Changes coming to Wagner’s Drive Inn?

9 Apr

From an April 9, 2009 Star Tribune article:

Schussler plus Hwy. 7 drive-in equals love

When it comes to his affection for Wagner’s (3712 Quebec Av. S., St. Louis Park), Steve Schussler doesn’t sugarcoat it. “I would have given my last dollar for this place,” he said. It’s a love story that goes way back.

“I’ve been driving down Hwy. 7 past the place for years and thinking, ‘Boy, I wish I could own that,'” said the brainiac behind the Rainforest Cafe, Kansas City’s mammoth T-Rex and a long list of restaurant concepts nationwide. Last year he bought the building across the street and his obsession grew. “Then I started looking out the window and thinking, ‘Boy, what I would do with that.'”

We’ll find out soon enough. If all goes as planned, Schussler will own the fabled drive-in by the end of the month, when the modest 58-year-old landmark will get a once-over from his team of creatives. Zoning regulations forbid Schussler from encroaching on the restaurant’s original footprint, so a physical expansion is out. But he’s promising an upgraded parking lot, a freshly mowed lawn, new kid play areas, bike and skateboard racks, a rebuilt kitchen and a major exterior spiff-up.

“We’re going to class it up,” Schussler said. “A retro-futuristic look, kind of like George Jetson. It’s still going to be cute and neighborly. And we’re going to keep the same great food. We’re serious about keeping this staple in the community. I want this to be the place that’s known for hiring the neighborhood kids for their first job, the place that’s a part of the local Cub Scout [packs].”

Other changes in the works include beefing up the burgers-and-fries menu with chicken, staying open year-round, adding the option to pay by credit card — a first for the cash-only establishment — and possibly putting carhops on new-edition Segways. “You’ve got to give the people what they want,” Schussler said. “With the economy, the simplicity of the drive-in is coming back. This could be the beginnings of a national chain.”

One with a new name: Galaxy Drive Inn. If all goes as planned, Schussler’s new baby will be up and running by early May.

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One Response to “Changes coming to Wagner’s Drive Inn?”

  1. Ryan Stinson April 13, 2009 at 8:24 pm #

    Colin-

    The site looks great!!

    Just bookmarked it!

    -Ryan

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