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84-year-old JB’s Drive In goes dark indefinitely in Greeley

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A year-long closure at Greeley’s 84-year-old JB’s Drive In doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the road for the iconic American diner.

In 1942, facing a meat and sugar shortage and a raging world war, the drive-in’s original owners, Jess and Louise Taylor, closed down their 5-year-old restaurant (then called Jess’ Sandwich Shop) for more than a year.

But after bouncing back and surviving for more than eight decades, JB’s is going dark once again, at least for the rest of 2021, the Taylors’ grandson, Rodney Clark, told KXBG radio on Monday.

Clark said that his family’s restaurant isn’t closing down because of the pandemic; after all, its format lends well to distanced dining out. But his health, as well as his mother’s, are at play in the decision, as are staffing issues.

“Rod did tell me that this is not a goodbye for good just yet,” KXGB’s Shawn Patrick wrote of JB’s uncertain future. Neither Clark nor other family members could be reached initially for comment.

In 2007, JB’s was featured in The Denver Post with the headline, “Where time stands still.”

That year, a one-sixth-pound cheeseburger made with beef from the Clark family cattle herd cost $1.79 (now it’s up to $3.29). Rod Clark’s mother, Geneva, ran the drive-in, closely guarding her own mother’s fried shrimp recipe — a JB’s constant — served by the piece, as a snack, in a basket and on special, but always with tartar sauce ($3.61-$15.79).

“Geneva doesn’t waste time worrying about her legacy or JB’s place in the community,” The Post’s Kristen Browning-Blas wrote then. “We just get up, we come to work, we go home and go to bed,” Geneva said.

According to KXGB, the drive-in’s matriarch continued to work every day until the restaurant’s closing. Geneva and her husband, Clarence, had bought JB’s from her parents in 1970. By 2007, her grandson Taylor said he would consider taking over the Colorado family business, which would have marked its fourth generation.

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