Ice cream has been around and enjoyed for hundreds of years, but the soft-serve concept wasn’t developed until 1938 by Iowa-born John Fremont McCullough and his son Alex. Together they convinced a buddy, Sherb Noble, to offer the innovative product in his frozen treats store in Kankakee, Illinois, a small town south of Chicago. On the first day of sales, to everyone’s surprise, Noble dished out more than 1,600 servings of the new dessert within 2 hours. (Looks like it was popular.) Knowing they were onto something big, Noble and also the McCulloughs went on to open the first Dairy Queen menu prices a couple of years later in Joliet, Illinois, placing Mr. Noble at the helm (who better) which opened for business on June 22, perfect timing for the long, hot summer. Although this original site has not been operational since the 1950s, the building still stands as a designated landmark, hearkening back to simpler times for Boomers who go by.
For years, Dairy Queens were and are a fixture of social interaction in small towns from the Midwest and South and also by the 70s, checking up on the days (and the competition), most DQs added fast food, including hot dogs, hamburgers and fries, discussing their newest menu items as “Brazier.” Although a few shops are only open in the summer, most stay open year-round. After all, why consume frozen treats just seasonally except if you reside in North Dakota? The greatest store is found in Bloomington, IL, home of a state university, Busiest honors visit Prince Edward Island, Canada (go figure). In 2014, Dairy Queen listed over 6,400 stores in than 25 countries (75% which will be in the U.S.). For years, the existing adage boasted every Texas town experienced a DQ. While no longer literally true as small-town America dwindles, the biggest concentration continues to be within the Lone Star State.
All DQs now offer the Orange Julius drink, a brand that they acquired in 1987, and several shops may be found in food courts and shopping malls nationwide. DQ actually has two official fan clubs: Blizzard and Orange Julius. Blizzard fans, over 4 million strong, take their choices seriously, with a number of ingredients and mix-ins available. DQ also provides specialty frozen treats cakes, with their traditional choice of soft-serve treats, cone dippings and toppings.
Across the nation, many single-unit mom and pop stands took notice and opened on Memorial Day serving the local children, with walk-up stands, often calling themselves “frozen custard.” No one cared exactly what the name was, dq menu meant vanilla and chocolate creamy cones and cups, perhaps a few picnic tables to linger at, and an after-dinner treat within walking distance of home. Local kids looked forward to their short but sweet hours, which sadly closed after Labor Day. Simple names like Al’s, Bert’s or Tastee Treat started yfewqe pop up on busy corners and youngsters rode their bikes eagerly anticipating what awaited them, having a dime or even a quarter stashed in their pocket. Rarely did these stands offer greater than both basic flavors, however, if one was lucky, there can be a strawberry flavor as well (oh, boy). (Author’s note: her local soft-serve stand featured green mint, that was on the top, particularly with hot fudge.)
Minor competitors like Tastee-Freez and Fosters Freeze both started in California within the 1950s and possess less than 50 locations each but continue to thrive having a cadre of loyal customers.
So that is up for a few soft-serve? Any time of the year it hits the spot. If you don’t have shops in your area, maybe a frozen yogurt, however it won’t be the same. Look at your local shopping mall and you simply might luck out. And don’t worry: mom was wrong, it won’t spoil your dinner.