Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Delighting in ice cream shops, yes, even in winter January 21, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Dairy Delite in Lakeville, photographed on a frigid Saturday afternoon.

Dairy Delite in Lakeville, photographed on a frigid Saturday afternoon in January.

IF I WAS TO CONDUCT a survey on Minnesotans’ consumption of ice cream, I expect the numbers would plummet in months like January and soar during the hot days of July. Makes sense considering the temperature.

My desire for ice cream drops considerably in winter. I’m cold enough without feeding more cold into my body. But not always.

Just the other night I craved not ice cream, but fro yo. I remember when my eldest daughter first mentioned fro yo probably five-plus years ago. The frozen treat was just trending in southern Minnesota. I had no idea what she was talking about. Eventually fro yo reached Faribault with the opening of Berry Blast in 2013. The business recently closed. I never got there.

In Faribault, Dairy Queen reigns with two shops within a short distance of one another. I like Dairy Queen. But if I get a treat there once a year, that’s about it. And then it’s only if I have a coupon to discount the high prices.

I’ve never been a chain restaurant fan. I much prefer locally-grown businesses with character, uniqueness and charm. Like the Dairy Delite, recently photographed in Lakeville. It’s closed for the season, has been since October, and will reopen in April.

I wish we had a quaint stand-alone nostalgic ice cream place like Dairy Delite in Faribault. Visitors look for such signature sites to purchase treats in the heat of a humid summer day. Locals appreciate these mom-and-pop ice cream shops, too. Here’s a thought—combine an ice cream place with promotion of the Tilt-A-Whirl, an Americana amusement ride which originated in Faribault. Just dreamin’ here in the midst of winter…

Tell me about your favorite original ice cream shop.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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34 Responses to “Delighting in ice cream shops, yes, even in winter”

  1. Such a lovely old American tradition – these little ice cream shops.

  2. Dan Traun Says:

    I am a huge fan of the local unique shops as well. My favorite is whatever establishment I am closest to when the urge arises. I do favor DQ’s Crunch Cone. If recent years this delightful treat has become more sparse for whatever reason; not ever store offers it. It usually isn’t on the menu and you have to ask for it specifically. I think last year was met with a 50% success rate over all the visits to DQ’s on my travels.

  3. I’m a huge fan of the Dairy Queen’s caramel Moo-Latte

  4. Growing up in my hometown in Iowa we loved to go to Danes Dairy. A small red store (shack really) with wonderful soft serve ice cream flavors made from local dairy. The shop is still open (seasonally of course) and I love to bring my children there when we return for visits in the summer. Now they feature fro yo and and yummy candy mix-in creations, but I still love a simple ice cream cone.

  5. Don Says:

    Surprisingly Alaska has the highest consumption of ice cream. Year round hot or cold people eat it. Perhaps it has something to do with more indoor time spent in front of a heat source! One of my families favorite ice cream shop is called Hot Licks and they sell a staggering amount of home made ice cream.

  6. Littlesundog Says:

    I dislike milk – but I LOVE ice cream!! Growing up, we had a Dairy Queen in our little town of Utica, NE, 600 population. It was way on the other side of the tracks near the highway and every chance we kids got to peddle our bicycles across town, we hit the Dairy Queen for a 25 cent cone. That was the BIG cone. The little cones were 10 cents back then!

  7. Jackie Says:

    My first job (besides BB sitting) was at a good ole’ fashion drive inn. Five miles south of Rochester in the country where I grew up. It’s name was … “the rootbeer stand”, It is where I had my first taste of soft serve ice cream.

  8. Can’t wait for SPING, Sun, Flowers, & Ice Cream!!! xxx

  9. 30fordmodela Says:

    Dairyland in Fergus Falls remains our favorite, even though we live in San Jose now and can only visit every couple of years. Although closed in the winter months, the drive-in served both as a social gathering in High School days (it has been open for 60 years!) and a destination for meals while working nights in early days of college.

  10. hotlyspiced Says:

    I’m not a chain restaurant fan either; like you, I much prefer supporting unique and local businesses. The shop you’ve photographed has a lot of charm. I don’t like to eat ice cream too much in the cold but at the moment it’s as hot as Hades and I’m finding ice cream so refreshing. I’ve heard your part of the world has become really cold and a lot of snow is falling; good luck! xx

  11. Amy G Says:

    I keep a list on my Facebook page of ice cream shops in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Currently 85 different places that I’ve visited, with 140+ on my to-do list.

    • Oh, wow, you go love home-grown ice cream shops. This could be a book. Are you a photographer or writer?

      • Amy G Says:

        My friends say that I should start an ice cream blog, but I don’t think I have the writing or photography skills to make it worthwhile. So it’s just my big list with an occasional photo posted on Facebook. And I’m delighted to offer suggestions to friends planning road trips — my book club’s future outing to the Laura Ingalls Wilder birthplace in Pepin, WI, will likely include a stop at Flat Pennies in Bay City or Nelson Creamery in Nelson.

      • Your friends are right. If you don’t have writing and photography skills, starting a blog about your ice cream adventures would not be a good idea.

        I’ve been to the Nelson Creamery. If you love BBQ, dine at J & J BBQ in Nelson. The food is outstanding and in a fun atmosphere. Here’s a blog post I wrote about this BBQ place: https://mnprairieroots.com/2014/09/02/bbq-at-its-best-in-nelson-wisconsin/

  12. Lou Rolf Says:

    The Creamory, Nelson Wi. Lou


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