Ice cream is more than a sweet treat in Jefferson City. It’s serious business.
There’s a wealth of well-known national chains, such as Sonic Drive-In, Freddie’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, Steak ’N Shake and McDonald’s, that dish out popular frozen treats to satisfy everyone’s palate.
Locally owned businesses have created institutions in the industry, making waves by offering some of the first styles of ice cream cones in Mid-Missouri and establishing tourist hotspots in the state capital year-round.
In celebration of National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day in July, HER has highlighted the signature treats served up by eight locally owned ice cream companies or specialty restaurants. Discover more fun facts and offerings, and view more photos to make your mouth water from these sweet tooth havens.
There’s no need to scream for ice cream in the capital city. Go treat yourself.
Daisy Delight customers are still pleasantly surprised at the size of the ice cream cones.
“They can be serious and business like when they come in, but when you hand them that cone a big smile comes across their face,” said Jana Bartel, who has worked at Daisy Delight for 25 years and now co-owns the restaurant with longtime owner and husband, Jerry.
Opening in 1955 as a drive-in, Daisy Delight initially offered treats like vanilla ice cream and orange and grape slush. As new owners carried on its legacy through the years, the restaurant offered the first two-flavor twist ice cream cone in Mid-Missouri, tripled its building size and added a dining room, and expanded its menu to include delicious charbroiled hamburgers that are still a favorite among Daisy Delight guests today.
Hooking customers with homemade soup and chili and the savory flavor of multiple charbroiled sandwiches like the Polish sausage and BBQ pork, Daisy Delight also draws in patrons with its Dole Whip non-dairy soft serve in chocolate, French vanilla or flavor of the week, as well as a wide variety of other ice cream desserts.
Dole Whip is in their most popular treats, which are aptly named Daisy Delights and started with the signature Four-Flavor Banana Split Delight. Daisy Delight owners decided to make their banana splits in a rectangular dish and use four stacks of ice cream, sliced bananas, four tasty toppings and a smothering of whipped cream, nuts and a cherry. Nine more Daisy Delights were added to the menu, with Reese’s, Brownie Turtle and Banana Split Turtle delights all popular among guests, according to the Bartels.
Visitors love having have their ice cream cones dipped to create a hardened, sweet shell in five flavors — chocolate, cherry, blue raspberry, peanut butter and birthday cake.
Whether it is using Daisy Sauce on a charbroiled cheeseburger or watching wide-eyed as employees make a massive Daisy Delight, fond memories are continually made at this Mid-Missouri landmark eatery.
Daisy Delight is located at 2715 East McCarty. For more information, call 573-635-1221 or visit Daisy-Delight.com. Get the full scoop on Daisy Delight here.
During the summer, Zesto Drive-In goes through about 130 gallons of its signature soft serve in roughly three days. That delicious vanilla ice cream made from the business’ namesake soft serve machine, the
Zest-O-Matic, is used in its malts, shakes, old-fashioned ice cream sodas, sundaes, banana splits, avalanches, classic ice cream cones and other dessert specialties.
Whether it was at the original concrete building along Missouri Boulevard or the current restaurant on south Jefferson Street that opened in 1993, the soft serve is one of the biggest reasons why customers have returned to Zesto for nearly 70 years.
“Part of it is the machine and part is the mix we use. We’ve used the same mix since 1948. We bought it from the same company, and we go through a lot of it,” said Chris Wrigley, whose love of Zesto’s ice cream and food encouraged him and his wife, Cindy, to purchase Zesto Drive-In South in 2011.
Wrigley said popular treats include cookie dough, Andes Mint, Oreo or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup avalanches and specialty sundaes like the Brownie Supreme, which is named for a longtime, former Zesto owner, Harold “Brownie” Brown. This succulent sundae includes a Ghirardelli chocolate brownie, Zesto’s signature vanilla soft serve ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, nuts and a cherry.
Zesto’s national award-winning barbecue (like the popular Philly cheese brisket), Polish sausage, specialty hot dogs and cold cut sandwiches are equally as popular as its desserts. No matter if it’s food, ice cream or both, generations of customers have made Zesto a family tradition.
“They loved it as a kid and come back to visit their folks, bringing their kids to eat at Zesto. That is a pretty good compliment,” Wrigley said.
Zesto Drive-In is located at 1730 Jefferson St. For more information, call 573-659-7117 or visit ZestoDriveInSouth.com. Get the full scoop on Zesto here.
One word is synonymous with fresh frozen custard: Culver’s.
The national chain is known for its delicious premium ice cream, which uses the finest dairy from Wisconsin, cold-pressed vanilla and Dutch-blend chocolate, and is made fresh in each Culver’s restaurant throughout the day.
“We run the custard through a machine that whips it, blends it and makes the light, perfected taste that you enjoy every day at Culver’s,” said Allen Walz, who opened a Culver’s franchise with his wife,
Gretchen, in 2009 and recently expanded their family owned and operated business, with daughter, Kendall, running a second Culver’s franchise in O’Fallon, Missouri.
