|You, pretty burger, are responsible for all this.|
Before that, I remember burgers from Prince's Drive-In and Bellaire Broiler Burger, but while good, they aren't the same sort of burgers that Beck's. Same goes for Rosnovsky's and Someburger. Been around forever, but they serve fast food-style burgers, albeit very good ones.
An astute Twitterer, Jennifer King, remembered that Cafe Express started around the same time period, but while they do serve burgers, I don't think they're in the same class as Beck's.
Another of the Twitterati, Joey, reminded us about Annie's on South Post Oak. I'm a fan, but I wouldn't consider them to offer a high-end experience.
So I'll put it to the experts here: Who started the gourmet burger craze in Houston?