In the early 1920s, Texan Jesse G. Kirby observed something interesting about the growing automobile phenomena, "People with cars are so crazy they don't want to get out of them to eat." Like any good entrepreneur, he put brain to problem and came up with a moneymaking idea. In 1921, he partnered with a doctor named Ruben W. Jackson and opened a restaurant on Chalk Hill Road in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. But it wasn't an ordinary restaurant. It was the first restaurant to offer curbside service.
Hungry Texans drove up to the curb in their Model T's and were met by a 12 or 13-year-old boy dressed in a white hat, a white shirt, dark pants, and wearing a black bow tie. The boy hopped up on the running board and asked what the driver wanted to eat. After securing the order, the boy ran into the restaurant, placed the order, returned to the car, and hopped back onto the running board to deliver the goods. People called these kids "carhops."
The eatery, named the Pig Stand, was the first ever drive-up restaurant. The original Pig Stand was a simple square building with a barbeque pit in the back. It was built close to the street so customers could drive up to the curb for service. As the popularity of Pig Stands grew, the restaurants evolved to include both awning-covered drive-in service (instead of drive-up) as well as limited counter service.
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Pig Stand in Dallas, circa 1925.
As Pig Stands became more and more popular, they grew to over 100 restaurants. Most were in Texas but some were as far away as Los Angeles. . .
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