Jack Keller, who founded Dallas' famed Keller's Drive-In burger chain, died on May 4 at age 88.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Keller passed away one day after being diagnosed with stage four liver cancer. The newspaper talked to his son Jack Keller Jr., who said he was devastated, saying his father was "the smartest, coolest guy I ever met."
The original Keller's Drive-In opened in 1950. There are now three locations: Northwest Highway, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015, plus branches at 10554 Harry Hines Blvd. and 10226 Garland Rd.
The old-school drive-in has been a destination for families and motorcyclists on summer evenings and draws the classic-car crowd on weekends. Its menu is fast-food simple, with burgers, fries, and shakes, plus beer. Its signature is the cheeseburger on a poppy seed bun, with its low price — under $3 — being a big part of the appeal.
The chain is a favorite for top burger lists, including a nod from deceased burger expert Josh Ozersky in 2013, who praised the burger on its own merits, regardless of the nostalgic car-hop setting, which he called "the quintessential old-school drive-in."
"Keller's serves a thin, flat, wonderfully flavorful patty on a poppy seed white bun," Ozersky wrote. "I'm not sure why it's so good, if the truth be told, maybe there is some MSG in there somewhere? Don’t say it's the atmosphere, though. This burger would be great in a Trailways bus bathroom."