BULLHEAD CITY — People began showing up Sunday night to be one of the first in line to eat at Culver’s, a new fast-food restaurant that opened Monday in the Mohave Crossroads shopping center.

An air bed and a couple of fold-up chairs were set up near the entrance to the restaurant as the grand opening hoopla commenced Monday morning. The line to order food snaked around the building — the first 50 customers in line received a free burger each week for a year and that motivated some who showed up early. 

Those on hand who have eaten at other Culver’s locations said Bullhead City having its own is good news.

One of the overnight campers was Gabriella Laurenza, 18, of Bullhead City. She has eaten at the restaurant’s locations in Lake Havasu City and Phoenix. The chain is known for its ButterBurgers, fried cheese curds and frozen custards.

“I love it,” Laurenza said. “The bacon cheeseburgers. And frozen custard.”  

She also received a tiny, blue Culver’s logo football. Other giveaway items included nerd glasses, Curdis the Curd Nerd dolls, logo T-shirts and blow-up soccer balls.

Co-owner Ken Deschene said people who posted on social media about the grand opening received tokens for free frozen custard. He held a clear container with hundreds of tiny blue tokens, which will be a continuing promotional item used in a variety of ways.

Ellann Olsen, of Bullhead City, the customer who held place number 50, didn’t have to camp out like Laurenza and her friends. Olsen arrived at around 7:15 a.m.

“I didn’t think I would get in,” she said.

Olsen said she most enjoys the fried cheese curds and frozen custard.

“It’ll be nice to have something different,” Olsen said.

The menu also includes sandwiches, soups, salads and dinners. 

Co-owner Lori Deschene talked about how they reached this point. Dianne Mayer, co-owner of the Bullhead City location, also co-owns the Lake Havasu City restaurant and other locations with her husband, John. 

Lori worked for years as a bookkeeper and accountant for Culver’s, headquartered in Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin. She said Dianne persuaded them to go into business as a franchisee and move their family here from Wisconsin. 

Scoopie, who is referred to as the restaurant’s “frozen mascot,” helped people waiting in line pass the time while local dignitaries were inside looking around and enjoying coffee, sweet rolls and frozen custard samples. The dignitaries spoke and there were two ribbon cuttings to mark the grand opening of Culver’s before the doors opened to the public at 10 a.m. 

There also was VIP food service at the restaurant on Saturday.   

At the end of the waiting line Monday was Paula Collins of Mohave Valley. The Michigan native hadn’t heard of Culver’s until she ate at the Lake Havasu restaurant. 

”These are the best burgers I’ve ever had,” she said while smiling at Scoopie, who was captivating a toddler. “We’re glad they came here.”

Collins, much to her dismay, had to leave right before the doors opened to the general public because she had an errand to run. 

”I’ll definitely be back,” she said.

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