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Locations Of The Old Prince's Drive Inns


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You folks know that fast food and chain restaurants were much less common 40 and even 30 years ago than they are today.

This is very true! That is why everyone appreciated the fine eating at Prince's. Just as the slogan said "Fit For A King". :D

Phrases like "World famous Deep Fried Shrimp" may have been a little bit of over-advertising but heck it was delicious!

In fact they even cooked "Southern Style Fried Chicken" in a basket. I vaguely remember one summer day as we were heading back from the beach the family stopped at a Drive In eatery where they had outside tables to eat, so you could either eat in the car or sit outside with other families and junk. I just remember biting into the great chicken and feeling the outside breezes going by. Very dream like now. Ok now you all have me craving some of that good old fashioned fast food.

What about the Coca Cola & Root Beer Float's, Sundae's & Banana Splits they were famous for?

floatwithcoke.jpg

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Very interesting stuff. I grew up in the 1960s and 70s and still remember many of the drive-in burger joints particularly as I would travel with my family. You folks know that fast food and chain restaurants were much less common 40 and even 30 years ago than they are today. I have talked to Pasadena people about Trainer's and The Corral. The guy who owned Trainer's also owned several other drive-ins in Pasadena and Baytown as well (I think one of his Baytown spots was also called Trainer's).

I thought the Corral was located around Richey and what is now Highway 225.

The Corral was on the old La Porte Road about half a mile west of Richey. Right next door -- I mean RIGHT NEXT DOOR -- to what was then called the Sinclair Refinery. It's now Lyondell. I think. The Corral was popular because it was just inside the Houston city limits and it sold beer.

I never knew that the guy who owned Trainer's owned several other drive-ins. They weren't in Pasadena because there were no other drive-ins that I remember. There was Trainer's, the Corral in Houston, Vicki's in South Houston and that was IT. If there were others, please feel free to refresh my fading old memory.

Galena Park, North Shore, Deer Park, Baytown and La Porte had their drive-ins, but for some reason I don't remember ever going to any of them.

Edited by FilioScotia
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Trainer had drive-ins on Alexander Dr. (146) at Ward where the Kroger is now and Texas Ave. He laso had one on Ward at North Main which he acquired later. I was told he owned others in Pasadena (one on Red Bluff) but I guess they were elsewhere. For awhile Baytown had a Varsity which was modeled on the famous Varsity drive-in in Atlanta.

Deer Park had Charburger on Center Street which is still in business. I'm not sure that it was a drive-in, I think it was.

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Anyone remember The Texan drive in? It was located a little north of the Princes on Wayside and across the street. Very close to the bayou. Its parking tents were orange. It closed a few years before Princes changed names.

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Anyone remember The Texan drive in? It was located a little north of the Princes on Wayside and across the street. Very close to the bayou. Its parking tents were orange. It closed a few years before Princes changed names.

Imagine there was a time when that area was safe enough to drive in park and enjoy eating without being hassled? I only knew the Stephen's Drive (formerly Prince's?) which I assumed but never knew. Only knew as Stephen's and I for one never knew there was a Drive In rival? across that very section of Wayside. Veeeeery interesting to know.

You all having me thinking of a burger/fries basket now. :P

hamburger%20basket.jpg

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  • 1 month later...
Vertigo

Unless my memory is shot, I thought the Prince's was on the corner where the Catholic Charismatic Center is today, just east of Finger's. There was another drive in on the other side of the freeway on Cullen as an entrance to UH. That's the one I'm lookin for.

On the other side of the Gulf Freeway across from Prince's Drive-In, was Princess' Drive-In. The story my mother has told over the years is that when the wife divorced from the Prince's owner, she took money from the divorce settlement and built a drive-in across the Gulf Freeway to compete with her ex-husband's drive-in.

On the other side of the Gulf Freeway across from Prince's Drive-In, was Princess' Drive-In. The story my mother has told over the years is that when the wife divorced from the Prince's owner, she took money from the divorce settlement and built a drive-in across the Gulf Freeway to compete with her ex-husband's drive-in.

If memory serves me correctly, the Princess' Drive-In was located on the northwest corner of the intersection of the Gulf Freeway and Cullen.

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On the other side of the Gulf Freeway across from Prince's Drive-In, was Princess' Drive-In. The story my mother has told over the years is that when the wife divorced from the Prince's owner, she took money from the divorce settlement and built a drive-in across the Gulf Freeway to compete with her ex-husband's drive-in.

If memory serves me correctly, the Princess' Drive-In was located on the northwest corner of the intersection of the Gulf Freeway and Cullen.

