GORDON—While management at Campbell’s Drive-In has changed, the popular business, which has been operating for 43 years, will remain in the family. And as local residents will know by all the activity that has taken place at the business this past winter and early spring, the drive-in has undergone extensive renovations.
“The restaurant is 43 years old, and I’m sure I’ll make it another 43 years running the business,” said Lisa Campbell Garrett, who has taken over the management duties of the restaurant from her mother Daphne.
“This wasn’t the original plan,” said Lisa. “When mom got sick last year I just decided to continue to run the business until she got better. But every time she said something about selling it, I thought, ‘I can run the restaurant,’ and I really wanted to keep it in the family.”
“I ended up in the hospital last summer and I was trying to rack my mind as to who would work with Lisa and I knew Janet (James) would continue to work here,” said Daphne Campbell. “I said I need to try to find someone else to help out Lisa as well, but I was so sick,” noting that her son Brian and his wife Liza would be on hand on the August 2018 long weekend to help out. “I said I’m leaving it all up to you (her family),” said Daphne.
“So now I’m going to be working for Lisa,” said Daphne, who quipped, “she said I couldn’t retire so I’m going to work the first and last day the restaurant is open this year,” stressing “I’ll be working this year and Dan (Sinclair) will be here as well to help out.”
Daphne explained that it was her first husband Keith’s idea to open a drive-in restaurant, and Campbell’s was opened in 1976. She said, “Keith had always wanted to open a drive-in restaurant and bought this end of the family farm to put up a building. It took us 10 years before we did get going.”
Daphne pointed out, “when Keith and I were in Sudbury we’d go to the Deluxe Drive-In and he would always say ‘this is want I want to do.’ I thought he was crazy at first, and he had his own construction company at the time. But he (Keith) went away to take classes and eventually we got the building opened and started to operate in 1976.”
“This is where we lived in the summer,” said Lisa of her parents and her two siblings. “I can remember as a kid breading chicken in my pajamas with feet on them.”
“I had made up my mind last August when John (her second husband) passed away,” said Daphne. “I knew I had to step back a little—I knew I couldn’t do this any more, and there were things that Lisa could do that I just couldn’t any more.”
As for the renovations done to the drive-in restaurant building, “I’m sure it’s a mystery to everyone because people have been looking at all the activity taking place here this winter,” said Daphne.
“It was my idea to renovate the building, it was time—it needed an upgrade,” said Lisa. She pointed out the menu will stay the same except for one small change; the introduction of the queen burger, which will be the biggest hamburger on the menu. The king burger had been a double cheeseburger and everyone kept asking for bacon with it and the queen burger will have this.”
“I’m very, very happy that Lisa is going to take over and keep the restaurant going,” said Daphne, who will be working part-time.
“Over the years, mom has figured out what works and what customers want so we will continue that way,” said Lisa.
The interior of the business that the customer will see has been totally renovated and looks great. Plans are to also install a deck outside for customers to sit and enjoy their meal and socialize on patio furniture, while there is going to be new lighting outside.
“We also have a new Facebook page that will include our menu and pictures,” said Lisa. She noted as well, “a big thank you to Andrew Wylie for all the renovation work he has done on the restaurant. If not for him we wouldn’t be opening. And to all the many other people that have lent me equipment and helped.”
Campbell’s Drive-In will open this weekend for the season and will be open seven days a week from 11 am to 10 pm.