Containing less air, Culver’s frozen custard is creamier and lets the rich flavor last through every bite. Culver’s uses its decadent custard in an array of desserts, including cones, dishes, concrete mixers,
shakes and sundaes. Guests can select from dozens of candy, fruit, nut and other toppings to make a custom sundae or concrete creation, or they can dive into a signature sundae like the Caramel Cashew,
Fudge Pecan or Turtle, with the last being Walz’s favorite.
Culver’s serves up a flavor of the day, such as Bonfire S’mores, Georgia Peach and Salted Double Caramel Pecan, all slated for this month at the Culver’s of Jefferson City.
“We pint up between 15 to 20 of the flavor of the day, every day and put them in our freezer,” Walz said, noting a variety of flavors are available for purchase and upcoming flavors of the day at his store are available online. Every family member can also savor the classic frozen custard with a free pup cup served to pets with any purchase.
In offering equally popular ButterBurgers, sandwiches and savory food items, Culver’s of Jefferson City truly is a customer-oriented, quick service restaurant focused on casual dining that makes each guest feel like part of the Walz and Culver’s families.
Culver’s of Jefferson City is located at 1920 Jefferson St. For more information, call 573-415-1897 or visit Culvers.com/restaurants/jefferson-city. Get the full scoop on Culver’s of Jefferson City here.
Cold Stone Creamery doesn’t just serve ice cream; they make “creations.”
It starts with one of more than 20 flavors of creamy ice cream made fresh daily in one of its
independently owned franchise locations. A selection of toppings is blended in on a frozen granite stone before served in a waffle cone, decorated waffle bowl or classic cup.
The restaurant’s premium ice cream, succulent desserts and energetic atmosphere is what drew Buddy Scott, and his late wife, Jaime, to open a Cold Stone Creamery at the Wildwood Shopping Center in Jefferson City more than 10 years ago.
“We found Cold Stone and loved the charisma of throwing the ice cream, singing customers’ praises and what-not,” he said. “The kids really love to see us throw their ice cream.”
Families also find joyful entertainment in making a personal ice cream creation. However, Scott said some of the most popular are Cold Stone’s signature creations, with Founder’s Favorite, the favorite of Cold Stone founders Donald and Susan Sutherland, being the top-selling treat at his store.
“Birthday Cake Remix and the Peanut Butter Perfection are also very popular,” Scott said, noting new ice cream flavors are introduced quarterly including the recently added sea salt vanilla bean.
Smoothies, waffle cones and decorated bowls, caramel apples and chocolate dipped strawberries are also made fresh at the local Cold Stone, as well as an array of delectable ice cream cakes. Scott said the store also offers Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory chocolates and dog treats to fulfill a customer’s “10-minute vacation” from the outside world when visiting the Jefferson City Cold Stone Creamery.
“People walk in and are like, ‘Wow. Am I in Jeff City?’ We have top-quality products, and they know they will get a superb ice cream here,” he said.
Cold Stone Creamery is located at 610 Wildwood Drive. For more information, call 573-636-2653 or visit ColdStoneCreamery.com. Get the full scoop on Cold Stone Creamery in Jefferson City here.
When wax paper is wrapped around a dessert to catch all the sweet goodness, it’s going to be an extremely special treat. Guests ordering the signature banana split at Central Dairy’s ice cream parlor find that wax paper is a necessary tool in devouring every last bite.
It’s no wonder why the banana split is one of the most notable items on the expansive parlor menu. The local favorite has sliced bananas in a boat and nine scoops of ice cream, three each of traditional chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream or three each of the customer’s three favorite flavors. The mountain of ice cream is smothered with Hershey’s chocolate sauce, marshmallow topping and pecans.
“I have seen people come in and finish it themselves,” said Central Dairy General Manager Chris Hackman, noting one St. Louis-based man would regularly come to town, eat a banana split, and get a small ice cream cone to eat on the way home. “That is a lot of ice cream.”
Central Dairy’s variety of affordable quality ice cream and specialty desserts has made its company and parlor a Jefferson City historic destination and tourist hotspot since 1933. “With our ice cream, we use the same formula, the same freezers and the same process that we’ve always used. And it works,” Hackman said.
Central Dairy offers about 50 ice cream and sherbet flavors, including vanilla, its No. 1 seller, and most popular specialty flavors like Rocky Road, Butter Pecan, Cookie Dough, Moose Tracks and Tiger Tracks. In fact, Central Dairy is excited to start developing a new ice cream flavor this year.
For now, visitors continually pass on family traditions of happily relishing in Central Dairy’s ice cream cones, dishes, malts, shakes and traditional and specialty sundaes at its legendary parlor.
Central Dairy is located at 610 Madison St. For more information, call 573-635-6148 or visit CentralDairy.biz. Get the full scoop on Central Dairy here.
At YoYums Frozen Yogurt & Smoothies, experimentation reaps sweet rewards.
The self-serve restaurant in downtown Jefferson City invites customers to select from more than a handful of different rotating flavors, choose from more than 50 toppings, and relish in a personalized taste explosion with each bite.