The white posts for the very tall sign are still imbedded in the ground. You could see this sign plainly as you drove on top of 45. The lady that worked the counter for years is presently working down the street at Mandola's. I am certain she could tell some interesting stories. :D

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  • 7 months later...

Now here is a good reason to get away from that blasted TV and go to your old time fav restaurant!

This event happens tomorrow! A real trip back in time! :D

<H3 class="post-title entry-title">Swing Has Returned To Prince's Hamburgers! Tuesday, April 7th </H3>

After a long absence, Swing has returned to Prince's Hamburgers! Take a trip back in time to when burgers were huge and juicy, onion rings counted as a full helping of vegetables and could make you stand up and shout, people drank creamy delicious milkshakes, not Aquafina-- and cholesterol did not exist!

princes-hamburgers.jpgSwing the evening away with tunes from Prince's fabulous jukebox, and get re-acquainted with your inner Jitterbug!

Pull out your dancing shoes from 7 to 9 pm on the second Thursday (unless otherwise posted) of each month, and head out to Prince's Hamburgers on the Southwest Freeway at Wesleyan (map)! Be sure to thank the manager, and enjoy a 5% discount during the event by mentioning you're a Swing Dancer!

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I remember the Prince's on Cullen and Main very well. The one on Cullen closed around '90. Like Vertigo58, I still have one of the menus hanging up in my kitchen.

The one on Main held on a little longer but it seems like it was history by '95 or so. Now it's a stopping point for the Rail.

I took a photo of the great sign on the Cullen location (a giant hamburger). I need to dig that out.

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I remember the Prince's on Cullen and Main very well. The one on Cullen closed around '90. Like Vertigo58, I still have one of the menus hanging up in my kitchen.

The one on Main held on a little longer but it seems like it was history by '95 or so. Now it's a stopping point for the Rail.

I took a photo of the great sign on the Cullen location (a giant hamburger). I need to dig that out.

and the real irony is the other day me & mom were at a local grocery & ran into the order taker lady from the Cullen location. She went to work at nearby Mandola's sandwiche shop after Prince's closed it down back when. I remember she still had that late 1950's hairdo, makeup, style & speak back then. A rare breed. Miracle she is still kickin around. Too cool. :P

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  • 2 years later...

I'm glad I stumbled on this old topic. For years I've been telling people that I remember when the Prince's on the Gulf Freeway was on the outbound side and another drive-In was on the inbound side of the freeway. At some point then, in the fifties, the two drive-ins switched sides of the freeway so that the Prince's was on the inbound side and the other drive-in was on the outbound side. Mostly, people, including my own mother, greeted this revelation with blank stares indicative of disbelief and I was beginning to doubt my own memories.

Now, looking at posts #21 and #22 above I've finally found some evidence to confirm what I have known for all these years and have regained some degree of confidence in my own sanity (although most who know me will say the evidence is still insufficient).

The posts, by roym, list the addresses of the 1957 Prince's as 2112 Cullen and the 1964 Prince's as 1951 Cullen and that dovetails exactly with my memories, the addresses are exactly opposite each other on the Gulf Freeway and the Prince's wound up on the inbound side.

The explanation I had heard for this unusual move was as follows, the drive-in on the inbound side had been for a clintele that was predominantly black whereas the Prince's location was predominantly white (remember, this was 1950's Houston), as the area on the outbound side became more and more a black enclave, the switch was engineered.

I read somehere further down in the thread about a drive-in called Ritzee's, I believe that this might have been the name of the predominantly black drive-in.

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  • 5 months later...

Probably already mentioned, since this thread is so old. The two I remember are the one by the Midtown Sears/Wheeler station and where the Valero is at Westheimer and Montrose.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fun thread. Prince's was a prominent feature of my childhood. I think we would stop there on the way back from visiting the beach in Galveston. However, the location I most remember was on Wirt Road, just south of Long Point (in Spring Branch). I haven't seen that one mentioned here, but I think they were open for decades.

They posted the price for a hamburger on their sign; my earliest recallection is of 12 cents (probably in the late 50's), which later went to 15 or 18 cents, then higher. Despite loving their hamburgers as a kid, I'm not sure how they'd stack up now. In any case, I can't remember having hamburgers there or anywhere that didn't have sesame-seed buns in those years. :-)

It's surprising to hear that they started in Dallas. The first non-local chain I was aware of was Jack-in-the-box, when they opened in the Heights (in the early 60's? not sure). The national McDonalds chain didn't arrive here until the early 70's, since they were kept out for the reason someone mentioned earlier.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 9 months later...

