In 1978, Gloria and Art Austin purchased TEXAS DRIVE-IN from George P. George, located on Route 220, north of Altoona in the Bellmeade area. It was in business for 22 years and became well-respected in the business community. The Austin's were able to build upon this respect over the years; additionally, the operation specialized in Texas Style Hot Dogs, Old-Fashioned Frozen Custard and Fresh-Cut Fries. They went on to develop their own hot dog, Austin's Chili Sauce ©, and custard mix recipes that enabled them to set high standards, leading to an extremely loyal customer base. Furthermore, Art and Gloria were very proud of their cleanliness record followed by their employees and within the building itself. The glass building front allowed customers to view their orders being filled and received many favorable comments.
In 1984, the Austin's son Buddy, then a senior at The Penn State University, refined an old family ice cream recipe. With the assistance of the College Agriculture's Ice Cream Specialist, Dr. Keeney, Buddy was able to turn the family recipe into a commercial recipe for Old-Fashioned Frozen Custard. This custard is considered the premium of ice creams and the difference from the commonly sold ice milk is easily noticed and enjoyed. Later in 1984, the name was changed to Austin's and the new the Old-Fashioned Frozen Custard recipe was introduced. French Vanilla and Dutch Chocolate were featured flavors, along with a special daily flavor. Their Fresh-Cut Fries were introduced to customers in 1980. The fry is cut from a #1 Idaho potato into 3/8" slices, leaving the skin on the potato. Once cut, they are fried in cholesterol free oil and served in 12oz. cups along with ketchup or vinegar packets or a side of cheese. A drive-in atmosphere featured with an enlarged parking area and a pleasant landscaped setting, including park benches, beautiful scenery and a mountain stream.
On September 29, 1991, Austin's was forced to close due to the condemnation of the property by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation for the construction of new Route 220 (I-99) and the Pinecroft Interchange. At that time, the Austin Family could not find a suitable site to relocate their business and decided to go out of business. Penn-Dot soon after held an auction and sold the equipment and furnishings from the Bellmeade operation. In February of 1992, Joseph Delgrosso of Delgrosso Foods contacted Buddy Austin in regard to opening a Hot Dog Shop at the newly expanded Bland's Park Complex. They wanted to combine it with the new Championship Golf Course being constructed that spring.
In May of 1992, a new hot dog shop was opened adjacent to the Golf Course at the Bland's Park Complex and is currently operating as Austin's Texas Hot Dogs, Inc. The corporation is owned by Buddy Austin and his sister Jenny. In the summer of 2000, Texas Macaroni was added to the menu. It can be purchased with Hot Dog sauce and/or cheese sauce as a topping. It is served warm in a 12 oz. cup with a vented lid along with a spoon for every last bite. Since that time, the park has changed its name to DelGrosso's Amusement Park and has made many additions and improvements. They continue to make the park a more enjoyable experience for all.
THE AUSTIN'S TEXAS HOT DOGS HISTORY...
Gloria & Art Austin, original owners and proud parents of Buddy and Jenny Austin, hard at work Rollin' Weenies!
The old Austin's location in Pinecroft.