Dairy Queen – Portage
When I was growing up in Super Small Town, Illinois (not the village’s real name, but an accurate description), the only food options we really had were either the bar/restaurant on Main Street and the Dairy Queen on the edge of town near the Interstate. I know this is hard for most people to comprehend, but even the closest McDonalds was still over 20 miles away. The Dairy Queen was all we had and it was not uncommon to eat there several times per week.
Eventually, the building that housed the DQ started showing it’s age and the owner’s received an exciting offer to relocate to the next town north in a brand new building and shared space with the gas station. They took the opportunity and abandoned the location that I grew up with and spent many, many hours at during my childhood.
Dairy Queen has always held a special place in my life. The relationship formed out of convenience. Some of my favorite memories are my grandma taking my brother and I out for lunch, riding our bikes out with friends for ice cream….and even my 6th grade teacher taking me for a Blizzard after I won a bet she had never lost in 20 years of teaching social studies (in case you’re wondering, I was the first 6th grader in 20 years to know A.D. stood for “Anno Domini” and not “After Death”).
Obviously today, we have many more options for ice cream and pretty much all of those places have copied the Blizzard that DQ made famous, but I still relish the opportunity to take L for ice cream at a place that meant so much to my childhood now and then.
Last Friday, J had to run an errand and L and I tagged along. The two of us weren’t needed for what J had to do, so I decided to take L out for some ice cream while we were waiting for J. The closest ice cream place to where we were was the Dairy Queen on Centre Avenue in Portage.
The small, walk-up DQ on the corner of Centre Avenue and Currier Drive in Portage is a little more than just an ice cream shop. They still do at least a partial food in addition to all the sweet, ice cream treats.
The building is kind of a throwback. I’d actually be really interested in the history of this location. It’s a large concrete building with neon signs on the façade. There’s a large parking lot surrounding the building and this is the only location in the Kalamazoo area that has a drive-thru. There is a lack of seating which is a little odd, but I guess they do more drive up business as this location than walk-to or bike-to. The only tables are quite a ways from the building on the edge of the parking lot near the corner of Centre and Currier.
L just wanted a cone, so I got her a small vanilla. I wanted a Blizzard so I ordered a medium Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup….my all time favorite just beating out Oreo.
The cost for the two “Cool Treats” was just a little over six bucks which I paid for with cash. We were the only people at the DQ at this time, so as soon as I paid, I looked down to the pick-up window and there was already a guy standing there waiting with L’s cone. I grabbed it from him and licked it down a little bit, so L wouldn’t make too much of a mess….although that was a fruitless pre-emptive strike. She still made a pretty good mess, but she loved every minute of it.
Almost as soon as I handed L her cone, I turned back around and my Blizzard was ready. These folks were seriously quick. L and I still had some time to kill, so we walked over to one of the picnic tables to finish our treats before heading back to pick J up.
Dairy Queen is Dairy Queen. It will always be special to me just because of the connection to my childhood and it’s something I will always enjoy. I love taking L out for treats like this and once her baby brother joins us in a few months, I’m sure we’ll make many, many more trips to DQ in the years to come.