JB’s Drive-In More Than a Restaurant, a Family Tradition For Many
I recently put together a list of the best burgers in Northern Colorado and JB’s in Greeley topped that list. OK, so we have established they have a good burger, but it is more than just good burgers at JB’s. As I went on my weekly dinner outing with my grandma earlier this week, to you guessed it, JB’s, I realized that the little drive in on 8th Ave. and 25th St. means more than just a good meal to many including me.
A wave and a hello from Rod Clark, the third generation owner of JB’s, as he is filling up a tall mug of root beer just starts my experience at the restaurant. The next step is to find a big orange booth, most likely under one of the unique pieces of Denver Broncos art featured in the dining room. Then comes Thom with his trademark paper cap on and water in hand. For me, a menu is no longer necessarily, so a push of a button under the red hand held phone gets me connected with the switchboard operator in the kitchen to take my order. The carhop soon arrives at the table with the food and the old fashioned, hip side change carrier. Another great meal, a conversation with Thom, and maybe some ice cream wraps up yet another wonderful trip to JB’s.
It feels as close to home as a restaurant can for me. Now you may be thinking, that either the people who work there are family or I am some sort of crazed JB’s fan. Actually, both are incorrect. JB’s has just become a family tradition that actually started long before I was born. Both of my parents grew up going to JB’s with my grandparents as kids, and carried that tradition on to me.
Maybe the highlight for us at JB’s came when I was 3 or 4. There was always, and still is, a pond at the front of the restaurant stocked with goldfish where kids went after they ate, made a wish, and threw in a penny. That must have gotten old for me so my dad let me bring my fishing pole, and Rod let me fish in his pond! We still talk about that to this day. It was a couple times a week that my dad and I would head to JB’s and have cheeseburgers and root beers, which was always too much for me, so dad would always get an extra half a root beer. Through my teens it became more of a lunch hangout during my break from high school classes, and I also think i took every girl I have ever dated there within our first few dates.
Now, I am proud to call Rod and Thom friends. The trips aren’t as frequent, but just as well liked when taken. Now I have a root beer and a half because my kids don’t finish theirs, and it’s almost time to get my son, Quinntyn, equipped with a fishing pole.
75 years now, same location, same family serving up the best cheeseburgers, fried shrimp, chicken, and root beer in Northern Colorado. Jess Benjamin “JB” Taylor started the restaurant back in 1937. Then called Dog-N-Suds, Geneva Clark started working for her dad when she was just 4. In 1960 the business changed forever when the old building burned down, and it was replaced with the building you find today. When the business separated from the Dog-N-Suds chain, the chief competition was Arby’s. Geneva suggested they name their drive-in “JB’s.” Geneva and her husband, Clarence, have now run the restaurant for years. Five of their grandchildren work in the drive-in, and their son Rod and his wife, Lori, run the drive-in now, but Clarence and Geneva still put in long hours.
They raise their own cattle for the beef on their farm northeast of Latham in Weld County, and that translates into the freshest beef patty you’ll ever see on a bun! Actually, just about everything you get at JB’s was made at JB’s, so be sure to have a piece of hand breaded shrimp with your burger, or some homemade chili on top of it! Oh, and for every 12 burgers you buy, you get a free gallon of their famous homemade root beer too. Not only the best burger in Northern Colorado, but one of the best restaurants and a true legend of the area!