Del’s Restaurant was built in 1956, owned and operated by Del Akin until 1978. At this time he sold the restaurant to his secretary, Jessica Braziel, even though he said a woman could never run it. Well, she ran it for a few years, sold it, got it back and then leased it out. Then, in 1995, Jessica’s daughters, Yvonne and Yvette, returned to Tucumcari and purchased the restaurant from their Mom. Remembering the days before the interstate bypass, when the whole world passed in front of Del’s Restaurant and every motel was filled each night during the summer, inspired the sisters’ vision to bring the restaurant back to its glory days and help revive Historic Route 66.
From its heyday to the near demise of the Mother Road, Del’s has carried on as a planned stopped for many searching for a lost part of history. Since 1956, support by area residents and worldwide travelers have made Del’s Restaurant an alluring landmark on Historic Route 66. Fine food, a warm welcome, and friendly service make Del’s Restaurant a major stop for all people seeking a memorable stop on Historic Route 66.
Preserving a piece of history, for future enjoyment, is not an easy task. Maintaining the originality of a historic business is a lot of hard work. With minimal renovation, Del’s has held steadfast to tradition with its brick and mortar building and original flagstone floor, including the Hereford Bull atop the sign. Today, the bull is a well-known trademark for Del’s Restaurant. Directions are constantly being given focusing on the “bull” as to one’s location on Route 66.
There is always a need for attracting more visual attention to a business, and with the neon the property retains its historical significance while enhancing the façade. Historically, Route 66 and neon were virtually synonymous; to follow the Mother Road, one only needed to follow the neon lighting. Neon gave way as more modern and cost effective lighting became available through the years. Today, one thinks of neon not as lighting, but a lost art. Thus, it is important for those businesses on Route 66 today to find and restore that “lost art”, and once again light up the Mother Road. With the neon restoration, Del’s Restaurant is reinforcing this intrinsic and historical value of Route 66.
The Mother Road is not only alluring to our fellow U.S. neighbors, but to international travelers as well. Del’s serves many, many customers from around the world who have designated Del’s as a stopping point, while specifically traveling Route 66. Structures, such as Del’s Restaurant, are exactly what American and International nostalgists are looking for on the Mother Road to stop, shop and eat. I shudder to think what our business would be like without the magnetism of our special road—“Route 66”—making memories!
Your Hosts and Owners,