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 sooth on a hot summer day. And perhaps their most successful concoction is the Blizzard, a sublime blend of soft-serve and candy/cookie chunks that is sure to satiate any sweet tooth. Let’s take a look back.
Dairy Queen was the brainchild of Illinois residents, John Fremont McCullough and his son Alex, who sold their vanilla soft-serve ice cream in sundaes, shakes, banana splits and cones. By offering franchises, they were able to grow their business around the country and throughout the world. Today, there are well over 5,000 Dairy Queen restaurants in existence.
Alongside their deserts, 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 eventually in 1985, the Blizzard. Using a maching invented by three Iowa brothers, Ronald, Richard and Ralph Medd, ice cream is blended with a variety of toppings such as Butterfingers Oreo Cookies, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and chocolate chip cookie dough, to name a few. The machine pulverizes the add-ins, creating a desert much thicker than a shake, so much so that they are served upside down to demonstrate their gravity-defying density. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Dairy Queen now offers a Blizzard Ice Cream Cake perfect for any summertime gathering.
For the traditionalist who only wants a vanilla cone dipped in a layer of milk chocolate, to the professional who shoots the works with the Banana Split Blizzard, Dairy Queen has a desert to fit most any ice cream lovers desires. And even if vanilla ice cream isn’t your thing, there are an endless variety of ways to disguise that sole flavor into a creative concoction that will melt your heart.
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 treats with all of us in our comments section, as we tip our hats to seven decades of ice cream service.