(DOUG JESSOP’S UTAH SUCCESS STORIESABC4 NEWS – SALT LAKE CITY, UT) When you think of Heber, Utah there are a couple of landmarks that come to mind.  One of those is the Heber Valley Railroad.

Another landmark is Dairy Keen. A multi-generation business that is best known for the train that runs through the restaurant.  I visited with one of the co-owners, Jan.

“My father loved trains. He saw some trains in restaurants in California and Colorado and said we should do this. Our logo is Max, my dad.”

“The Heber Valley Railroad figured out that my dad liked trains, so they put him on the committee to help save the train. He was instrumental in having the state of Utah purchase the Heber Valley Railroad.”

Jan’s family also owns the Alpine Inn next door. “My family has been in business since October of 1946. We are working on our seventy fifth year. It was a great commute to work. You just walked across the driveway.”

Dairy Keen’s train theme has made them an experience and a destination.

“Our most popular burger is the Train Burger. The train burger is quarter pound hamburger with ham, Swiss and American cheese, thousand island dressing, lettuce, tomato, and pickle. All of a sesame seed bun. Now I can say that faster if you want.”

I was surprised to learn that Dairy Keen has lots of gluten free options.  Jan told me; “Our gluten free menu is extensive. We have gluten free burgers. We have gluten free grilled cheese. Chicken strips. And gluten free Oreo shakes. So you can’t buy any gluten free Oreos in Heber Valley, because I bought them all.”

Oreo shakes sound good to me. Jan let me try my hand and making a shake. I donned an apron, gloves and best of all…a new railroad hat!

She walked me through the process. “You’re going to make an Oreo shake; I’m going to make a raspberry shake. The first thing we do is put in the ice cream.

First, we are going to put in half a cup of ice cream.” There was big box of broken up Oreos. She continued; “put two scoops in there. People like lots of Oreos in their shakes.”

Here’s the fun part…approaching the shake machine. Ladies and gentlemen, all aboard. I’m glad that there was a piece of plexiglass between me and the blades. Let’s just way I made a mess, and I don’t know if Jan is going to let me back here anymore.

Family traditions are important. I told Jan about bringing my kids to Dairy Keen when they were little. Now it’s time for me to bring my grandkids. I’m not the only one.

She smiled as she pointed out long time customers in the restaurant. “They brought their children. Now they are bringing their grandchildren. And now their children’s, children’s, children. It’s a place of memories and that’s what we hope too always be. A place of memories for families.”

Everyone has a story. I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”

You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.

You can see my positive business profiles every Sunday in the ABC4 News at 10 p.m. or online at www.ABC4.com/Success

With another entry into Doug Jessop’s Utah Success Stories, from Dairy Keen – Home of the Train – I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.

Doug Jessop
For Doug Jessop, it all started with a cassette recorder he got for Christmas when he was 12 years old growing up in Southern California. Doug interviewed relatives, friends and anyone else that might have a good story. You can follow Doug at www.DougJessop.com, on YouTube.com/DougJessop, and @DougJessopNews on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.