For Kevin Kemna, watching his customers’ faces is his favorite part of the job.
“When (the kids) come through the door, they are so excited. … They make a mess and put the weirdest things together, but they love it. … The adults are the same way. That is the fun part,” said Kemna, who opened up YoYums with his wife, Lisa, on July 2, 2010.
Utilizing Dannon Yo-Cream products, the Kemnas regularly rotate Yo-Yums’ frozen yogurt selection from a catalogue of more than 50 flavors every few weeks. They keep a non-dairy sorbet and no-sugar added flavor on tap, as well as classic chocolate and vanilla.
“Cake batter is our best-selling flavor … other popular flavors are red velvet cake, toasted marshmallow and New York cheesecake,” Kemna said, sharing fresh strawberries, cookie dough and brownies made fresh in-house, and hand-sliced Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are highly popular toppings. “Every single flavor seems to be different — the way it looks, feels and tastes. Some other places like this use a vanilla base and mix in flavor syrup, so you can taste the vanilla in every one. … Here, each one is different, and they are regularly creating new flavors.”
Introduced a few years ago, the creamy, custard-like gelato has scored rave reviews among YoYums patrons. Even though Kemna’s favorite is chocolate, six different gelato flavors are available, including banana flambé, hazelnut, limoncello, pistachio and the new vanilla bean that YoYums plans to offer soon.
Just like the selection of smoothies, milkshakes, malts, floats and Lisa’s custom-made tie-dye items, ample variety satisfies every taste at YoYums.
YoYums is located at 122 E. High St. For more information, call 573-644-7581 or visit YoYums.com. Get the full scoop on YoYums here.
Fresh chips and salsa, delicious Pollo Bandido, sizzling fajitas or succulent quesadillas are popular reasons why residents frequent El Jimador Mexican Restaurant & Cantina’s two Jefferson City locations. However, one homemade dessert has also become a big draw for those celebrating a special occasion or simply hungry for a delectable treat.
El Jimador’s fried ice cream has been served since the first El Jimador on Missouri Boulevard opened at the turn of the 21st Century and when the Edgewood Drive location opened six years ago. Yet, it wasn’t initially on the menu.
According to Tony Vareas, assistant manager at the Edgewood El Jimador restaurant, fried ice cream was first utilized as a sweet surprise to customers celebrating birthdays. Its rich, superb flavor became so popular, El Jimador owners decided to include it on its dessert menu.
“We make 30 to 40 of them and often by the end of the day, we run low or run out. So, we make more to keep up with the demand,” Vareas said.
The fried ice cream is made by taking big frozen scoops of ice cream, covering them with corn flakes and frying them briefly when ordered. The fried ice cream is then placed in a taco salad shell/bowl, with cinnamon, honey, whipped cream, chocolate syrup and sprinkles making this one delicious treat. Sometimes they add strawberry syrup, similar to an ice cream sundae.
With other desserts also made in-house like the sopapilla that is served with ice cream, El Jimador can feed the need for excellent Mexican cuisine and a sweet tooth year-round.
El Jimador has two Jefferson City locations: 1410 Missouri Blvd. and 2930 W. Edgewood Drive. For more information, call the 573-761-1616 (Missouri Blvd.) or 573-638-0232 (Edgewood), or visit ElJimadorMexRestaurant.com. Get the full scoop on El Jimador here.
You know ice cream is incredibly cold when it’s turned upside down and stays put in its container.
The refreshing, chilly temperature of Dairy Queen’s blizzard is just one reason why it is the company’s premier dessert. The multitude of infused flavors mixed with the national company’s signature soft serve is another big reason, according to Tracy Bauman, who has independently owned and operated the Dairy Queen franchise in Jefferson City for 25 years.
In fact, that popularity warrants a new Blizzard of the Month, frequently rolling out new flavor combinations that become instant favorites among DQ fans. Bauman believes the two July Blizzard of the Month creations will also secure fanbases: the Salted Caramel Blondie and Frosted Fudge Brownie. Bauman also said some flavor combinations continue to maintain popularity for local blizzard lovers.
“Oreo Cookie, Cookie Dough and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup are consistent top flavors for our customers, including Chocolate Extreme,” he said.
Other desserts added during the more than 70 years of the national Dairy Queen’s existence are still big hits locally, including shakes, malts, ice cream cakes, traditional banana split, peanut buster parfait and a line-up of hot desserts called DQ bakes. Bauman said food is an equal draw, and the popularity of its burgers, sandwiches and baskets, including the $5 buck lunch that includes a dessert, makes it “a food destination with a great sweet treat to enjoy afterwards.”
Dairy Queen is located at 2114 Missouri Blvd. and make sure stop by for DQ’s Miracle Treat Day on July 27 in support of Children’s Miracle Network, with $2 from each blizzard benefitting University of Missouri Children’s Hospital in Columbia. For more information, call 573-634-2240 or visit DairyQueen.com. Get the full scoop on Dairy Queen here.