Dairy Queen Through the Years

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StoreLiker2006
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Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by StoreLiker2006 » 30 Mar 2011 16:28

Hi,

Has anyone here ever discussed all about, at length, the various Dairy Queen (DQ) restaurants through the years? You know, their Chicago beginnings with their first location in Joliet, IL (opened 6/22/40) and then their famous "lips" (which I also think looks like a football) logo that they used since 1959.

There were some "special" locations that served only the "cool treats" and not the "hot eats."

When they did switch to the lips logo in '59, I believe it was also that year when they used the "barn" building for the first time.

~Ben

umtrr-author
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Re: Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by umtrr-author » 06 Apr 2011 11:26

A few random thoughts...

Dairy Queens here in the Northeast seem to be in a slow decline. There hasn't been one within 50 miles of Rochester NY (where I live) in a number of years. I have to go to Buffalo to get a fix! The number in New Jersey also seems to be dropping gradually.

On the plus side, at least one new outlet has opened here in Western New York (outside of Buffalo). One DQis "under renovation" in East Stroudsburg, PA-- actually a complete rebuild that according to a piece in the Pocono Record, should be done by Spring.

There are several DQs I've been to in the past year that are mostly or completely just "cold treats," mostly in New Jersey. Sayreville, Rahway, and Union come to mind immediately. The Rahway outlet is a "barn." There's another in East Hartford, CT which is a "barn". DQs are also in shopping malls, sometimes paired with Orange Julius.

At least two DQs I've been to, including the one at the Minneapolis-St Paul airport and the new one outside Buffalo, have framed photos of earlier DQ outlets. The photos appear to be the same at both of these stores.

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Re: Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by wnetmacman » 06 Apr 2011 19:49

Dairy Queen has had many concepts over the years....

The Drive Up/Walk Up, which came in both flat roof and Barn versions. I know of a barn still operating in Opelousas, LA that is strictly Cool Treats, and very limited Hot Eats. They don't do this much any more, if at all.

The park under with seating. These were especially popular in the south. There are many of these left.

The fast food restaurant standard. This is the current, using the Hot Eats, Cool Treats concept.

Then, there's Texas.....
Texas Dairy Queen is essentially a subsidiary of the main corporation, and is operated separately. They have the standard Cool Treats menu, but the burgers and baskets are totally different. And better. In Texas, they have the Beltbuster, Hungerbuster and such. The baskets are called Country Basket, and can be had in steak fingers, chicken strips and fish. They also serve some pretty good tacos in Texas. I grew up three miles from a DQ, and we had our rotary phone on speed dial for them. I got to eat Texas DQ last August, and almost cried the whole time.
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Re: Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by krogerclerk » 06 Apr 2011 23:40

Mall food courts have had Dairy Queen/KarmelKorn/Orange Julius combos for years, and the DQ emphasis seems to be Cool Treats and hot dogs as the main Hot Eats offerings. A nearby Dairy Queen in a Wilco Travel Center is mainly Cool Treats with limited Hot Eats as Wendy's is the main fast food offering in that location.

The main emphasis of late has been on the Grill and Chill format, with early prototypes being more upscale than the typical DQ, and using fresh baked buns and never frozen meat. Most of the conversions to Grill and Chill from a standard Brazier format appear to be cosmetic with little change in menu offerings.

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Brian Lutz
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Re: Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by Brian Lutz » 08 Apr 2011 19:06

Generally if an existing DQ is being converted to Grill and Chill it seems to be just branded as "DQ Restaurant," albeit using signs similar to the DQ Grill and Chill ones. There's one in Redmond that was remodeled extensively (formerly a "barn" DQ, but that form is no longer recognizable,) and the decor of the dining room includes a bunch of framed photos of classic Dairy Queen locations from the 40s and 50s. I'm not sure how widespread this is, but it's a nice touch from a historic perspective. There's another late Sixties Barn DQ in Bellevue that's hardly been remodeled at all.
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tesg
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Re: Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by tesg » 08 Apr 2011 22:54

The historic photos are going in everywhere that I've been. We have a new ground-up Grill & Chill in town with them.

