a walk.

Wow,you guys never cease to amaze me.I remember Princes very well.Awesome burgers and fries. I don't eat fast food anymore.haven't for years. However,those cravings are still there. I know y

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Man, I am dying for a Shrimp Basket with Onion Rings and several tartar sauce cups to dip them in, yum. Then they had the steaming hot fries and slice of lettuce and tomato and lemon slices. Killing me softly.

Mod can you also merge this topic with the other 4-5 topics on Prince's? Tks

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Man, I am dying for a Shrimp Basket with Onion Rings and several tartar sauce cups to dip them in, yum. Then they had the steaming hot fries and slice of lettuce and tomato and lemon slices. Killing me softly.

Mod can you also merge this topic with the other 4-5 topics on Prince's? Tks

I don't see any other Prince's topics.

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Is Prince's a chain in Houston?

Yes and no.

I think the original dude's name was Stephen Prince? and he started the chain as early as the 1930's.

When you enter the few remaining ones around you will see great historical pictures of the carhops and crowds that used to gather. Princes was a Texas institution. Life magazine even did a great cover of a carhop somewhere in Texas. I have it framed at home (copy of course). There are photos of the carhop competitions they would have on the Galveston Seawall in the 40's with hundred's of people watching to see who won. This place was so well known in Houston for decades. The food was out of this world, I mean it. They really prided themselves in serving everything from the delicious hamburger baskets to the Seafood. They even served the little alcohol drinks called "Orange Tommy's" they really put the wind in your sails. Real kick. Many others have placed thier fun recollections of this place on this forum so would really have to dig. I am merely one of the kids compared to the others that had been going here since the 1940's. The awesome thing about Princes's (to me anyway) was the moderne streamlined design of the buildings. They seemed sooooo futuristic to a 6 year old (me) the large bay windows, numerous booths inside, plenty of barstools where there were always pretty carhops seated or preparing trays for the customers. It was so mysterious as you looked from a distance while seated in those huge tailfin cars. Even going to the restrooms was wild as you walked around it was so modern and clean. There was aways a juke box in front where you played your fav top 40 while you waited or pigged out. Some days or nights when you went the long canvas canopies over the cars were either opended or folded back. The popularity and sales started dropping for many reasons, competition from other eateries, the more modern approach to appeasing the newer customers needs and mostly the innocense of the era was slowly disappearing. The people had become more agressive and tainted I guess is a good way to put it.

There have been many articles in Texas Monthly and Anniversary events to mark Prince's past. We saved a good interview that the Chron did about 10 yrs ago. Past carhops from the 40's to about 1980's showed up for interviews and photos and some bizarre stories. (I'm sure thev'e seen it all) :lol: .

New management has tried IMO unsuccesfully to revive the aura and image of old Prince's but it will never be the same. All they have are the walk-ins (how boring) and the hamburger has changed yuk, the ingredients have changed, more yuk. Prices are sky high and worse of all the ones preparing the food could care less. The onion rings are the only thing that taste's the same. Best to remember the way it was. Now this really is a bygone era, no joke. Now I am real hungry for that Seafood Basket!

Coming up right away sir!

carsCarHop.jpg

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Yes and no.

I think the original dude's name was Stephen Prince? and he started the chain as early as the 1930's.

When you enter the few remaining ones around you will see great historical pictures of the carhops and crowds that used to gather. Princes was a Texas institution. Life magazine even did a great cover of a carhop somewhere in Texas. I have it framed at home (copy of course). There are photos of the carhop competitions they would have on the Galveston Seawall in the 40's with hundred's of people watching to see who won. This place was so well known in Houston for decades. The food was out of this world, I mean it. They really prided themselves in serving everything from the delicious hamburger baskets to the Seafood. They even served the little alcohol drinks called "Orange Tommy's" they really put the wind in your sails. Real kick. Many others have placed thier fun recollections of this place on this forum so would really have to dig. I am merely one of the kids compared to the others that had been going here since the 1940's. The awesome thing about Princes's (to me anyway) was the moderne streamlined design of the buildings. They seemed sooooo futuristic to a 6 year old (me) the large bay windows, numerous booths inside, plenty of barstools where there were always pretty carhops seated or preparing trays for the customers. It was so mysterious as you looked from a distance while seated in those huge tailfin cars. Even going to the restrooms was wild as you walked around it was so modern and clean. There was aways a juke box in front where you played your fav top 40 while you waited or pigged out. Some days or nights when you went the long canvas canopies over the cars were either opended or folded back. The popularity and sales started dropping for many reasons, competition from other eateries, the more modern approach to appeasing the newer customers needs and mostly the innocense of the era was slowly disappearing. The people had become more agressive and tainted I guess is a good way to put it.

