SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Over 90 years ago, Utah’s original burger chain was established with much excitement from the community, called Dee’s Drive-In.
With several restaurant locations still visited today, many may not know of the history behind the popular restaurant and its humble founder — a man named Dee Anderson from Ephraim, Utah.
Dee Anderson first began his journey into the fast-food industry at the age of 16 when he ran a booming concession stand at a local carnival in his hometown. Taking from this staggering success, he would soon join a friend in operating several concession stands around Salt Lake City.
Eventually, with strong support from the locals who grew to love his burgers, Anderson chose to venture into business by himself — opening his first Dee’s in the downtown area. His popular hamburgers would become even more popular as they were sold for only 5 cents each.
In an autobiography written by Anderson titled “A Boy From Ephraim,” he recalls often working tirelessly from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. the next day to keep up with demand. Following this restaurant’s overwhelming growth, he would expand to more locations across the Wasatch Front.
By the 1950s, Anderson would take his franchise a step further by opening his first drive-in restaurant at 753 East 2100 South. From the opening, his business would take on a whole new level of success, with more than 50 drive-in locations quickly springing up around the state.
At this point, Dee’s Drive-In had become a household name here in Utah, known for its catchy “Let’s go to Dee’s” jingle and employing as many as 1,200 people frying up his signature “Deeburgers” for eager customers at just 19 cents.
Dee’s would eventually be sold to Hardee’s in 1982, and the ever-growing franchise would slowly shrink. A handful of Dee’s Family Restaurant locations still exist in Utah today, though many generations still look back fondly on the delicious days of Dee’s Drive-In.