My favorite DQ anywhere (Story City, Iowa) has redone the dining room and added the images, while maintaining the classic DQ exterior with the red roof and UNPAINTED BRICK!

(Painting brick is a huge pet peeve of mine.)

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Re: Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by umtrr-author » 11 Apr 2011 17:18

My first taste of DQ would have been coming back from Palisades Amusement Park which straddled the border of Fort Lee and Cliffside Park, New Jersey.

I was very young when this occurred so I doubt that I will be exact on the location, but I think it was on Palisade Avenue in either the very upper reaches of Jersey City or in one of the small municipalities north of there. It was a flat roof walk-up only DQ. A quick check of the DQ website tells me that it's probably no longer in existence.

I don't mean the Brazier on Kennedy Blvd in Jersey City, which I also remember.

The new DQ outside Buffalo is a "Grill and Chill". It will be interesting to see what is constructed in East Stroudsburg.

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47of74
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Re: Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by 47of74 » 31 Jul 2013 03:09

In Dubuque there's an old walk up Dairy Queen that is only open during the warmer months and closes every winter. Maybe one of these days I'll get a picture of it. I don't think off hand it was the barn style.

We also had a Dairy Queen that closed last winter for several months so they could do an extensive remodel of the store, it's much nicer on the inside.

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Re: Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by umtrr-author » 18 Aug 2013 15:49

Boy, it's been a while since I posted on this topic.

In August 2012, the Rochester NY area welcomed back DQ after a ten-year or so absence when the last one (a DQ/Orange Julius combo in the ill-fated Irondequoit Mall) closed down.

The new location is a Grill and Chill on Jefferson Road in Henrietta, NY in a Tops Supermarkets plaza (soon to be ex-Tops as they are moving up the street). It's a very well traveled area right off Interstate 390.

The first day was a record breaker with lines of over an hour to get served. The first anniversary just passed and they gave out coupons for free small sundaes which could be redeemed as early as the next day.

I've heard but not confirmed that this DQ is among the busiest in the country. While the super long waits of the first day are gone it's still been pretty active on nearly every visit I've made. Business is so good that a second DQ in the area will open in September 2013 in Greece, NY. In addition, the DQ locator map shows a third location coming to Webster, NY so DQ will have covered the west, east and south of the city proper. (North of the city is Lake Ontario.)

I am assuming by now that the East Stroudsburg PA location opened as well, but I've since come across an easier to get to DQ Grill and Chill on Route 611 in Tannersville, not far off Route 80. That's become my stop on the road to NJ.

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Re: Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by jamcool » 19 Aug 2013 15:30

An oddity...International DQ (the master franchisor) is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, who also has major investments in Coca Cola...yet many DQ franchises serve Pepsi.

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Re: Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by TenPoundHammer » 04 Oct 2013 22:35

Here's a breakdown of some of the ones near me:

Oscoda: Walkup stand that I believe opened in 1953. It closes in the winter.

East Tawas: Former barn DQ that expanded to have indoor seating. It serves food and used to have the "Brazier" signs until recently. Despite its serving food, it closes in the winter. Also, the walkup windows were bricked over in the past couple years.

Alpena: Two locations, both walkup only. One is a very old location north of town; the other is a very odd dome-shaped one south of town.

Rose City: The nearest one that's open year-round. It's also a former barn that was expanded to have seating and a drive-thru. I think it still has the "Brazier" signage.

West Branch: Walkup stand with a drive-thru window. Looks much newer than most stands I've seen.

Hillman: Unusual building with an odd logo that I haven't seen anywhere else.

Gaylord: Located inside Glen's Supermarket.

Grayling: Storefront in the middle of a strip mall. The storefront has the "trapezoid" thingy, so this has probably been here a while. Apparently a brazier, but I don't know if it's open year-round or not.

