When the sun is shining on a hot summer day, few things can hit the spot like ice cream. While Lebanon is fortunate to have a number of options, you might be surprised to learn that the oldest operating ice cream stand in our city is the same Dairy Queen that’s still located at 2005 N Lebanon Street today. Of course, when it opened its doors, or more accurately, its windows, back in 1956, it was way out on the edge of town and Lebanon has grown up around it.
Jeff Whitaker and his wife Carol purchased Lebanon’s Dairy Queen in 2005 and are proud of the history it shares with our community. At first it only had a couple of walk-up windows and was open primarily in the summer months, as were many Dairy Queens of the day. Over the years, it has been renovated and a dining room was added, but it didn’t actually have heat up until last year. This is part of the reason it has continues to close during the coldest winter months. Even with the new furnace, the Whitakers aren’t certain that they will stay open all year long. Ice cream creations, even iconic DQ Treats, are not in high demand when it’s freezing outside.
As a long-time fixture in the Lebanon community, Dairy Queen is proud to provide jobs to local residents, some of whom have been employed there longer than the Whitakers have owned the business. It also has a loyal following of regulars. When long-time employees see some of these people getting out of their cars, they know what to start preparing before the order is placed. New employees are taught who the regulars are just as they learn to make a Blizzard that can be flipped over without sliding out of the cup.
When it’s time for a cool treat this summer, take a moment to enjoy a slice of Lebanon’s history. Relax outside at a picnic table or in the climate-controlled dining room. While the walk up windows are now tucked inside, the drive-thru is quick and convenient for those who prefer to take their favorite DQ Treat home with them. And yes, the menu features pretty good food too, but sometimes it’s okay to eat dessert first!