By Dayna Drake
Checkers Drive-In is trying its luck one more time in Oxford’s competitive fast-food scene.
The burger and fry shack, which is set to open before the end of the year, closed its doors in 2011 after an unsuccessful attempt at launching a location on the corner of South Lamar Boulevard and University Avenue.
As luck would have it, the former Abner’s building that closed in 2018 became available to lease at the same time Checkers decided to come back to Oxford. This time, the restaurant will be located on the busy street of West Jackson Avenue, with competition less than one minute away in either direction.
An employee at Five Guys, Deajia Wadley, pointed out the positives of bringing another burger joint to town.
“I wish we would get more different restaurants, either Mexican or Asian restaurants. We have a lot of burger places around here, but I feel like it’s fine- more opportunities for jobs for high school and college students in the area,” Wadley said.
Five Guys’ business has been thriving despite the COVID-19 pandemic, preparing patties left and right. The question is if that will be the same scenario for Checkers.
“I have seen more and more people come to fast-food restaurants during this pandemic, but I’m not sure how long Checkers will last since they had come to Oxford in 2011, and they didn’t really last that long, I’m not sure if they will again,” Wadley said.
Just a few minutes down West Jackson Ave., Bim Bam Burgers and Wings know that Checkers will bring competition, but is open to the burger joint coming back to Oxford.
“Oxford is constantly growing, and even though we were all terrified of what was going on here business has been pretty good,” Barragan said. “I think the fast-food business will stay pretty busy. I think they’ll do good. And they picked a good time- football season. Football season brings people, even with what’s going on. I hope they do fine, I hope they do great.”
Owner of Bim Bam, Erica Barragan, wishes only the best success for Checkers.
With the opening scheduled for Dec. 1, Checkers will shoot their shot to survive in the busy college town surrounding Ole Miss.
In order to prepare for their second attempt at success in Oxford, Checkers has already begun its hiring process.
Calls to Checker’s corporate offices were unanswered as of Thursday morning.