Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The Dari (not dairy) King (not queen) August 29, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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GROWING UP IN A POOR farm family with five siblings, it wasn’t all that often we got ice cream treats in town. Maybe Schwans ice cream in a dish or cone from the basement/porch freezer. But not soft-serve at a walk-up/drive-up.

Dari King in Redwood Falls

Occasionally, though, Dad would treat us to a cone at the Dari King in Redwood Falls. This was back in the day when a small cone cost a dime. But even then a dime was a dime was a dime.

Forty years after I left the farm, the independent (non-chain) Dari King still stands, serving ice cream and more to the next generations. How sweet is that?

Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling




33 Responses to “The Dari (not dairy) King (not queen)”

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    What great memories. Do they have crunch cones? That crunch coat topping has been a favorite of mine since I can remember. The availability of the crunch cone has been hit and miss this year – some stores do not carry it. Sad times for soft-serve.

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    It is so comforting to know that there are those ‘out there’ who value such!!!!!

  3. Ted Aaberg Says:

    Enjoyed the story of Dari King! Every time I needed to go to the doctor for a shot, mom would say we will go out for an ice cream cone at the diner right afterwards. It sure got my mind off the shot, and on the cold treat. BTW, I too grew up in a poor family in Scarville, Iowa, just minutes from Minnesota border. I’d like to stipulate though I in no way grew up culturally poor. Folks and community made sure of that. I was rich in education, literature, current events, love, and never went hungry. I strongly suspect Audrey your experience was similar.

    I doubly enjoy your post now. I am home bound for a while now with pneumonia. I am getting better. My thoughts and prayers are with your mother as she recovers from her fall.

  4. Haynes LeRoy Says:

    Did you go to school in Redwood Falls?

  5. Perfect! My favorite name for a soft ice cream place was in White Pigeon, Michigan. They used to have a place called Pigeon Freeze. That always gave me a chuckle when I passed through town.

  6. Nostalgic places like are nice to visit from time to time. My wife and I recently visited the A&W Root Beer stand that she used to enjoy while attending Belleville High School in Belleville, Michigan. More than 45 years later, the stand and root beer floats were just like she remembered from years ago.

  7. My nephews thought it was so cool that my one apartment was within steps of the Dairy Queen when they were little tykes šŸ™‚ I have fond memories of gatherings with family and friends at the local ice cream place – sit outside and have a cone or sundae. My grandma loved the A&W and a great root beer float – I miss having a float, chicken tenders and fries with her while she watched her afternoon soaps on the boob tube. Good Time – Happy Weekend – Enjoy!

  8. Thread crazy Says:

    We used to have a DQ in town but was taken down to make way for an expanded interstate. So miss our soft-serve. While we didn’t have the best of things growing up, Mom & Dad would try to take us every couple of weeks during summertime to DQ for either a Chocolate dip cone or hot fudge sundae. Yummy…either of those would be tasty right about now!

  9. hotlyspiced Says:

    My parents didn’t have much money either but my father worked for an ice cream company so he was able to receive ice cream as part of his salary package. We always had a freezer full of ice creams. I love how this business is still around – so many businesses haven’t been as fortunate xx

  10. dalmatianangel Says:

    When my family moved to Redwood Falls we lived just across the alley and two houses West from the Dari King. We spent much if our allowances and any hard earned money to get that ice cream cone for a dime or the tall fountain Coke that was only a quarter back then. They actually invented a Blizzard type treat before the Dairy Queen. We could ask for an “upside down banana split in a cup”. They were the best!
    I don’t get back there very often, but when I do, a stop at Dari King is in order if it is during the summer season.
    It is a big deal to many of us who lived there during our adolescent and teen years. And our family was fortunate to have them in our “back yard”.

  11. Jackie Says:

    “How sweet is that”…..did you intend for that to be a pun in your last sentence of the post? Well it IS pretty sweet that this stand alone chain is still up and running. I love that it’s called Dari King, that’s enough right there to make me want to go there. šŸ™‚

  12. CA Powers Says:

    Thank you for the photo and post. Some of my fondest hot summer evening memories are heading to either Baskin-Robbin’s 31 Flavors or Dairy Queen. As a kid we would walk six blocks or so to DQ but when my grandmother, Emma, visited she would drive us in her Buick. Emma always ordered a chocolate soda, which I thought was rather elegant, until I tasted it. Didn’t much care for the soda and chocolate syrup. I preferred a small chocolate dip cone (back then they allowed a dip/crunch cone) or at 31 Flavors, I always ordered a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

    In high school I worked at a frozen custard shop. It was the first of its kind in our northeastern Wisconsin community and those of us, the first crew hired, were known as Custard Angels. We thought we were pretty cool and really enjoyed those first paychecks!

  13. ryanware Says:

    I think we stopped there a couple of times too. We’d go fishing in North Redwood on the Minnesota River. I’ve always liked Redwood Falls. I went to the orthodontist there of all places. I had TMJ before it was widely known about. Dr. Inglis was one of the few in Southwestern MN that worked with some doctors at the U to get patients treated and ultimately ready for surgery to fix the issue.

    • He was my dentist, too. Up the long flight of stairs and plaster of paris animals awarded after each visit. I always wonder, though, why he never recommended braces for me. Perhaps he did, but the folks did not have money. That would be my guess.

      Redwood Falls is rather like an oasis on the prairie, an unexpected surprise of woods and hills and water.

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