Dairy King - Yesterday and Today

How Dairy King Was Started

Dairy King HistoryDairy King started in the back room behind Kozy Korner in 1951. Frieda and Orville Von Alst decided Breese needed a place to serve ice cream which has always been a tradition. There was an old soda factory building owned by Charlie Dorries at the corner of Old Route 50 (4th Street) and Walnut, they started to build the original building in 1954, which opened in April 15, 1955.

There was another Dairy King located in Carlyle where Carlyle Meat Market is now located. The Carlyle store was open until 1980.
The Von Alsts allowed Ed & Rose Ribbing to run Friday night fish fries located in the back of the building. They served fish, fries and slaw. That continued a few years as the next owner took over.

Don and Betty Grawe and Jerry & Mary Grawe purchased the business from the Von Alst’s in 1967. Betty and Mary ran the business while their husbands worked full time jobs. Betty had her daughters, Vicki Foster and Donna Waller working with them to run the business. In 1969, the Grawe’s bought the land from the Von Alsts who had been leasing it to them. The building had white
siding and the windows went down to the floor. The Grawes also started the broasted chicken which steamed and fried the chicken at the same time.

20 Years With The Schlueters

Dairy King HistoryJim & Julie Schlueter bought the business from the Grawes in March 1976. The Schlueters remodeled the Dairy King shortly after buying, they bricked the exterior and shortened the windows to half their size. The Schlueter kids, Jackie Sprehe, Jill Dorries and John were also involved with the business. They created some of the items that are still on the menu, such as cheese fries and cheese pretzels. The corndog and gyro were introduced. Jim Schlueter requested an easy to remember number and received 526-4321. The Schlueters brought in fountain Ski and they also wanted a soda that tasted good to the very last drop and they introduced the crushed ice in the styrofoam cups for the sodas. If you ask “Where’s the best place to get a Ski?” they will direct you to Dairy King.

As a result, Dairy King sells the largest volume of fountain Ski. Dairy King was the originator of the “Cherry Ski”. Double Cola Bottling that distributes Ski found out the success Dairy King has with the Cherry Ski and started to market it. Dairy King has an expanded variety of flavors to include blueberry, vanilla, strawberry, grape, watermelon, bahama mama, orange, pina colada, lime and even chocolate or any combination.

Julie wanted to continue the fresh ground beef for the burgers and a tasty grilled chicken fillet and breaded fillet, which are still being used. Some of the items that were discontinued were broasted chicken due to the safety issues. Jim Schlueter also introduced the penguin trash cans that are an icon of Route 50 travels.

Maue Transformations Started

The penguin was used in the new logo when Brad and Michele Maue purchased the business from the Schlueter’s on July 1, 1995. In the past, the business was a seasonal business usually opening in the Spring and closing in the Winter. The business closed for a little over a month after Christmas of 1995 and reopened February 2, 1996. During the shut-down a drive-thru was added, a slight remodel and the menu was revamped. New items added during the shutdown were grilled chicken pita, a new fish sandwich, cod chunks, tacos, salads, and taco salads. At the same time, a daily soda special was introduced. Sodas are discounted from 2-4 pm.

Then It Grew

The building continued to change. As the business increased, a storage room and walk-in cooler and freezer were added to the back of the building in 1998. There were two walk-up windows in the front of the building. In 1999, a patio was added and new walk-up windows were installed on the east side of the building. Also in 1999, the house west of the property was purchased with intent of parking lot. Due to the Rt. 50 and Walnut stoplights that were installed in 2001, the dine-in plans were changed from the south side of the building to the west end of the building. Demolition of the house was May 2002. The major transition of the building was started June 2002 and completed November 6, 2002 without shutting down the daily business. The existing building was built overtop the original building and rafters were added to form a gabled roof. The penguin theme was replicated and the grill hood was made into a penguin.
The addition included a dining room and the drive-thru was extended to the west. A daily lunch special was started. In April 2004, the final construction job was a new walk-up area and an additional second drive-thru alleviated the traffic problems that were a result of the drive-thru getting backed up.
Dairy King has been a tradition for getting quality food with great service at reasonable prices. Dairy King also sells coolies, t-shirts,
sweatshirts and hoodies with their original colorful logo and now a few others to choose from.