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Long line at window shepherds out era of Parker's Drive In

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Dec. 30, 2011 at 7:07 p.m.

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AMERICAN FORK -- It is typical to hear of people waiting in line when a product comes out or to be one of the first customers at a long-anticipated store or restaurant. But in American Fork, people are waiting in line for hours to get one last bite of food from a little restaurant that is closing its doors forever.

Before Parker's Drive In opened for the day, people were already lining up, making the wait up to two hours. The owner of Parker's, Lillian Parker, says after 58 years in business it is finally time to retire. Her late husband, Lee Parker, originally co-owned the hamburger joint with her.

"This is just where we would always come to eat, we grew up on Parker's," said Ann McAllister, a customer of the drive in.

Steve Phelon has been eating there since 1973, and bought lunch for everyone at his office today. The bill came to $138 in all.

This is just where we would always come to eat, we grew up on Parker's.

–- Ann McAllister, customer

"It's more the memories than anything. Been coming here so long just had to get in on the last day," Phelon said.

The home-style hamburgers, fries, shakes and of course fry sauce hasn't changed over the past 58 years, except for the price, some customers point out.

"I can remember hamburgers at 19 cents, shakes 25 cents, sundaes 15 cents," said Grant Parker, Lee Parker's brother.

Grant Parker worked for his brother in the early days, and watched as the family business with its personal touch survived the competition of the fast food chains.

"Now you have to have a drive up, and you have to have indoor seating and we don't have either one," he said.

Lillian Parker and her late husband Lee, were in their mid-twenties when they opened for business in 1953. Through the years they've had hundreds of employees and thousands of loyal customers.

"Just the association we have with people and get to know their whole family," she said.

While she is sad to see it come to an end, she hopes her customers understand that after working the business for 58 years, she deserves to retire.

"I'd like to thank people for staying true to us, a lot of businesses have come and gone and we've stayed here," Lillian Parker said.

She appreciates the long line of customers showing their appreciation for what she has given them. Parker's will be opens a few more hours tonight, unless they run out of food. KSL has been told that the property is in the process of being sold to an undisclosed buyer.


Sam Penrod


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