Let’s Drive Down to Dee’s! Dee’s Drive-In – Utah and Beyond


Dee’s Drive-In locations were a fixture throughout the state of Utah for nearly five decades. Towards the end of the 1970’s, the family sought to change its business model away from drive-ins to sit down family restaurants. The chain was sold to Hardee’s around that time. Based on my research, it doesn’t appear that the land on which any of the Dee’s Drive-Ins stood is involved with any fast food restaurant. I will be looking at each former location individually to see what it is now. I’m not ruling anything out. Any help to fill out the location list would be amazing.

I’ve lived in Utah for most of my life and I just barely heard about Dee’s Drive-In. I went to Dee’s Family Restaurants, but I never knew they were once a drive-in burger chain. 

I performed a search of Standard Examiner’s archives stretching back to 2001. I turned up one article. One article about Dee’s Drive-Ins in nearly two decades. The article itself wasn’t even about the chain. It was about an artist who created sculptures representing various Utah icons. Dee’s Drive-Ins were included on the list for being so iconic that the article in question was its only mention in the press in 20 years.

I know that a chain that hasn’t been around for 35 years is the exact opposite of what people think of when they think of news. I’m not saying that every Utah media outlet should cover Dee’s Drive-Ins ad nauseam. What I am saying is that one of them might have thought to cover this chain more than once since 2001. 

I will give the Salt Lake Tribune. They put out a “Whatever Happened To” profile on Dee’s Drive-In a little while back. While I appreciate the fact that this article exists, it is very dry and too brief. Topics get touched on, but not enough is done to expound on them. You’re left wanting more, but the stories end with those threads waiting to be pulled. I will not repeat a lot of the information the article presented. If I do, it will only be in an introduction to an article that expounds on it.

By the end of this series, we will all have a record of Dee’s Drive-In that’s so comprehensive that it will stand as the definitive resource on the subject. As always, any help people could provide is much appreciated. Email me at allenglines@gmail if you have anything to add.

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