Another page turns in the local history books…
It’s reputed to be the world’s first drive-through restaurant chain and the place where the onion ring was invented, the result of a cooking accident. In 82 years at the corner of Washington and Sawyer, the last remaining Houston location has been a hut, a collection of stalls served by carhops and a sit-down restaurant.
But now, the Pig Stand’s past looks rosier than its present. The city’s longest-running restaurant sat empty Monday, a victim of bankruptcy and back taxes that threaten to add it to the ever-growing list of bygone Houston institutions.
I can remember eating at the one in South Houston on a number of occasions before it closed back about the mid ’80’s.
They are the last vestiges of a chain that started in 1921 in Dallas as the first drive-through and grew into a dozens-strong regional empire that welcomed the age of fast food during a time when meals were handcrafted at home.
The stands evolved into drive-ins by the 1960s, when they dueled Prince’s in the Houston market. Both eventually became standard table-service restaurants as they ceded the fast food business to the large chains.
Over time, the Pig Stand has laid claim to a number of culinary firsts. Along with onion rings (said to have been invented in Dallas in the late 1920s when a cook accidentally dropped onions in batter and decided to fry them), chicken fried steak sandwiches and the barbecue pork mainstay known as the Pig Sandwich, owner Richard Hailey said Texas toast also was born at a Pig Stand.
Just wanted you folks to know we do make some history here in Texas. Onion Rings and Texas Toast…Culinary masterpieces.