Daniel’s Drive In is back and although it’s never gone

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Despite rumors online, Daniel’s Drive In is open for business.

In the second and third weeks of October, on Facebook and Google, the hamburger business was reportedly closed for good, but owner Gary Daniel assures the community it’s still open.

“During those first few days (marked as ‘permanently closed’ online) I was just standing, like what’s going on? Is it time for me to retire? Then when I found out and it changed that night. I would say for a few more days,… I have normal window traffic and driving, but even now the phone probably didn’t ring half a dozen times a day, ”Daniel said.

The drive-in, located at the corner of North Highland Street and Amarillo Boulevard, has been in operation for 40 years from this last Memorial Day. Daniel took over the establishment after his father and original owner Bob Daniel retired in November 1989.

“I have been here for 32 years. My dad started this. He bought it in late or early April 80, and it was Memorial Day in 81, ”Gary Daniel said.

Following: Amarillo Food Establishment Inspection Report for October 31, 2021

Daniel has since maintained the establishment with his father’s words in mind.

“My dad, he told me, he told me to do it this way,… there are a hundred ways to do it, but in every burger, if you make it the best burger you can make, too. quick as you can do that, for as little money as possible, then that person will come back, ”said Daniel.

The menu is not quite the same as originally, due to supply shortages and the convenience of the items. Daniel had to take out some basic items like his steak fingers and basket of chicken strips, but good old-fashioned burgers are just as good as ever.

“My favorite is definitely the old-fashioned burgers,” said LaDonna Daniel, wife of owner Gary Daniel.

According to LaDonna Daniel, it was because of her good food and warm heart that the couple met in 2003, and they have seen many lives impacted since.

Following: Amarillo’s Big Texan Steak Ranch Celebrates 60 Years, 10,000 72 oz. steak challenges

Daniel makes a point of interacting and serving everyone who comes across his property. And for those who need it or don’t have the money, he’ll serve two grilled cheese sandwiches and the leftover tots or fries he has for the day.

“You know where we’re at, you see a lot of homeless people, and some people just have a crippling addiction… and some people told me to stop that, I shouldn’t do that, but that do not work. it doesn’t matter to me. It’s not my job to ask you why you don’t have money. All I know is you don’t, so I say, okay, I’ll fix something for you, ”Daniel said.

LaDonna Daniel said that almost every day Gary Daniel comes home with a story about someone he met that day or a face revisited.

“I’ve seen over the years how he would treat the homeless with great dignity and respect, and he’s always there with a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of water. No one is hungry. He testifies to them and tells them that God loves them. Some of these people will be gone for 10 years and will all be cleaned up and come back to life and then come back, and they thank him for treating them normally, ”said Ladonna Daniel.

“It’s happened so many times that I couldn’t even tell you, over a dozen, … at least 20 times over the years, that people come back with so much gratitude, and it’s a crying experience. Everyone involved is crying tears of joy, ”she said.

Gary Daniel has said that his favorite part is the encounters he has had while running the drive-through and seeing those he has met grow up.

“Lots of clients that I’ve watched since they were little, and seen them grow up, go to school, get married, and now they’re bringing their little ones here, so I got to see this full circle. ,” he said.

Following: Potter / Randall County Courts Records for October 31, 2021

“I don’t have a lot of regrets, but one regret I have is that I didn’t start a great book 32 years ago when I started this place. I’ve had 1,000 plus 1,000 very interesting encounters, deep emotional connections with people, violence and anger, and everything in between… I don’t do this because it made me rich. I have a few dollars, but I have a lot of blessings, ”he said.

The drive-in is open Monday to Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Located at 2911 E. Amarillo Blvd., the property features both a drive-in window and a walk-in window. Daniel accepts orders by car, walk-in and on-call, and the property only accepts cash payments.

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