The new owners of the Sno-White Drive In are hoping to restore all that was great about the Oakdale landmark diner starting with the food.
Johnny Odisho and Ashur Youkhana, two Turlock-based businessmen, purchased the Sno-White on North Yosemite Avenue in April and since then have been making improvements such as adding a patio, updating the interior to reflect more of a diner atmosphere, but the biggest change they hope patrons notice is the quality of the food.
“It’s fast food but not fast food,” Youkhana said. “Everything here is made fresh to order. We don’t take shortcuts and there’s no cutting corners. The wheel has been created — we’re not trying to recreate the wheel. We have high quality food. If you give the customer 100 percent good quality, they’ll pay.”
The two men, close friends since high school, were eager to go into business together and when the opportunity arose to purchase the diner, they jumped at it.
“I’ve always liked ‘50s style diners and when we saw this place, we knew we had to do it,” Youkhana said.
And since opening, patrons have come in, pleased with the changes.
“I have people coming in who say, ‘My grandfather used to bring me here!’ and we like that history the Sno-White has in the community,” Youkhana said. “When we talked to people we asked what they liked and then we brought it back.”
Both Youkhana and Odisho wanted to find out what was awesome about the Sno-White in its heyday and then return it to the community.
That included returning favorite menu items and retaining a few, such as the 51 ice cream shake flavors and the chipped ice.
“One woman comes in just for the ice,” Odisho said, bringing a cup as an example. The ice, not exactly crushed but not cubed either, is a treasured favorite of those who have particular ice cube tastes. “We’ll never change our ice.”
The menu is traditional diner fare with a few added twists.
“We only use Vienna Beef hot dogs for our hot dogs. We don’t use those cheap ones,” Youkhana said. “And we have six different types of dogs, including Chicago.”
Another added twist that is quickly becoming as popular as the Giant and Cowboy burgers is the Italian Beef sandwich, a staple in Chicago.
“We have customers who come once a week for the Italian beef,” Youkhana shared. “It’s really good, you need to try it.”
Both Youkhana and Odisho stand by their menu, too.
“I’ve tried everything but the 4x4 burger,” Odisho said proudly.
Youkhana nodded emphatically, saying, “I don’t sell anything that I wouldn’t eat myself.”
Both men want the Sno-White to become a staple in the community, and contributing business to the health and wealth that Oakdaleans have come to enjoy.
“We want to become sponsors for kids sports teams and we want to be involved,” Youkhana said. “We’re still working on a few things, such as we want to get a jukebox and find more things from the ‘50s but they’re hard to find. It’s not like you can walk into Wal-Mart and find them.”
Other improvements include upgrades to the kitchen area but in the meantime, they’re focusing on two important aspects of restaurant business: food and customer service.
“We’re still improving; we built the patio for more exposure and we’re starting to get bus traffic. People are noticing it more. People in Oakdale are happy to see it refurbished. This is a part of Oakdale history and we’re happy to make this happen for the community,” Youkhana said.
When the Sno-White was sold, the two men inherited a waitress along with the sale. She, for one, was very grateful for the purchase.
“I want to thank these lovely people for saving our Sno-White,” Alainya Sherley said. “It’s already better and it’s just going to keep getting better.”
Sno-White Drive-In is also available for birthday parties.
The Oakdale Sno-White is located at 420 N. Yosemite Ave.; for more information, call 209-848-3908.