Sunday, June 9, 2013

Storm’s Drive-In – Lampasas, Texas

It is extremely rare these days to find nineteen fifties’ style drive-in restaurants. Even more rare are the original such places – drive-ins that actually started back in the era of Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and the Comets, and ‘DA’ haircuts. Some of today’s drive-ins are modern interpretations, but many of them fall short of creating the same kind of feel as the originals. One of the few such original – real - drive-ins, is Storm’s Drive-In, with locations in Lampasas, Burnet, Marble Falls, Kingsland, and Hamilton, Texas.  

The original Storm’s opened in Lampasas in 1950 by Jim and IraDell Storm (originally named Dairy Cue, according to an article about the restaurant). This was a perfect time for this type of restaurant, as young Americans were acquiring and driving cars by the millions in the carefree era of the post-war 1950’s. What those young people wanted to do was to show off their cars and hang out with like-minded friends. The drive-in restaurant was the perfect place, and Storm’s filled the need for young people in Central Texas.

Storm's Drive In Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

If you were looking for burgers, fries, milkshakes, and other such food, Storm’s was the place for you – and it still is today, more than 60 years after the first Storm’s opened. There are, of course, a million other burger joints around, so why should you pick Storms? We choose Storm’s simply because their food is among the best around, and because the restaurant has character. Why does that matter? It matters because Storm’s isn’t a clone, or a modern attempt to re-create the past. Like Holly’s Drive-In, in Post,Texas, Storm’s is the real thing – an authentic, original, American drive-in.

While similar drive-ins were popping up everywhere in the country at the time, Storm’s in Lampasas enjoyed a bit of history that most others did not. Around 1959, Mrs. Storm and her staff often waited on a young soldier who had driven the 27 miles from nearby Fort Hood. His favorite order, according to Mrs. Storm, was a hamburger and a strawberry shake. That in itself isn’t unique, but his mode of transportation stood out from the rest - this soldier drove a Cadillac. He may well have been the only enlisted man in the US Army that drove such an expensive car.

Even without the car though, this soldier was highly recognizable. In fact, he was world famous, but not for being a soldier. This guy was a singer – known as ‘The King’ – Elvis Presley. According to the written history of Storm’s, Elvis made a number of trips to Lampasas and his favorite drive-in while he was stationed at Fort Hood, just outside of Killeen, Texas. You have to figure that a star like Elvis could afford to go anywhere for his food, and he chose Storm’s. The King ate at Storm’s for the same reason that I take my family there – the food was then and still is excellent.

Storm’s offers a variety of food options, from ham or grilled cheese sandwiches, to chicken fried steak or catfish dinners, and everything in between. The big draw is, of course, the hamburgers; the meat of which is still ground right there in the kitchen. No frozen patties at Storm’s – when you order one of their “Legendary” burgers, you can be certain that it is freshly ground beef, cooked to order. The fries and onion rings are outstanding, as is everything else that comes out of the kitchen.

You can, of course, order from and eat in your car, just like many other such places. Storm’s in Lampasas offers another option – outdoor seating. You can park your car and sit at a table under a roof with open sides. You place your order through the traditional push-button ordering box, and the carhop will deliver your food to your table. Even on a hot Texas day, sitting outside under that roof offers a nice break from the sun. You may need to watch out for bees though – the last time we were there, we had to move several times to escape them.

Regardless of where you sit, Storm’s offers food that will not disappoint you. The quality of the food is consistent from location to location and over time. My family and I have made the same trip that Elvis made (we live in Killeen), many times over the past few years, and we have never had anything less than perfectly cooked food. It is a treat for our family to drive there and eat at a place that represents the happy, carefree attitudes of the 1950’s – something that comes in quite handy in today’s busy world.

With Storm’s, you can’t go wrong.

Larry Manch is an author, teacher, guitar player, freelance writer, and columnist. His books include: 'Twisted Logic: 50 Edgy Flash Fiction Stories', 'The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories', 'A Sports Junkie', 'The Avery Appointment', 'Between the Fuzzy Parts'. His books are available in paperback and e-book.

He also writes about sports for Season Tickets, food and travel on Miles & Meals, and music/guitars on The Backbeat.

1 comment:

  1. As a long time customer and former employee from the 1980's everthing in this article is 100% accurate. Hands down the best burgers in the world.