Dairy Queen

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After 52 years, the cheerful red-and-white Dairy Queen on South Washington Boulevard is going to make way for a new office building. Demolition is a few years away, but owner Linda Pawloski is already facing a blizzard of disappointment.

"After people heard about the sale, they were horrified. We’ll serve a city commissioner or the doctors or lawyers, then a half hour later a whole Little League team. Families bring their children, sheriff’s deputies place an order for 12 or 15 items, and businesses call in orders for 200 or 300 Dilly Bars or Buster Bars. On July 4th after the fireworks we served 495 Blizzards. I can’t count the number of times I’ve served three or four generations of the same family; they’ll say ‘Grandpa brought me here when I was three years old.’

"It’s fun owning a Dairy Queen, but it does not make you wealthy. The benefits are the involvement with children. A couple of months ago a busload of kids from Oak Park School visited and went back into the kitchen and made their own treats.

"To many people, the new ones aren’t real Dairy Queens. It has to have that outdoor counter; there’s something about it that makes them feel comfortable."