Day Trips: Cupp's Drive-Inn, Waco

Old-fashioned hamburgers, plain and simple

Day Trips: Cupp's Drive-Inn, Waco

Cupp's Drive-Inn has possibly sold hamburgers in the same location longer than any other business in Waco.

Day Trips: Cupp's Drive-Inn, Waco

Obscured from the view of motorists on I-35 by the obnoxious national-chain hamburger stands along the frontage road, the little family-owned restaurant has been at the corner of 15th Street and Speight Avenue since 1929 when it was called Heating's Eatings. Back then, much as it is today, the little diner was a neighborhood joint favored by Baylor University students and families.

The menu of fresh hamburgers, hand-cut french fries and onion rings hasn't changed much since Charlie Cupp and his wife bought the place in 1947, and changed the name. The awning on the side of the building used to shelter carhops who took your order.

Day Trips: Cupp's Drive-Inn, Waco
Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

In 1988, Betty Johnson bought the diner from her former bosses. Now her children, Freddie Johnson Jr. and Sherry Caughenbaugh carry on the tradition.

The diner isn't much bigger than a small living room, with four booths. Eight stools at the counter look over the grill where Freddie fries the hamburger patties and toasts the thick buns. Two picnic tables outside are a favorite when the weather is nice. The carhops are long gone.

Cupp's Drive-Inn is at 1424 Speight Ave., just north and east of the 17th Street exit off I-35 in Waco. The grill serves a full breakfast menu from 8:30-11am, and old-fashioned hamburgers until 3:30pm, Monday through Saturday. To place an order, call 254/753-9364.

1,282nd in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 40312, South Austin, TX 78704.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Day Trips
Day Trips: Caddo Mounds State Historic Site, Alto
Day Trips: Caddo Mounds State Historic Site, Alto
Mystery mounds of the Caddo

Gerald E. McLeod, Nov. 27, 2020

Day Trips: Ellis County
Day Trips: Ellis County
Funny faces on the courthouse wall

Gerald E. McLeod, Nov. 20, 2020


Cupp's Drive-Inn, Waco, old-fashioned hamburgers

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle