By Alexa Graff
Special to NFP
De Dee's Dairy customers think the hardest part is deciding between Superhero, Peanut Butter Cup, Chocolate Chip and 47 other flavors. Usually, the hardest part is choosing what size.
De Dee's Dairy, an ice cream parlor in Niagara Falls, has been renovated into a local hot spot. The restaurant only serves ice cream, but, starting this summer, there will be food served, as well.
De Dee's is a seasonal business and it's only open from end of March to late October, depending on the weather.
Cassidy Payne has been working at De Dee's Dairy for five consecutive summers.
"This year we are planning to do food," she says. "I think it's going to be 10 times busier. Usually at 6:30 p.m. during the summer the line is already out the door. That stays constantly until we close. "
De Dee's Dairy is expecting to have all kinds of foods that will be available between noon and 6 p.m. It'll stay open right until its late summer night ice cream rush.
"We will be serving foods like hot dogs, grilled cheese, chicken fingers, hamburgers, pizza logs, onion rings, fries and finger foods," Payne says.
Customers will only be allowed to order ice cream from inside the building. A walk-up window is being built in on the side of the building so food orders can be placed there. This was done so that ice cream and food be kept separate, and also so it will be easier for the employees to focus on one part of the business - instead of always going back and forth between serving food and ice cream. The owners also think it will be more efficient if there are two lines instead of one long line.
The female work attire consists of a T-shirt, white bottoms and a classic Perry's Ice Cream visor. The male employees who work at De Dee's are responsible for filling the ice cream and utensils that the girls frequently use, such as spoons, cups, cones, napkins, etc. Keeping the girls on the order line is the main priority during the evenings, so the guys come in for their shifts at night and fill any 3-gallon ice cream tub the girls finish scooping from.
There were rumors last year that De Dee's Dairy would be serving food. However, with the purchase of David's Subs around the corner from De Dee's, and the relocation of the famous Mom's Restaurant, the renovations at De Dee's were postponed.
"People come in all the time to see if we have food. Someone came in before and asked for cheesy fries," employee Caroline Gismondi, says. "I think we will do great business with the food if we get the word out."
The fryers and grills have already been installed in the back of the ice cream parlor by the freezers.
"They just need to get the tops for the fryers and grills so they can put everything together," Debbie Wilcox says.
De Dee's Dairy has every kind of topping a customer could ask for to put on ice cream. It has candy pieces such as cookie dough, brownie bits, M&M's, peanut butter cups and Heath. Customers can make any ice cream into a medium or large milkshake, or a sundae if they want. Sundae's can be covered in hot fudge, peanut butter sauce, marshmallows, cherry sauce, strawberry sauce, blueberry sauce or caramel.
De Dee's Dairy doesn't just have cake cones, but it has sugar and waffle cones, too. If a customer isn't confident with their ice cream on a cone, they can always enjoy the sweet treat in a bowl to guarantee less mess.
Not only do customers love De Dee's outrageous sizes, but the prices are cheap, too. A baby, which is about a softball scoop, only cost $2.95; a small is $3.75; a medium is $4.25; and a large is $5.25. A large is four scoops.
The most expensive product at De Dee's Dairy is the large banana split, which looks like an extra-large banana split. It costs $7.75 and consists of six scoops of ice cream, three types of toppings, a banana, whipped cream and nuts.
Customers don't just go to De Dee's Dairy for their portion sizes, but for their nice employees, too. The co-owners consistently receive compliments on how enjoyable the service is when they receive their ice cream with a genuine smile.
The community stands loyal to De Dee's Dairy as the co-owners expand on their products and locations.