Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen

To survive in the ice cream business for over 70 years with only one flavor is a pretty monumental feat. But from 1940 to the present, Dairy Queen has been milking their vanilla soft-serve delicacy for all its worth, creating a variety of frozen treats sure to soothe on a hot summer day … or any other.

That delectable lone flavor of ice cream, in futuristic soft-serve form, was created back in 1938 by John Freemont “Grandpa” McCullough and his son, Bradley. One of their friends (and biggest fan) was a man named Sheb Noble who owned an ice cream store in Kankakee, Illinois. When he began offering dishes of the soft serve ice cream to his customers (who had never seen such a thing), it was clear he had a hit on his hands, selling 1,600 cups of the stuff within two hours.

The store, called Dairy Queen, didn’t just sell the ice cream by its lonesome. They offered the fully array of sundaes, shakes, banana splits and cones, all of which could be flavored up with a variety of gooey toppings. The trio of entrepreneurs began offering franchises in 1940, both in the United States and around the globe. Today, the number has grown to more than 5,000 locations worldwide.

Alongside their desserts, Dairy Queen offers the standard fast food fare of hot dogs, hamburgers and french fries, but it is the frozen treats that keep people coming back. Besides the typical ice cream parlor offerings, they have introduced a number of unique products over the years, some more successful than others, including the Dilly Bar in 1955, the Mr. Misty slushed ice treats in 1961, and in 1985, their most hallowed concoction to date – the Blizzard.

Using a machine invented by three Iowa brothers, Ronald, Richard and Ralph Medd, ice cream is blended with a variety of dense toppings such as Butterfingers, Oreo Cookies, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and chocolate chip cookie dough, to name but a few. The machine pulverizes the add-ins, creating a dessert much thicker than a shake, so much so that they are served upside down to demonstrate their gravity-defying density.

For the traditionalist who only wants a vanilla cone dipped in a layer of shell-making milk chocolate, to the professional who shoots the works with the Banana Split Blizzard, Dairy Queen has a dessert to fit most any ice cream needs. Sure, it may be only vanilla, but with an endless combinations of flavor enhancements, the legions of fans have yet to complain.

Did you have a Dairy Queen nearby when you were a kid? What was your favorite treat? Share your memories of this longtime provider of frozen delicacies with all of us in our comments section below, as we tip our hats to seven decades of soft-serve ice cream service.

One Response to “Dairy Queen”

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  1. Gina says:

    Unfortuately, we don’t have one near us. We had one at the mall, but it only served the desserts and not the meals, and I really want to try their chicken strips.

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