The Polar Queen in Payson, Utah is more than 73 years old and was the first fast food drive-in in Payson. It dates to 1946 when Jess and Wanda Sorensen Bachman built it along with the Turf Café and Service Station on U.S. Highway 91 at 800 South 100 West in Payson.
The Bachmans built the Polar Queen drive-in on the north side of the Turf Café to take advantage of the heavy traffic on old US Highway 91. They lived in a small house at 745 South 100 West, about a hundred yards north of their restaurant. In 1947, the Bachmans turned over the Polar Queen to Wanda’s brother George Sorensen, who ran it until 1952.
In 1952 after George left to start his own Polar Queen in Henderson, Nevada, the Bachmans hired Byron “By” Staheli as the chef and general manager of the Turf Café and Polar Queen. He was a brilliant chef and restaurateur who already had a popular cafe at 54 North on Payson Main Street. His authentic English fish and chips recipe is still used in the present day Polar Queen.
Around 1958, a fire caused irreparable damage the original Polar Queen and caused the Bachmans rebuild a new Polar Queen on the site of their home. The present day Polar Queen stands where the Bachman house once stood at 745 South 100 West.
Sometime around 1959, the Bachmans sold the Polar Queen to Gene and Coleen Brereton Thomas, who changed its name to “Gene’s Polar Queen”. They ran it for the next 19 years. They sold out in 1979 to Amadeo O. “Frix” Frixione and his wife Glenda Brereton Frixione, a niece of Coleen.
The Frixiones returned its name to just plain “Polar Queen” and ran it for the next 26 years. Frix passed away in January, 2017. But the Polar Queen remained in the family. Presently, Frix and Glenda’s daughter Andrea Frixione Caussey continues to manage the Polar Queen in Payson. – Douglass E Stevenson
745 S Highway 198 in Payson, Utah