There have been many articles in Texas Monthly and Anniversary events to mark Prince's past. We saved a good interview that the Chron did about 10 yrs ago. Past carhops from the 40's to about 1980's showed up for interviews and photos and some bizarre stories. (I'm sure thev'e seen it all) :lol: .

New management has tried IMO unsuccesfully to revive the aura and image of old Prince's but it will never be the same. All they have are the walk-ins (how boring) and the hamburger has changed yuk, the ingredients have changed, more yuk. Prices are sky high and worse of all the ones preparing the food could care less. The onion rings are the only thing that taste's the same. Best to remember the way it was. Now this really is a bygone era, no joke. Now I am real hungry for that Seafood Basket!

Coming up right away sir!

carsCarHop.jpg

What did the carhops do in those contests? Did they race to see who could bring and set up the food tray the fastest without spilling it? I've never heard of Prince's. But I've known Pig Stands. There were at least three in Beaumont. I read that it was a Texas chain, but that now most, if not all of the restaurants, have been experiencing serious financial difficulties. I read a case about a creditor closing one down, then going inside to get whatever money was in the cash register.

I guess the only thing that we have today that will come close to the carhop drive-ins is Sonic Drive-In.

Edited by northbeaumont
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What did the carhops do in those contests? Did they race to see who could bring and set up the food tray the fastest without spilling it? I've never heard of Prince's. But I've known Pig Stands. There were at least three in Beaumont. I read that it was a Texas chain, but that now most, if not all of the restaurants, have been experiencing serious financial difficulties. I read a case about a creditor closing one down, then going inside to get whatever money was in the cash register.

I guess the only thing that we have today that will come close to the carhop drive-ins is Sonic Drive-In.

The carhops were critiqued on:

1. How beautiful they looked (true)

2. Politeness

3. How well they balanced and served to the judges.

Man, these beauties must have had to take alot of sexual advances from the wolves, could ya blame em?

I guess you don't have to be a genius to realize it was all in fun and were mostly for publicity. There were many photographer's in the background of these photos too. Best I know Texas was the 1st to start the carhop on roller skates craze that eventually spread over the US. These days we see on old films like American Graffiti, but it started here unless I am mistaken. I thought the coolest carhops were the ones that looked like majorette's with boots. Major sexy. :P and most tried to emulate the Hollywood stars of the era. Some may have looked like Veronica Lake, Lana Turner or Ava Gardner. I need a cold drink now.

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The carhops were critiqued on:

1. How beautiful they looked (true)

2. Politeness

3. How well they balanced and served to the judges.

Man, these beauties must have had to take alot of sexual advances from the wolves, could ya blame em?

I guess you don't have to be a genius to realize it was all in fun and were mostly for publicity. There were many photographer's in the background of these photos too. Best I know Texas was the 1st to start the carhop on roller skates craze that eventually spread over the US. These days we see on old films like American Graffiti, but it started here unless I am mistaken. I thought the coolest carhops were the ones that looked like majorette's with boots. Major sexy. :P and most tried to emulate the Hollywood stars of the era. Some may have looked like Veronica Lake, Lana Turner or Ava Gardner. I need a cold drink now.

Yes, I know what you mean. Since I developed diabetes nine years ago, I can't have the chocolate malt that my taste buds are craving right now. Ah, but I can still have the greasy hamburger and the greasy crinkle-cut french fries smothered with salt and pepper and doused with ketchup/catsup.

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The Trout Basket was killer! See the original place advertised as handbreaded Trout Basket, go now and it just says fish basket. It's lousy. You have no idea what fish? it really is. Could be alligator gar for all we know.

The fried shrimp was or seemed so fresh or as some posters around the cars would say "Fresh Texas Gulf Coast Shrimp". Yum, yum (pounding fist on table) :P

That is what was so cool were the little advertising billboards that surrounded the drive-ins. They were meant to get the drivers attention. We can only see recreations via internet or in old movies or recreations there of.

Princes Drive-Ins seemed to be all aorund our city. Even of all places on Westheimer & Montrose! Yes, they were real women waiting on you.

DriveIn_TN.jpgCarHopsCurb.JPG

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The Trout Basket was killer! See the original place advertised as handbreaded Trout Basket, go now and it just says fish basket. It's lousy. You have no idea what fish? it really is. Could be alligator gar for all we know.

