Joe Dandy’s brings back drive-in diner for Oak Lake

The little town’s drive-in restaurant sat empty last year, but now Joe Dandy’s drive-in on Oak Lake’s Oxcart Trail is in full swing serving up sizzling burgers, French fries and other summer treats.

In fact, you can order home-grown bison burgers here as well, grown just up the road at Bison Spirit Ranch.

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When Dandy’s drive-in didn’t open last summer, Russell Thiessen, an area farmer, decided to make the owners an offer. Russell and Patti along with Russell’s siblings Jody, Rob, Joe, Mike and their spouses have pitched-in as owner/operators.

Mike stepped up to manage the business, setting up the website and online ordering.

“Mike has been a huge factor in keeping operations running smoothly and efficiently,” says Joe Thiessen.

Contractor/carpenter Rob Thiessen headed up the renovations inside and out and the business opened on May 7 with an unexpectedly busy start says Russell’s sister Jody Kaonga

She supervises the day-to-day operation.

Running a drive-in summer restaurant in Oak Lake was not on their to-do list. “This just … kind of happened,” laughs Jody.

Karissa Thiessen, married to Dr. Joe Thiessen, speaks up, “It’s a good thing to do for Oak Lake. We actually didn’t know how we could do it.”

Until COVID-19 changed everything, the Thiessen brothers’ country gospel band was scheduled for a Prairie Joe tour in April. That was cancelled, which then allowed them to focus on Joe Dandy’s.

As an outdoor and take-out service, with a few distancing procedures in place, COVID-19 has not slowed the business down.

The menu is available online and orders can be phoned, ordered online or in person.

© Virden Empire-Advance