Rally’s and Checkers Hamburgers Returning To Houston, but Under Different Flags

W Grill, 4825 Washington Ave., Houston

What do the Smoothie King at the corner of S. Shepherd and West Alabama, the W Grill at 4825 Washington Ave. (pictured above), and the southern parking lot of the Taco Cabana at the corner of South Main and Old Spanish Trail have in common? They’re all shaped from former locations of Rally’s Hamburgers. After the burger chain’s exit from Houston in the mid-to-late nineties, the distinctive white structures with rounded corners and glass block were repurposed to a range of uses by subsequent tenants. Before its Smoothie King transformation, for example, the spot at 3007 S. Shepherd Dr. did time as a bank. A location of Checkers Drive-in (a rival chain that later merged with Rally’s) at the northwest corner of Antoine and West Tidwell was transformed into a Church’s Chicken — before, that is, being scraped for a drive-up retail box housing a payday lender and a wireless store.

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Perhaps it’s a testament to how well these tiny drive-thru rehabs integrated themselves into the Houston landscape that yesterday’s announcement that the joined Checkers and Rally’s chains would be expanding into Houston (likely under the Checkers brand)¬†included no mention that the chain had come and gone here long ago. Checkers has already approved 5 franchisees for the Houston area; they have plans to open 5 locations — all in southwest Houston in and around the 610 Loop — by the end of 2015.

Photo: Devour Houston

The Drive-Thru Burger Race

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