Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Another 60 Years at Patio Drive-In

Patio Drive-In

95 N Grayson Pkwy (Hwy 191)
Blanding, UT, 84511

Phone: (435) 678-2177

Hours of Operation: Mon thru Sat: 11am-9pm, Closed Sunday

In the early 1950s, A&W opened two franchises, one in Blanding, the other in Monticello.  While Monticello’s franchise went bust due to lack of business, Blanding’s was booming; so much so, that the owner decided to cut ties with A&W.  In 1959, Patio Drive-In was born and while it has changed hands countless times, it has remained an icon of Blanding life. 

I first met current owners, Lana and Ricky Arthur, in 2015, but they have owned Patio since 2009.  The concept for the food at Patio has, and always will be, “We are not a fast food restaurant”, no, it’s a good food restaurant with proud owners and employees.  

On December 3, 2018, the Grand Re-opening of the newly remodeled Patio, community support displayed evidence of the pride locals felt about, not just the restaurant, but the Arthurs.  As we all gathered inside to say hello to Lana, Ricky, their employees, friends and neighbors, the swell of excited anticipation could be felt building.  Lana got her ribbon cutting scissors, borrowed from a local flower shop, but Lana was willing to do free haircuts that day, if anyone was brave enough.  Outside to the new entrance to the newly built dining area we followed; standing together while Lana, Ricky and Lana’s mom smiled at us.

Not being too fond of making speeches, Ricky let Lana do all the talking, just like a good husband should.  Lana’s voice cracked, her eyes moist with emotion, “I made it perfect for you.  My goal theme, “Another 60 Years!”  …opened in 1959…a desperate need to be redone and I knew I was the person privileged to do it and grateful I was able to do it.  …Another 60 Years!”  Lana also thanked her mom for all the support she had given them, in so many ways, and it just couldn’t have all been done without her.  Cutting the ribbon, being hugged and kissed by Ricky; we all cheered and then it was, “Come on it and eat!”

While many of us strolled around checking out the new décor, reupholstered bench seats and upgraded kitchen, there was Robert Turk at the register…the Patio’s first customer of the day.  Hey, he had his priorities correct, food first, then stroll it off afterwards.  

While the collection of license plates paneled one wall, another wall held a special memorial for local hero, Jason Workman.

Of course I had to check out the kitchen first and drool over the professional stove/oven/grill and deep fryer.  Ah, but I was not alone in my venture, along with hubby Roy, San Juan County was represented by Natalie Randall and Andy Platt from Economic Development and Tourism office, and Bayley Hedglin of the Chamber of Commerce.  We all know where the good food is!

Now let me get to the food.  Still sourcing as local as possible, Patio’s burgers come from a coalition of ranchers in nearby Colorado.  No more frozen burgers that needed to be marinated in au jus before grilling to perfection; oh no, now it’s fresh, and we all know fresh is best!  Which brings me to a menu item reserved just for locals; it won’t be listed on the menu board, but we can order it any time we want.  I am speaking about…The Houston, that specialty burger developed by former employee, Dallas Hall.  A juicy bacon cheeseburger on grilled bread topped with Swiss and Cheddar cheeses, lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayo.

The Houston

Roy ordered the Big B, but added toppings of made fresh on the grill mushrooms and onions, oh you can taste the difference of freshly grilled.  My choice was the Chicken Ham and Swiss; the chicken tenders used are awesomely crispy on the outside, with tender, juicy chicken within; this sandwich takes two hands with all the toppings it comes with!  Who am I kidding, all the sandwiches at Patio need two hands…no regrets!

Ordering the combos, we both love those curly fries, more like waves of potatoes, deep fried, full of fluffy potato goodness and so yummy; 32 ounce fountain drinks come with combos and Utah’s all-time favorite, fry sauce, for your choice of potato side.  We were so stuffed, ordering shakes or ice cream cones will just have to wait for a return visit, a soon to occur return visit.  By the way, Patio may contain two dining areas inside now, but they are still servicing customers with a drive up window.  What I’d like to know is, how can anyone drive when needing two hands to eat one of Patio’s burgers???

Another 60 Years!  A concept that speaks about love of a business, love for a community and a future full of hope and the fulfillment of dreams. 

Mary Cokenour

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