The Santa Queen turns 40

Serve Daily - - COMMUNITY - By Ed Helmick for Serve Daily

Some busi­nesses brag that they have been in busi­ness for 10 years or 20 years, but a busi­ness in San­taquin has cel­e­brated 40 years in busi­ness. That is re­mark­able for any and de­serves a spe­cial note of con­grat­u­la­tions. The busi­ness is the Santa Queen Drive-in and it is cur­rently owned by Colby Steven­son, the grand­son of the lady who started the lady who opened the res­tau­rant Memo­rial Day week­end, 1977.

At the age of 43, Kath­leen Wil­liams left her job with Moun­tain Bell and the Fam­ily Res­tau­rant and es­tab­lished the first drive-in res­tau­rant in San­taquin, Utah. Open­ing day was crazy busy and then, the potato peeler pulled off the wall. They made it through the day and have been go­ing strong ever since. Her daugh­ter, Kelly Steven­son, has worked at the Santa Queen for 26 years. Karen Wall has been work­ing as a cook at the res­tau­rant for 27 years. Kath­leen is now 83 and ex­cited to talk about the busi­ness she started 40 years ago.

Over the years, all of her chil­dren and grand­chil­dren have worked at the Santa Queen. One pur­pose of the en­ter­prise was to teach em­ploy­ees how to do their best and have good work ethics. Kath­leen’s grand­son, Kelly’s son, Colby Steven­son bought the res­tau­rant a few years ago and is pas­sion­ate about con­tin­u­ing the suc­cess of the res­tau­rant.

When Kath­leen was asked if know­ing what she does now would she do it again, the an­swer was def­i­nitely yes. She likes the idea of a fam­ily busi­ness and likes to treat cus­tomers like fam­ily. It is neat to have been in busi­ness this long be­cause par­ents are com­ing in with their kids who came in as kids, with their par­ents, years ago.

This past sum­mer Colby bought Reeds Drive-in in Nephi and changed the name to Nebo Queen with the same menu as the Santa Queen. Reeds was an­other small com­mu­nity drive-in that had served the com­mu­nity for many years, and be­cause of this, it was im­por­tant for Colby to con­tinue em­ploy­ing all of the staff for all who wanted to stay. Be­tween the two restau­rants, they have about 54 em­ploy­ees.

The fa­vorite menu items are: the Su­per Dou­ble Cheese­burger which has ½ pound meat; Ba­con Crunch which has crunchy chicken strips; Oreo shakes; Onion Rings which are hand-dipped; the home­made sauces. Noth­ing at the Santa Queen or Nebo Queen Drive-in is pre-cooked. As a clos­ing note, a lo­cal den­tist writes pre­scrip­tions for ice cream cones.

Photo: Ed Helmick

The Santa Queen res­tau­rant opened Memo­rial Day week­end, 1977.

Photo: Ed Helmick

The Nebo Queen, for­merly Reeds DriveIn, in Nephi.

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