Family Run: Dari Delite continues to provide welcoming atmosphere
Published 5:10 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2022
This article originally published in “Progress 2022: Centers of Community.” Copies are available at 1109 Seventh Street N in Clanton.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY ZACHARY SEIFTER
For 34 years, Dari Delite in Thorsby has belonged to the same family. The year was 1987 when Karen Reeser purchased the business from Wayne Ellison, and she was determined to make the place her own. Dari Delite had been in Thorsby for nearly 40 years al-ready, but Reeser and her mother, Dot Porter, began oper-ations that helped turn it into the staple of the community that it is today. Turn the clock forward to 1998, and Reeser had a new partner in marriage and in business. Larry Reeser joined the family, and he would soon become another familiar face to Dari Delite customers for years to come.
Much has changed since the Reeser couple joined forces in the late 1990s. Dari Delite has seen a number of renovations, the Reesers have seen their four daughters grow up and have children of their own and a global pandemic has taken hold and changed the world. Through all those changes, Dari Delite still stands, serving customers that come from all over.
What is Dari Delite’s secret? Making sure they provide a comfortable family atmosphere every day, as well as good food.
The Reesers have made it a point over the years to make sure that every person who walks through Dari Delite’s doors is made welcome. The Reesers get to know their customers, and they treat them like family.
“Being able to know people on a first name basis (is important),” Larry Reeser said.
Much of Dari Delite’s success can be attributed to that value of getting to know people and treating them well.
Many of the customers have such a good experience at the local eatery that they have no choice but to come back. The Reesers have seen customers from out-of-state make annual trips to Dari Delite, just because of how wonderful their experience was the first time.
They also have a ton of local customers that are regulars at the restaurant. In fact, Andy Weeks eats at Dari Delite nearly every day.
“Probably seven or eight (times),” Weeks said of how often per week he eats at Dari Delite. Weeks has been a regular customer at the restaurant for close to 14 years, and he has no plans to stop going anytime soon.
Not only is it important for the Reesers to create a great atmosphere for their customers, but they do the same for their employees.
The Reesers are willing to work alongside their employees on a daily basis. They know that they set the bar, and that creating a good atmosphere and culture starts with them.
“For them to actually be in there, slamming those burgers, slamming that food down, (it’s) comforting,” Dari Delite employee Bernice Konarik said of the Reesers. “To know that your bosses are in there, and they’re doing everything to help us … they’re a joy.”
Not only do the Reesers set an example
49 in the kitchen and at the cash register each day, they also show a great deal of care for their employees, treating them as they would any family member.
“They told me how much they appreciate me, and it floored me,” Konarik said. “… That right there was the most important thing in my job history, that they appreciate me, they’re glad that I work here. It was really nice. I’m valued. People like to hear that, because we do work hard here. We work extremely hard here. So, it’s really good to have a boss say ‘We really value you.’”
For many years, treating their employees like family was easy for the Reesers because their employees literally were family.
Porter worked with the Reesers for many years, and she would make her homemade biscuits that became a hit among customers.
The Reesers’ daughters all grew up helping at Dari Delite, and now their grandchildren are working there as well.
“It’s family-owned and operated,” Karen Reeser said.
The Reeser family continues to operate a restaurant that brings people back over and over again.
From the fabulous customer service, to their famous hot hamburgers, Dari Delite is a small treasure in the Thorsby community, thanks to the hard work of its owners.
“People that know us, they know that we care about it and care about them, the community,” Larry Reeser said. “It’s just a pleasure, and it’s a lot of hard work. I think it goes without saying, but if we didn’t love it, then we wouldn’t be here.”