Woody's Drive-In celebrates 30 years

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Woody's Drive-In owner Jody Taylor helps Saige Gonzales, 9, fry bacon at the Broadway Avenue business Wednesday. The Moses Lake eatery celebrates 30 years of business in May.

MOSES LAKE - Since 1983, many Basin residents have turned to Woody's Drive-In in Moses Lake to satisfy cravings for burgers and shakes.

And there to serve menu mainstays for the past 30 years, have been generations of restaurant namesake Woody Taylor's family.

Current owner Jody Taylor said her parents, Woody and Sharon Taylor, bought the former Tastee Freeze chain and turned it into Woody's Drive-In in early May of 1983.

"My dad originally didn't want to call it Woody's, but everyone in town knew him and it just stuck," she said. He died a few months after the restaurant's opening, she said.

Taylor said she grew up working at the eatery, along with her sister Christy and brother Marty. She married and moved to Alaska, while her mom and sister ran the restaurant, she said.

"But every summer we would come home and we would work here," said Taylor.

Her son Woody and her daughter Jade also worked at the drive-in over the years, she said.

Taylor moved back to take over the business when her mom died about five years ago.

Since then, Taylor said she's employed various nieces, nephews and cousins. Her grandchildren are also likely to become Woody's employees once they reach working age, she said.

"We're definitely what you call family-owned and operated," she said.

Crew members who don't carry the Taylor last name are still considered family, said Taylor.

"We've always had a great crew here," she said. "It's a lot of work, but we manage to have fun doing it."

The restaurant's back door is always open in a sense, she said, because former employees are always coming back to visit.

"They bring their families here and we all have a blast," said Taylor. "It's like a gathering place."

Since Woody's is celebrating 30 years of being in business, Taylor said she thought it would be fun to bring back some old employees to work a shift during the restaurant's anniversary week.

She said they will celebrate May 5 to May 11 with daily specials for customers.

"We will be featuring a daily item at a throwback price to show appreciation to our wonderful and faithful customers," she said.

Milkshakes, fries, ice cream cones and the Woody Special (hamburger patties, cheese and a slab of ham) will be among the discounted items, Taylor said.

As a way to have fun with the restaurant's anniversary, Taylor said they came up with the slogan "30 and still nerdy." Employees will dress up and decorate the drive-in according to the theme, she said.

The Woody logo will also receive a "30 and still nerdy" makeover, complete with nerd glasses, high-water pants and a pocket protector.

She said her dad would have enjoyed the theme.

"When I think back to my dad he was a nerd, and probably still would be if he were with us today," Taylor said.

She said her parents probably didn't think the restaurant would grow to what it is today back when they opened it in 1983.

"I never even imagined we would be here this long," she said. "We have some amazing customers."

Woody's Drive-In is located at 423 W. Broadway Ave. They are open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information, call 509-765-7369.

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