Posted by: greatfallsgirl | September 4, 2011


I have joined several Great Falls discussion groups on Facebook in the last couple days, which has been wonderful.  My favorite discussion right now there is a group of students who went to Largent Elementary School downtown, one of my old schools.  Another favorite of mine downtown was Zandy’s.  Someone posted a link to a Zandy’s Facebook group last night…one in which a group of investors are considering opening Zandy’s again.  Go to the link here and “like” the group.  If they have enough people, they will consider opening the store again.

My experience with Zandy’s (then Sandy’s) started early.  My Girl Scout troup leader took us down there a couple times during the summer on 10 cent hamburger day.  I remember seeing the Hutterites there on 10 cent day, getting bags and bags of burgers…they knew a good deal.  Years later when I returned to Great Falls, Zandy’s was the place you turned around when you cruised Central Avenue, and got something to eat sometime through the evening.

As usual, I find out about closings in the Great Falls Tribune and I save the article after the shock wears off.  David from Greater Falls wrote about the early closing.  There is a fantastic website that covers Zandy’s very well.  To visit it, click here.  

So long, Zandy’s: The memories remain

By JO DEE BLACK • Tribune Staff Writer • January 17, 2009

Back in the day, Zandy’s was the turnaround spot for high school students cruising Central Avenue, said Diane Timboe, a 1981 C.M. Russell High graduate.

Although the drive-in she and her husband, Todd, own is now closed, the couple has a permanent reminder of the hangout in their home.

The Timboes bought the business in 2000 and, a few years later, commissioned local artist Brian Morger to create a piece of artwork depicting the place.

The result is an eight-foot-by-four-foot painting with a lot of personal touches.

“The piece is really personal for me,” Diane Timboe said.

The painting includes a 1956 green Chevy, which is the car Diane’s dad owned. Inside the vehicle are Diane, her brother and parents, sketched from a church picture taken of the family in the 1970s.

“The license plate says 2-5-10, because May 10 is my birthday, and it also is Brian Morger’s birthday,” Diane said. “We had signed prints made, too, and my parents have number 56 hanging in their house.”

Todd’s family’s station wagon is included, along with a big purple car with a license plate of 19-2241, which was Morger’s address in Fort Benton, where he grew up.

To gather ideas for the piece, Morger spent time with the previous restaurant owners, the Simpsons, sifting through old photographs and listening to memories.

“Originally, it was a relative of Zollie Kelman from the Midwest who opened the franchise, which was a Sandy’s, here in Great Falls,” Morger said. “It was a laminated wood structure. The siding was added in the 1980s to make it more energy efficient, but, at one time, it was a beautiful building.”

There also was a strict uniform code: red-and-white checked outfits with white hats, Morger said.

As a kid, Morger remembers piling into his family’s station wagon with his parents and seven siblings and stopping at Zandy’s for the Tuesday night bag-of-burgers special.

“I remember those red and white uniforms, and the good fries,” he said. “I was content just to inhale the aroma of those burgers left in the bag.”

Zandy’s originally opened in 1960 as a Sandy’s Drive-In franchise, according to Tribune archives.

In the early 1970s, Hardee’s bought the Sandy’s company and the Simpsons, who owned it at the time, had to choose between becoming a Hardee’s franchise or changing the name, Todd Timboe said. The Simpsons chose the latter, literally going through the alphabet to try out different names. They decided on Zandy’s, which meant they had to change only one letter on the sign.

Rising costs made the business unprofitable for a couple of years and there were plans to shut down at the end of this month. Then the business was broken into last Sunday, forcing the closure to take place sooner than planned.



  1. We lived on 13th St. and 4th Ave. North. My dad worked at Don Ryan Olds and Barnes Buick…. oh how I miss the easy Saturday strolls downtown to Sandy’s and Taco Treat, how many items can one eat on hot Saturday afternoon, remember the Paris, Café, I loved leaning over the wall watching the shoppers below. Sundays walks to Gipson Park with our German Shepard, I would stop at every mom and pop grocery store on the way from CRM gallery to Gipson….Trees in full greenery and army worms.. were my biggest curiosity and concern. I’ll never forget Snyder’s drugstore, soda fountain, .25 cents for a sarsaparilla , “please don’t stir in the syrup let it sink” ! Looking at the magazine rack.. for the playboy hoping to get a glimpse. Fords drive-in and a Bob’s special at Burgermaster

  2. It was Sandy’s when I was in Great Falls and Wednesday’s were .25 cent hamburger day!!!! I miss Great Falls too!!!!!

  3. I worked for the Simpsons back in the 70’s. I was there when they went through the name change from Sandy’s to Zandy’s. What great memories – it was an awesome place to work! I would be interested in a reminder hanging in my home as well, if there is any chance of a copy of the painting Brian Morger did, I would love to purchase one.

  4. I worked there in the 80’s…like say 85 or 86. There was the crazy BITCH there who YELLED at EVERYONE who worked there…like she was mentally ill or something…just YELLED everything…like…HEY GET ME A FUCKING NAPKIN! Or THIS BURGER IS READY COME GET IT!!! But in a rude, mean, mentally ill disturbed kind of way…YUCK!

  5. Why Couldn’t Zandy’s Stay Open Ford’s Drive In Is Still In Operation?

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