The fried shrimp was or seemed so fresh or as some posters around the cars would say "Fresh Texas Gulf Coast Shrimp". Yum, yum (pounding fist on table) :P

That is what was so cool were the little advertising billboards that surrounded the drive-ins. They were meant to get the drivers attention. We can only see recreations via internet or in old movies or recreations there of.

Princes Drive-Ins seemed to be all aorund our city. Even of all places on Westheimer & Montrose! Yes, they were real women waiting on you.

DriveIn_TN.jpgCarHopsCurb.JPG

Which corner of Westheimer and Montrose ?

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Which corner of Westheimer and Montrose ?

Caddy corner from the current Taco Cabana. There is that blasted gas station and Burger King now.

When you parked your 1957 Chevy you would be facing west towards The Tower Theater. (best I remember) Imagine if it were still there?

Edited by Vertigo58
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Everybody who misses the old drive-ins -- listen up.

I also one who misses the old days of curb service and car-hops, huge greasy hamburgers, french fries, onion rings, steak finger baskets and all that other great stuff that clogs your arteries.

Next time you go through Lufkin, take the 59 business route through town and stop at a place called Ray's. It'll take you back. They even have carhops.

I know that Sonic brings stuff out to your car, but I believe Ray's carhops come to your car to take your order and deliver it. Like the good old days.

Edited by FilioScotia
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What did the carhops do in those contests? Did they race to see who could bring and set up the food tray the fastest without spilling it? I've never heard of Prince's. But I've known Pig Stands. There were at least three in Beaumont. I read that it was a Texas chain, but that now most, if not all of the restaurants, have been experiencing serious financial difficulties. I read a case about a creditor closing one down, then going inside to get whatever money was in the cash register.

I guess the only thing that we have today that will come close to the carhop drive-ins is Sonic Drive-In.

What a cool car.Just like most of the ladies that worked at Princes.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Couldn't find a larger picture but I felt nostalgic.

11167.jpg

I HAVE FOUND SOMETHING WONDERFUL ! ! !

Click the link then click the pics.

http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/imag...UTF-8&src=p

Hmmmmm..........some of these photos look awfully familiar, I think they belong to a fellow HAIFer.

$46 was good money back in the 1950s. The women looked good. It's a shame that they're now grandmas. I'm pretty sure that the ratio of today's dollars would be around 10 to 1 to the dollars of back then. I could be wrong. My mom found a saving account passbook of her grandmother's dated 1944. At one point, she had a balance of $1400 that she earned ironing uniforms for the gas company (this was before permanent press). But she used it to pay for her funeral in advance over 20 years before she died. I saw a commercial on TV that said that a funeral today is about $6000. So I don't know what the actual money ratio between then and now is.

That's why I've left my body to science. I don't want a funeral home or a cemetery to make any money off of my death.

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What a cool car.Just like most of the ladies that worked at Princes.

We always thought it was kind of cool to see some of the carhops that had been there for years still working there. Most of all they still had that nostalgia look about them. Not sure how to coin it but there were some that we recognized at the usual drive ins we visited. Some stilll had a 1940's & 50's hairdos and the make up was still like from that era. As long as they were happy! Too cool

Carhop.jpg

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I just saw American Graffitti for the umpteenth time last night. OOOoooooohhhhhhh to have a Mel's Drive In ! ! ! I have decided that my next project car is definately gonna be a John Milner '32 Ford. I WON'T have those fenders on the back though, BLEH !

american_graffiti.jpg

Edited by TJones
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The Prince's sign is still there covered up in white paint and wood, i believe it was a car dealership recently. If you are going down Shepher after you pass it on your right you can see the sign without paint looking south on Shepherd. Ill take some pics friday when im in the area

I think that the main building is still there as well. I walked the parking lot a few months ago before it became another used car place, you can still see how the old drive in was laid out.

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The triumvirate of driveins in suburban sw Houston in the mid-60s was the Prince's @ the Bellaire/Bissonnet "circle", A&W Root Beer Stand at Bellaire and Stella Link, and the Deputy on Westheimer @ the UP tracks.

Teen Burger and a tall mug delivered by roller-skating carhops at A&W, then street race some buddies down Bellaire for some o rings and a malt at Prince's, then off to the Deputy to start some trouble with the Lamar teasips.

life was good.

on the other hand, the Prince's on Shepherd was a place where us weenie Bellaire boys could get a good headknocking from those badass northside hoods.

and the Prince's on Main was the epicenter of the grownup hot car crowd. a reality check for us hotrod wannabes.

