If you wanted to show a non-Texan what the definitive Texas eatery looks like a good template would be Jim’s Restaurant. The small chain got its start in San Antonio in 1947 when a 25 year old Germano “Jim” Hasslocher opened Frontier Drive-In near Brackenridge Park.
16 years later Hasslocher opened Jim’s Coffeeshop (at Broadway and Loop 410) laying the foundation for what would become a chain of 19 restaurants stretching from San Antonio to northern neighbor Austin.
Nearly all of Jim’s Restaurants run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When I was cooking in Oak Hill, Texas back in the 90s our rough and ready band of hash-slingers loved to hit the Jim’s at the Y (the confluence of US 290 and HWY 71) when we got off work. Biscuits and gravy and fried eggs at midnight chased with big glasses of sweet tea went down good after a long shift.
Texas classic dishes like Beef Chili and Chicken Fried Steak are vanishing from the Lone Star state’s menus at a frightening pace but not at Jim’s where you can get an honest bowl of chili for under five bucks.
When you order a CFS at Jim’s you can hear a cook in the back with a mallet pounding out a good, tough cube steak til he’s beat the gristle out of it.
Jim Hasslocher was an effective lobbyist working at the Texas Legislature to coax them into approving “Liquor by the Drink” which they finally did in 1971.
Germano “Jim” Hasslocher passed away Thursday, November 19th 2015 at the age of 93.