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 friend, 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 a lot more than 1,600 servings of the new dessert within two 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 hours 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 in operation since the 1950s, the building still stands as a designated landmark, hearkening back to simpler times for Boomers who pass by.
For decades, Dairy Queens were and they are a fixture of self confidence in small towns from the Midwest and South and through the 70s, checking up on the times (and the competition), most DQs added fast food, including sausages, hamburgers and fries, referring to their newest menu items as “Brazier.” Although several shops are only open during the summer time, most stay open year-round. After all, why consume frozen treats just seasonally unless you reside in North Dakota? The greatest store is situated in Bloomington, IL, home of the state university, Busiest honors go to Prince Edward Island, Canada (go figure). In 2014, Dairy Queen listed over 6,400 stores in more than 25 countries (75% which are in the U.S.). For many years, the existing adage boasted every Texas town experienced a DQ. While will no longer literally true as small-town America dwindles, the biggest concentration continues to be within the Lone Star State.
All DQs now provide you with the Orange Julius drink, a brandname which they acquired in 1987, and lots of shops are available 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 many different ingredients and mix-ins available. DQ also provides specialty soft ice cream cakes, together with their traditional selection of soft-serve treats, cone dippings and toppings.
Across the country, many single-unit mom and pop stands took notice and opened on Memorial Day catering to the local children, with walk-up stands, often calling themselves “frozen custard.” Nobody cared what the name was, Dairy Queen prices meant vanilla and chocolate creamy cones and cups, maybe a few picnic tables to linger at, plus an after-dinner treat within walking distance of home. Local kids looked toward their short but sweet hours, which sadly closed after Labor Day. Simple names like Al’s, Bert’s or Tastee Treat started yfewqe show up on busy corners and kids rode their bikes eagerly anticipating what awaited them, having a dime or a quarter stashed in their pocket. Rarely did these stands offer greater than the two basic flavors, but when one was lucky, there can be a strawberry flavor also (oh, boy). (Author’s note: her local soft-serve stand featured green mint, which had been on the top, particularly with hot fudge.)
Minor competitors like Tastee-Freez and Fosters Freeze both began in California inside the 1950s and have under 50 locations each but still thrive having a cadre of loyal customers.
So that is up for a few soft-serve? Any season it hits the spot. In the event you don’t have shops near you, perhaps a frozen yogurt, nevertheless 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.