I was raised on Sul Ross in the Montrose area in the fifties and I remember well going to the South Main Prince's drive in. I remember going there once with a friend when I was in High school, the boy was a little short on cash and we ordered a hamburger with what he wanted on one side and what I wanted on the other side. I remember the car hop just smiling and rolling her eyes as she walked away.

 

My brother likes to tell the story of a girl he went out with one night when they ended up at the Prince's on Shepherd. There was a sign on the front of the building that read flash lights for service. The girl questioned him about the sign asking him if they loaned you a flash light if you had a car problem and had to look around under the hood. The girl ended up being a good friend of mine and she and her husband live not far from me now. She also ended up being very successful in real estate despite her blonde moment that night many years ago.

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  • 10 months later...

There is a current post on Bayou City History's Facebook page that has a photo of the car hops in front of the Jensen drive location. Where exactly was it on Jensen?

 

 
Edited by djrage
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However, the location I most remember was on Wirt Road, just south of Long Point (in Spring Branch). I haven't seen that one mentioned here, but I think they were open for decades.

They posted the price for a hamburger on their sign; my earliest recallection is of 12 cents (probably in the late 50's), which later went to 15 or 18 cents, then higher. Despite loving their hamburgers as a kid, I'm not sure how they'd stack up now. In any case, I can't remember having hamburgers there or anywhere that didn't have sesame-seed buns in those years. :-)

 

 

That was PRICE'S, another hamburger chain, not PRINCE'S

 

In the mid 60's they had 7 locations:

 

3908 Bellaire Blvd

8505 Jensen

909 Shepherd

1732 Wirt Rd

702 W Southmore

8020 S Park

3425 Ella Blvd

 

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Here are a few pictures I found in my old photos taken at the Prince's drive in at 4509 South Main about the mid 80s.

 

In the first picture you are looking south east toward Fannin street. The grey two story brick building behind Prince's is Redman's uniforms. The second is at the same location with Main street in the back ground and looking north.

post-11998-0-46042600-1393616612_thumb.j

post-11998-0-38508000-1393616613_thumb.j

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  • 5 years later...

Some old photos. 

4A35D8F9-B17F-47AC-B1AC-AA0FE81E4FE2.jpeg
First one. In 1929. On Lemon Ave. Dallas, Texas


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Doug Prince. My Grandfather standing in front of the Yacht Restaurant on South Main. That Yacht has its own interesting story.

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The site of the original 1929 hamburger stand on Lemon Avenue in Dallas. 

4AE887CD-FDF7-47EC-92E4-5B72BC62E549.jpeg

Edited by Doug Prince
😊
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Reading all of these stories has made me hungry so I just prepared one. My father used to say if it's not dripping down to your elbows it wasn't prepared  correctly. 
Just found this site. Love reading all the stories. Thanks for the memories.
Doug Prince

DCEA7032-5AC1-4707-88FC-7B0D887835E7.jpeg

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Yes. I don't know how a profit could be squeezed out of a 15 cent Hotdog. But apparently you could if you squeeze it hard enough. I remember working at the

Drive-ins many years later and my father decided to raise the prices of the Hamburger to one dollar (they were 80 cents at that time). I thought no one will pay a dollar for a hamburger. This will kill our business. But it didn't, for a few years it least.😊

Today we just don't realize how much prices have increased on everything in the past hundred years. I guess it's because it happened so slowly and we expected it. 

Edited by Doug Prince
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/26/2020 at 6:20 AM, Doug Prince said:

 


0A3FD62E-D1C5-4FD1-905A-13A6DA29E7E3.thumb.jpeg.bc9ae5b65f57dad5a769f178eb3e2249.jpeg

Doug Prince. My Grandfather standing in front of the Yacht Restaurant on South Main. That Yacht has its own interesting story.


 

 

 

 

Captain Benny's! (I think) You had to stand up to eat. No chairs. No tables. Just ledges on the walls to place your food on.

 

Prince's also had good fried shrimp.

Edited by MidCenturyMoldy
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  • 5 months later...

Princes is now open at Sharpstown Golf course!!!!! with a limited menu of the original, the oldtimer, fries, hot dog, onion rings, and canned soda.

Screenshot 2020-08-04 at 10.15.12 AM.png

Edited by fslone
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10 hours ago, fslone said:

Princes is now open at Sharpstown Golf course!!!!! with a limited menu of the original, the oldtimer, fries, hot dog, onion rings, and canned soda.

Screenshot 2020-08-04 at 10.15.12 AM.png

 

I just heard about this yesterday. It's pretty far off the beaten path for me but I hope that they're able to use it as a springboard to reestablish the brand in other new locations. I had high hopes for the location on Ella when it first opened, but alas, it was not to be. 

Edited by mkultra25
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