Husband-wife duo Ed and Andy Prikryl opened Dairy-Ette in 1956, luring droves of diners who piled into booths and parked their cars at drive-in stations to feast on classic American burgers and hot dogs. More than a half-century later not much has changed at this eatery, whose "juicy, old-fashioned hamburgers" were crowned in the Dallas Observer as 2011's best burger; in the same printed breath, the paper praised the homemade root beer, which flows from the same tap it did when the diner first opened. The cooks stay true to the restaurant’s original recipes and menus, pouring chili atop hot dogs, hand-cutting fries, and piling seafood baskets high to keep fingers well-greased for impromptu air-piano recitals.
A vintage neon sign beckons drivers to pull beneath a red and white awning for carhop service, or park in the lot and duck inside the retro interior to take a seat by the original soda fountain at the diner's bar. After guests slurp up the final dregs of old-fashioned ice-cream sodas and floats from their frosted mugs, a cashier rings them up on the original register, which still accepts seven-dollar bills.