Dea Sparks, founder of Dea’s In & Out, Inc. had a dream of owning his own business. He was a young man with a business mind and a family to provide for. His journey began at Keller’s Pastry where he worked as a baker. Here, he developed the skills needed to bake his famous Longburger Buns.
In 1953 his dream became reality when he purchased a business that would soon after become Dea’s In & Out. Located on Powell, the original Dea’s was a small Drive-Thru Restaurant. The menu was made up of Burgers, Hot Dogs, Fries, Milk Shakes and Soda. Dea baked his own Buns, hand molded the Burger Patties and cut Fresh Fries to order. Business was successful and in 1962 Dea expanded his tiny Drive-Thru, adding a walk-up window and a small inside area. Dea’s became a favorite hang-out for teenagers and families alike.
Times began to change, and in 1970 Powell was widened, which required Dea’s to relocate. A new Restaurant was built on Burnside Rd. It included a Drive-Thru, Dining Room and Game Room complete with a walk-up order window. Not only was this a change in location, but a change in business too. Dea’s offered more menu items and began serving Breakfast. Dea’s was incorporated in 1976 and the Longburger was copyrighted.
Dea’s wife, Laura Sparks (most knew her as “Ev”) could always be found working the deep fryer and walk-up window. She was the heart of the kitchen and the deep fry queen until her retirement in 2009. She ran the kitchen effortlessly and the employees and customers loved her.
A second location was opened on Orient Drive and was operated by Dea’s Mother-In-Law (Leota Newman). The third Dea’s was operated by Dea’s Sister-In-Law (Loreta Sheppard) and was located in Sandy. Sadly, neither of these locations is still in existence.
Dea’s on Burnside expanded in 1986 to create a larger dining area and kitchen. A small bar was added in 1994 and has grown to accommodate lottery machines and a full bar.
Dea and Laura Sparks retired after 57 years. Their sons, Mike and Pat Sparks, ran the business as a team until they retired in 2020.
The restaurant continues to be family owned and operated, with Dea’s grandchildren still involved in the business and continuing to uphold the standards that longtime customers of Dea’s In & Out have relied on since the 1950s.