Dallas Legends: Passing and Living

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Dallas Legends: Passing and Living

Postby Boots » Wed May 04, 2016 11:57 am

Earlier this week we lost Texas sportswriting legend Blackie Sherrod, probably the best ever, and then yesterday we lost Jack Keller, founder of the famous Keller's Burgers, where in the heyday carhops on roller skates would brave a crappy asphalt and gravel parking lot to deliver amazing burgers and COLD BEER direct to your car window. You could even buy cold sixes and take them home with you if you got yer burgers take out. Such was freedom in Texas back in the day.

Anyhoo, this got me to thinking about the passing of many Dallas area legends in addition to the aforementioned greats; The Mecca over on Harry Hines, one of the greatest hash joints in Dallas history, the Lucas B&B many, many years ago, and then more recently, the lamentable final passing of Club Schmitz over on the 5 way off Denton Drive, arguably the last true great burger-beer-jukebox place, sawdust floors and free peanuts and all.

Then I remembered Harvey Gough, aka Goff's Burgers, a local chain of real charbroiled burgers that flourished across the DFW area back in the 60's and then died back to a couple of last-ditch holdouts by the 'Oughts. Harvey was (is) one of the last true believers, a hard case with a soft center, a staunch patriot and American veteran, and the prime nemesis of the '60's Dallas area counter-culture. Used to throw "dirty long haired hippie freaks" out of his place, which my Dad loved; Dad matched him by throwing "dirty long haired hippie freaks" off his aircraft back when he was flying the line for Trans Texas and Continental. You go into the Goff's on Hillcrest, which Harvey doesn't actually own, you can still see the big framed photos of Harvey staring down the hippies to throw them out as the DPD stands by ready to help out. Harvey is still alive and more than kicking; at 76 years old he's married to a 38 year old French woman and has got a 10 year old daughter, and recently opened a new place called Harvey's where (guess what) he's back slinging charcoaled burgers. I think it can be fairly said that Harvey's "got it goin' on". SALUTE.

Anyway, got to thinking about this after reading about Mr. Keller's unfortunate passing; before Harvey dies off too, I urge all you DFW guys to make a pilgrimage over to his place for lunch. I used to eat at one of his places over on Irving Boulevard as a kid (my Dad would take me both for the good burgers and the unrequited hope that the occasion would arise whereby he could team up with Harvey and throw "dirty long haired hippie freaks" out of the place like two Sportatorium tagteam wrestlers). Later, I met him once back sometime in '90's in the store over on Lovers after he hauled in the Lenin statue and stuck it out front. Story goes like this, best I can remember what was said:

Saw his place as I was driving by, remembered how much I liked Goff burgers as a kid and remembered somebody saying he still worked the counter. Rolled in before lunch time, probably around 10:30 or 11 AM, and the place was dead empty. As I walked in, all I could hear was somebody screaming in the back, I assumed it was Goff yelling at somebody at the top of his lungs, dropping F bombs and other colorful stuff like a B-52 over Haiphong Harbor, would have wilted a longshoreman. Lots of crashing and banging, like pots being thrown around the kitchen. About 10 solid minutes of this goes by, I'm standing at the counter twiddling my thumbs. All the sudden, Goff rolls out, puts a beady eye on me, and thunders out, "What the **** do YOU want?".

I sez, "You Mr. Goff? (I didn't know at the time it was really spelled Gough.) Well sir, I would like a cheeseburger and a chocolate shake, please".

His mouth drops open. He looks at my hair, rubbernecking; I was back in my cadet type short hair mode by that time, having done a brief pony tail stint until I realized finally I was not actually in a rock band.

"You're a polite SOB" he sez.

"Yessir, my parents raised me that way". His mouth opened and shut a few times, like a guppy.

"Well, if you want your **** cheeseburger you're gotta wait 30-40 minutes. My **** cook showed up drunk and I had to run him off. Take me that long to finish firing up the grill and cook it".

"Thanks Mr. Goff, I'll wait". More guppy mouth and he looks at me bugeyed, then turns on his heel and stomps back into the kitchen. More pot banging and cursing ensues; I sit down at a table and start reading the newspapers laying there. About 30-40 minutes goes by.

Suddenly, I feel a presence standing next to the table and look up. There stands Harvey, cheeseburger basket in one hand, shake in the other.

He looks at me like a Baptist preacher at confession time. "You waited 30 minutes for a cheeseburger!?"

"Yessir. I like the way you cook 'em".

"You're a persistent SOB".

"Yessir, I 'spose so. How much I owe you?"

He goes bugeyed again. Slaps the basket down on the table.

"Nothin'". Turns and stomps off.

I eat my burger. It's good. I get up to leave, leave a $1 tip, clean up my spot and throw away my trash, roll back up to the counter with the basket, deposit it on the top. He stares across the counter at me the whole time, nobody else in the place.

"Thanks for the burger, Mr. Goff."

"If you come back, don't expect a free one."

"No sir, understood. Thanks again".

I walk to the door, open it up and stick a foot out.

Goff hollers at me. "You're welcome. ******!". He said it in a nice way.

Unfortunately, just by fate, I haven't been back since; guess it's time to go back and pay for it this time.
Last edited by Boots on Mon May 09, 2016 8:20 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Dallas Legends: Passing and Living

Postby bsooner75 » Wed May 04, 2016 12:16 pm

Great read Boots. These places and their owners leaving us makes me sad.

Kellers is awesome. Blows people's mind when you can get beer delivered to your car window. Good burger as well. Some great impromptu car shows.

Club Schmitz was my favorite place to go get a burger with my Dad. Sad day when it was torn down.

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Re: Dallas Legends: Passing and Living

Postby OldUsedParts » Wed May 04, 2016 2:09 pm

:salut: :salut: :cheers: :cheers:
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