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'It's Always Ice Cream Weather:' Downtown Dairy Queen Opens for Season

Regular customers say it's a sure sign of warm days ahead when the downtown mainstay opens for business.

Get your blizzard on, Rochester.

In what is perhaps the surest sign of the spring days to come, the downtown opened for its 46th season Thursday.

"It's always ice cream weather," said John Lambert, whom employees greeted by name as he walked into the Rochester mainstay Thursday afternoon. He ordered his favorite: an Oreo Blizzard. Then he took a minute to catch up with the people who run his favorite ice cream shop.

"I've been looking forward to this," said Lambert, who works at the nearby . "It's a long winter without it."

It was a conversation repeated throughout the day at the Main Street shop. When DQ opened at 11 a.m., there were about 25 people waiting in line. One car had been there since 8:30 a.m., employee Heidi Snell-Whitney said.

"It's the place to be," Snell-Whitney said. "We start to recognize customers and develop relationship with them. That's how we've become Rochester's favorite dessert destination."

Owner Tom Keller agreed. His family built the Dairy Queen in 1964. The shop, which is a short walk from the and , closes each winter. During spring and summer days, its parking lot is a frenzy of activity.

Keller said the shop's most-ordered treats are the Cookie Dough Blizzard and the Oreo Blizzard. His personal favorite? A simple vanilla cone with nuts.

Dairy Queen is open 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. In the summer, it is open from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily.

Gary Wade March 04, 2011 at 04:09 AM
I was one of the 25 in line when Tom opened the door to the cheers of the crowd. It's always fun to be there for the opening to try and be the one to get your signed dollar bill added to the wall as the first customer of the year. It's great to talk to Tom and his team and get caught up on what everyone has been up to over the winter break. And oh yeah, the ice cream was great too.
Kristin Bull (Editor) March 04, 2011 at 04:13 AM
Thanks for sharing your experience with this Rochester tradition, Gary!
Rent ice Cream Trucks March 04, 2011 at 02:04 PM
Great story... I love it when the ice cream business grows. Go Dairy Queen... make those kids smile - Thanks Ted - http://MeanGreenIceCreamMachine.com
Mary Howarth March 04, 2011 at 08:29 PM
The DQ is part of what makes Rochester Rochester. Some traditions make us who we are! This is one of them. Ask any person on a diet - one of the things they miss most is visiting the Rochester DQ!
Debbie Larsen March 04, 2011 at 09:44 PM
Here are my fond memories of opening day at the Rochester Dairy Queen: http://rochesteravonhistory.blogspot.com/2009/02/thou-harbinger-of-spring-o-dairy-queen.html

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