Burger Hunt – Theo’s Drive In: Grand Prairie, TX
If your looking for a good old fashion burger stand, that has the look and feel of the 1950’s, then you need to take a ride East on 180 (Division) into the heart of Grand Prairie, TX. If your not looking for it, you could miss it, but as you roll up on Theo’s Drive In, you immediately get transported into a time when going to the car hop was in, and crusin’ was a way of life.
When we got there, we didn’t know if we should stay in the car or go in, but you can do it either way. We parked under the rustic canopy and was immediately greeted by a waitress who was ready to take our order, but we opted to go inside and have a seat. The inside of the restaurant feels more like late 1970, but it was a family friendly atmosphere and you could tell that the people who eat here, have been eating here for years. There was even a game of cards going on next to the kitchen, and when the cook wasn’t busy, he would sit down and watch the guys playing and they were talking about the news of the day.
The menu is simple; Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Fries and Shakes.
The staff was friendly and eager to help. We went during lunchtime and it wasn’t very crowded at all, so we got our food within minutes fresh off the grill. I got the usual for myself whenever I get a burger just about anywhere, the bacon cheeseburger. My wife got the regular hamburger and we split some fries, with a couple of sodas.
One of the first things we noticed as we got our food was they brought out the plastic squeezable ketchup bottle and it was ice cold. It’s a nice touch to go with the thick cut fries. I never can remember what the name of these fries are actually called, but they are basically crinkle cuts, without the crinkle. They were hot, crispy and pretty tasty. Definitely something you would expect from a 50’s burger joint.
The burgers are large for the price and you can tell that the ingredients are fresh. The bun was nothing special, but it had that signature flat top grilled crisp on the edge that really completes the burger. The meat patty was thin (1/4 lb. roughly) and had the crispy edges you would expect from a griddle. Sadly, I always forget to ask for the patty a little less than well done, and as most places in Arlington and Grand Prairie, city code requires them to cook them medium well, but besides the fact it was overcooked for my liking, it was a tasty burger. The bacon was a little overdone as well, but it had a good flavor and it’s really nothing to complain about.
Overall, it’s a cool place to go if you want a little nostalgia and you feel like getting out of hustle of the city. It’s just far enough into Grand Prairie heading towards Loop 12, which gives you the feel of a small town. Here are a couple of things to note, if you go, take cash, as that’s all they accept. We were lucky we had some cash; otherwise it would’ve been the walk of shame with one of us left behind to get to the closest ATM. Also, don’t be confused by the restaurant Theo’s Bar & Grill about 2 miles up the road if your looking online for directions. They are more than likely related somehow, but Theo’s Drive In, is past Belt Line Rd. going East and is about the last thing you’ll see before you get to Loop 12.
As far as the food goes, don’t expect the best burger you’ve ever eaten, but it’s a cheap good-sized meal that’s pretty tasty. We both ate for $14.50 with tip, and they gave us a couple of sodas to go. If I were in the area I’d go back, and maybe try a milkshake next time too, as I hear that’s a highlight for Theo’s. For those of you who live in the area, it actually reminds me of Burger Box in Arlington, but that’s not a knock at all, as I like Burger Box and go occasionally when there is one close. If I had to give a rating I’d say it’s a 3 out of 5 for the food and atmosphere. This is the type of burger joint that I hope gets continued support, as it’s a landmark of what used to be the place to go on a Friday night and just hang out with your friends. Theo’s has been around since 1958, and we’ve seen a few recessions since then, so they must be doing something right.