Burger House celebrates 70th year


Tyana Moore

Burger House is a family tradition for many, and it is built on a family that has owned the restaurant for 40 years.

Aharon Moyal , Contributing Writer

The loud hiss of a kitchen fryer and gentle background noise can usually be heard at Burger House. From the modest exterior to the vibrant neon signs on the walls, Burger House is a callback to a simpler time. The retro charm is part of the reason Burger House has not only lasted 70 years, but triumphed. 

The chain is a staple of the communities it resides in, from the original Hillcrest location to Lakewood and Addison. Christopher Canellos, co-owner of Burger House, said eating at Burger House is a family tradition for many, and it is built on a family that has owned the restaurant for 40 years.

Canellos co-owns Burger House with Angelo Chantilis Jr. They took over the restaurant from their fathers in 1988, seven years after Canellos began making milkshakes and fries as a senior in high school. Their parents bought the restaurant from the original owner, Jack Koustabardis, in 1981.

The community and sense of comfort Burger House provides is the biggest reason they have been so successful for 70 years. “For a lot of people, what they associate with a good hamburger is us,” Canellos said. “It’s what they ate growing up. It brings back good memories. You can have a four-generation family – a great grandkid, a grandkid, a dad and his father – all eating lunch there because that’s what they’ve done.”

The walls are filled with evidence of past families and friends creating happy memories at Burger House. “My family has been coming here for as long as I can remember,” David King, a longtime Burger House customer, said. “I eat here every once in a while but when I was a kid we would come here all the time. After baseball games, special events, stuff like that. It was like a treat.”

Tradition is an integral part of why many people keep returning. The restaurant is ingrained in the upbringings of customers such as King.

The menu includes an array of items from hot dogs to chili cheese fries and salads. Their fries and hamburgers have received critical acclaim by publications including D Magazine and the Dallas Observer. In 2008, they received national praise from Yahoo! as a Top-Rated Burger Joint.

Many reviews gush over the special seasoning used on the fries and patties, originally created by founder Jack Koustabardis and aptly named “Jack’s Famous Fries.” Burger House won Reader’s Choice three years in a row for Best French Fries from D Magazine in 2010-12. 

In March 2015, Thrillist included “any burger” from Burger House in a list  titled “Thrillist Editors Reveal Their 21 Favorite Burgers of All Time.”  

In a 2016 Dallas Observer story about the local chain, food writer Nick Rallo wrote that “Burger House  stands out for its boldly flavored food for a quality price,” and that some of the staff “have been there for a decade and change. … You can see it at the lunch rush; it is a well-oiled machine. The top-seller, by far, is the simple cheeseburger.”   

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Burger House flourished. “Our business was every bit as good or even better some days during COVID,” Canellos said. The Addison and Hillcrest locations include drive-thru windows, which have seen a constant flow of customers throughout the day. “I think that paid off, having those drive-thrus,” Canellos said.

It takes more than convenience for a business to stay afloat. “Our community relationship that we built up over time helped us out,” Canellos said.