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Brookhaven restaurant serves up good grub

Unique burgers have been the star at an East Monticello Street eatery for nearly 50 years.

Brothers Cliff and Walter Givens were the original owners of Star Drive In, which opened January 1968. After just three days in the food business, Walter Givens realized it wasn’t for him. He sold his share to Jesse Givens, his nephew and Cliff’s son.

All these years later, Jesse Givens and his wife, June, are still grilling the burgers that are a Star tradition.

“I’m 69 and my husband is 71,” she said. “We’re getting ready to retire, but we’ve had a good run.”

The couple would like to sell the restaurant to someone who would continue serving the quality food their customers expect, she said.

Quality food is important to Givens. She said she could buy cheaper ingredients to serve but believes it’s the good food that keep her customers returning.

“The main thing is our homemade chili,” Givens said. “We make our own homemade chili.”

They also make their burgers fresh.

“We don’t make anything until you order it,” she said.

Some of their customers have grown up and moved away, but when they come home to visit, they stop in at the restaurant.

“You see someone walking up who has been coming here for years and you already know what they want to order. You know how they want their burger fixed and things like that. Star Drive In is usually their No. 1 stop.”

Charles McGee, of Brookhaven, loves their cheeseburgers and gyros.

“I’ve been coming here for about nine years now,” said McGee. “It’s quick and satisfying.”

Meagan White, who is the granddaughter of June Givens, manages the restaurant. She’s been there for 10 years and her favorite part is working with cook Marilyn Dixon. Dixon has been in the kitchen there for over four decades.

“I started working here in 1975 when I was 18 years old. Now, I’m 60 and I still love it,” Dixon said. “Everybody loves my burgers. A lot of customers will compliment me on my burgers. They tell me it’s just unique.”

For nearly 50 years, the restaurant has been a special place for the Star Town community.

“When I was a little girl, me and a friend would ride our bikes down here on Sundays to get an ice cream cone or a Frito pie,” Dixon said. “Everybody in the community just loves the restaurant and there ain’t nothing like a Star Drive In burger.”

With business going well and regular customers returning for more, Givens hopes the restaurant stays open for a long time.

“It’s a special spot for us,” Givens said.

Star Drive In is open Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.