Prudenville/Houghton Lake: Very old stand. There appears to be a long-abandoned former barn on M-55 near US-127, but I haven't verified it.

Rogers City: Fast-food "Brazier" location with seating and drive-thru. Closed in the mid-90s or so and sat empty for a long time. It was later a pizza place and is now a video store which has been remodeled beyond recognition.

Roscommon: A very old walkup stand, way out of town, actually in the resort community of Higgins Lake. Has a very crude drive-thru tacked on the side. There used to be a second more conventional DQ in Roscommon proper, which is now a local ice cream shop.

Indian River: Converted Tastee-Freez, oddly enough.

Mackinaw City: Brazier with seating added on. For a very short time, there was also a pizza place crammed in there. I think this closes in the winter, as does a storefront KFC a few doors down.

====

For some reason, DQ has been largely avoiding the Tri-Cities. Bay City/Essexville never had one that I know of. Midland had a DQ/Orange Julius in Midland Mall until a few years ago. Saginaw had two 70s-era fast-food Brazier locations. One was torn down in the mid 80s, and the other closed in the early 90s. That one sat vacant for over a decade, became a short-lived local restaurant in 2007. It then became a Baskin-Robbins (!) that didn't last much longer.

The only one left in or near the Tri-Cities is in Birch Run at the entry to the outlet mall. It was a former Spad's Pizza that closed in the mid-90s and sat vacant for almost a decade before DQ moved in about 10 years ago.

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Re: Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by Buckethead » 07 Apr 2018 05:49

The DQ in Turlock closed a couple years ago. Its now a small Mexican restaurant that gets little business.

The quality had nosedived over the years. Once a Sonic moved next to it, I knew it would never survive that.

DQ in the 90s was great. In Missouri if you ordered a large shake, they gave you a 32 oz shake. I still cant believe they did that. My favorite DQ was the one in Anderson, MO. Great chili dogs and corn dogs.

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Re: Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by Ampersand » 23 Sep 2018 13:23

Buckethead wrote:
07 Apr 2018 05:49
The DQ in Turlock closed a couple years ago. Its now a small Mexican restaurant that gets little business.

The quality had nosedived over the years. Once a Sonic moved next to it, I knew it would never survive that.

DQ in the 90s was great. In Missouri if you ordered a large shake, they gave you a 32 oz shake. I still cant believe they did that. My favorite DQ was the one in Anderson, MO. Great chili dogs and corn dogs.
I need to hit up Dairy Queen again some time ago just about all of them closed, now one just opened up in Colonie.. I went there once.

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Re: Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by BillyGr » 23 Sep 2018 15:29

Ampersand wrote:
23 Sep 2018 13:23
I need to hit up Dairy Queen again some time ago just about all of them closed, now one just opened up in Colonie.. I went there once.
About the only one around (aside from the small spot that was in Crossgates for a time - not sure if that is still there at all, or just Orange Julius) for many years has been down in Ghent (Columbia County, not too far from the County Fairgrounds).
That one likely survived just being the only thing of that type in that particular area (a smaller town, so no McDonalds, BK etc.).

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Re: Dairy Queen Through the Years

Post by Balalaika762 » 24 Sep 2018 12:06

I googled Dairy Queen Texas when I learnt that it was a semi-autonomous brand, and look at what the search engine dug up! https://tranio.com/commercial/usa/adt/1547144/
A genuine 1970 vintage Texas DQ restaurant for sale! Maybe I'll sound stupid, but I didn't know you could buy them like that... By the way, how do their menu compare to other competitors? I went on a trip to the States a couple years ago but didn't get to try that brand, I ate at pretty much everything I couldn't find in Europe (Wendy's, Burger King which wasn't that big back then, Taco Bell and Arby's) but I missed Dairy Queen... I mean, I could have searched for one, but for obvious reasons, I wasn't keen on eating fast food every single day!

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