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I just saw American Graffitti for the umpteenth time last night. OOOoooooohhhhhhh to have a Mel's Drive In

Hey TJones, I was in San Francisco this summer and went down to the Mels Drive In where they filmed American Graffitti. Also went over the bridge to San Rafael where the street scenes were shot.

Edited by Retama
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Hey TJones, I was in San Francisco this summer and went down to the Mels Drive In where they filmed American Graffitti. Also went over the bridge to San Rafael where the street scenes were shot.

Luckydog. Closest I have been to THE actual Mel's Diner is that I was IN San Francisco once. I have been to Universal Studios where they have a replica of the '32 Ford and Mel's.

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on the other hand, the Prince's on Shepherd was a place where us weenie Bellaire boys could get a good headknocking from those badass northside hoods.
IHB2, it's no wonder you got a good headknocking at the Prince's on Shepherd. If you'da gone there and called us Northsiders, you'da got more than a headknocking!

We were Reagan Rats from the Heights. The "Northside" was Sam Houston Country around Airline, Crosstimbers, Tidwell streets. We hated Northsiders just as much as we did those damned Lamar Teasips and Bellaire Bozos!

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on the other hand, the Prince's on Shepherd was a place where us weenie Bellaire boys could get a good headknocking from those badass northside hoods.

The North Side rules. :P;)

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life_2501.jpg93-18923-457.jpg

I barely remember seeing some of the carhops wearing cowboy hats too (photo on right). Guess they did come in handy in Texas sun. :P Now I am really getting hungry for a Trout Basket with tons of that delicious tartar sauce! and the huge onion rings, yummmmmmm!

I even love the crushed ice they would use in the sodas, you could crunch for a long time. Now I'm thirsty!

Edited by Vertigo58
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life_2501.jpg93-18923-457.jpg

I barely remember seeing some of the carhops wearing cowboy hats too (photo on right). Guess they did come in handy in Texas sun. :P Now I am really getting hungry for a Trout Basket with tons of that delicious tartar sauce! and the huge onion rings, yummmmmmm!

I even love the crushed ice they would use in the sodas, you could crunch for a long time. Now I'm thirsty!

Hey Vertigo, I am sure there are a few guys here that could hook you up with some "Trouser Trout", don't know about the basket though. :lol:

Edited by TJones
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Vertigo, are you sure the photo of the carhop with the cowgirl hat is from Houston? The title of the photo says "sandiegohistory". I don't recognize the uniform or the hat as being either Pig Stand or Prince's.

your right it was the image I was trying to convey. I was just trying to give examples of Drive Ins around Texas. There were some that wore cowgirl hats in Texas, maybe not Prince's but drive-ins just the same. Time for a shrimp basket! Yum. :P

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your right it was the image I was trying to convey. I was just trying to give examples of Drive Ins around Texas. There were some that wore cowgirl hats in Texas, maybe not Prince's but drive-ins just the same. Time for a shrimp basket! Yum. :P

There were some carhops that wore cowboy hats at the Texan Drive In. This was located on Wayside a little closer down to the bayou and on the opposite side of the street than Princes. The Texan closed long before Princes did. Probably in the mid 60's. Their location wasn't that great and Princes took most of the business. Yes, Time for a shrimp basket!!

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When the carhop came to serve you, they would put a laminated card on your windshield. On the side facing out was your number, and the menu was printed on the inside so you could read it. These cards became prized collector's items, but the waitresses would keep a sharp eye on the so you didn't drive off with one.

Oh my God! Your right, I totally forgot about those cool huge number's/cards they would assign each car.

We even have an original tray :blush: Wonder how that happened?

I never could figure out how they could prop it up so fast and stack up all that scrumptous food on it with it collapsing? I am actually getting hungry as I type this thinking of the aroma of those great onion rings, etc. Stop it! :lol:

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At 46 I'm old enough to have bridged the drive in era and the drive through days. My first memory of a drive through joint was Jack In The Box. Their thing was driving up to the box with the clown's head and placing your order. Were they the first or were there others?

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At 46 I'm old enough to have bridged the drive in era and the drive through days. My first memory of a drive through joint was Jack In The Box. Their thing was driving up to the box with the clown's head and placing your order. Were they the first or were there others?

I'm trying not to hijack the topic but this will bring back plenty of "hungry" memories. :lol: Jack in the box head was way high up about seems like 100 feet and spun around in slow motion. You could see for a long way.

I hated the blow-up-the-Jack-in-the-box campaign. Must have saddened many kids to see him blown up in slow mo. Look at the prices! Whaaaatttt!

Edited by Vertigo58
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  • The title was changed to Prince's Drive-In Restaurant No. 7 At 1500 N. Shepherd Dr.

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