Burger Smackdown: Drive Through Class, Dairy-ette Vs. Kellers

Dairy-ette's Formica counter tops and shiny, red bar stools are the marker of a burger joint with some serious history, but if you need more proof, the push-board menu drives it home -- they've been serving burgers for more than 50 years.

Order a cheeseburger here and a few minutes later a paper parcel arrives in a plastic basket, its contents gently steaming away inside. Dairy-ette was the Best Burger in Dallas in 2011, according to Jim Schutze, who proclaimed the small drive-in a master of burger basics.

As far as old-school burgers go, Dairy-ette's patty is respectably thick, moderately juicy and modestly priced at $3.75. This burger won't move mountains, but it hits the spot and the root beer they brew in house is worth a visit on its own.

At first glance Keller's burger isn't that different. It arrives clad in thin, white paper that cradles the soft, squishy bun. Peel back the first layer to reveal scattering poppy seeds and a dutiful slathering of mustard as bright as the sun that beats on parking stalls below.

At $2.55, Keller's cheeseburger is the cheapest I consumed during #burgerweek, and it might have been the most fun. At 1 p.m. on a Thursday the massive lot was more than half full, and weathered waitresses chased lit-up headlights with clip-on trays piled high with burgers and tater tots.

The burger is thin and dry, but something about the atmosphere of the place makes up for it, most likely because a few of those trays boasted ice-cold beers. Not as many as on the weekends, when the classic cars, motorcycles and old men congregate, but a few, mine included.

Cold beer, your feet on the dash, your favorite song on the radio and a burger delivered to your window?


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