There will be no more pairs of bare, sandy river feet slapping across the pavement at Greaser’s Drive-In. No more happy children dripping more ice cream onto their faces than into their mouths; no more beds of flowers or hanging pots overflowing with petunias and sweet potato vines. No more crispy French fries dunked in cheese and smothered in ketchup; no more juicy, grass-fed beef burgers covered in crunchy coleslaw; no more Greaser’s Drive-In.
Owners Sherri and Rob Moser sold the Guttenberg restaurant this month after lengthy negotiations with Casey’s General Store, a long-time neighbor who will soon begin tearing down the small but mighty building.
In a recent presentation to the city council, Mark Blaine, regional construction supervisor for Casey's, described a new diesel fueling facility to be constructed north of the current Casey's store. The proposed flow of traffic would have trucks turning east onto DeKalb Street, entering the Casey’s property for refueling at the new pumps and then exiting onto Highway 52. Blaine expects the project will be completed sometime this year.
Sherri and Rob have been spending their summers at the grill and behind the drive-up window for 27 years. A father’s unique vision of his teenage daughters owning a summer burger and ice cream shop got the Pup Hut started in the 1980s. Sherri’s father, Dan Westemeier, couldn’t possibly have imagined the nearly three decades of success that would follow when he encouraged daughters Sherri and Tami to go into business.
When Tami went to college, Sherri and Rob took over. They’ve carried on Westemeier’s vision from Pup Hut to Greaser’s, giving summer jobs to over 350 Guttenberg youth during their time in business. “So many young ladies and young men have become family to us. We had some wonderful help over the years,” Sherri told The Press.
The husband and wife business partners say the secret to their success was keeping things very simple. That worked so well that they eventually grew right out of their small building. “We had freezers in the shed and even at home to store ice cream,” Sherri said. She describes the sale of the business as bittersweet - but with a twinkle in her eye, she said, “One door closes and another one opens. I’ll never say never to food.”
Though she plans to spend her newfound free time fishing with her dad, she doesn’t consider herself retired. In fact, she and Rob have been looking at food trucks and are considering the possibility of opening Greaser’s On Wheels.
“We want to thank everyone for their support. We have met so many wonderful customers. We consider them friends, and we will miss them the most,” said Sherri.
Guttenberg residents and visitors will surely miss the quality, taste, and novelty of the iconic Greaser’s Drive-In, but after 27 years in business, its former owners have earned some much-deserved time off.
Photo courtesy of business owners.