Dick Kohler, who owned the Dalton Dari-ette is shown here with his daughter, Susan (Kohler Hines), at the grill when she was about 21 years old.
Kian Fitzwater, 2, who lives in Oregon and has local relatives, enjoys his first ice cream cone in 2022. Kian is the son of Dusty Fitzwater and Alieh Zamany.
Ava and Kenna Doty enjoying ice cream in Kidron in 2015.
The Golden Bear in Apple Creek is open for the season. Matt Smith, and his wife, Nikki, own The Golden Bear, 546 W Main St., Apple Creek. The couple purchased the eatery in 2020.
DALTON A question around here about as common as asking “When is the last day of school” or “What day of the week does Christmas fall on” is: “When does the Dari-ette open for the season?”
At U.S. 30 and state Route 94, the Dalton Dari-ette Drive In, a mainstay, a landmark, a beloved tradition for more than 65 years, opens for the season March 21. The Dari-ette in Dalton joins other favorite seasonal ice cream stands opening as winter turns to spring. The Golden Bear in Apple Creek opens March 23. Both of these drive-in spots with tables for outside eating not only offer cold treats but they have an impressive variety of hot foods as well.
“I knew I had married the right man when we both realized we had the same favorite Dari-ette treat as kids: chocolate malt,” Sarah Nussbaum shared in response to a callout on The Dalton Gazette & Kidron News Facebook page.
“My grandmother, who is now 93, worked at the Dari-ette soon after it opened, my aunt worked there for decades and my sister in high school.
“She’d come home smelling like French fries but we didn’t mind because they were DARI-ETTE fries!! Long live the Dalton Dari-ette!”
Shelby Prater shared on the Gazette’s Facebook page: “Early memory from when I was in high school at Dalton: our softball team had a deal with our coach (Jessica Miller Matz) that every double play we turned, she owes us Dari-ette. It was always a fun time going together after a practice and getting ice cream on her.”
To that, Matz responded to Prater on Facebook: “It was a joy to spoil you all and celebrate those moments! I still do this with my daughter’s team at our nearby Merry Dari in Loudonville and love to treat my kids with the amazing Dalton Dari-ette whenever they are with me.”
At a program in 2018 at the Dalton Community Historical Society, Donna Dale Davis, who owned the Dari-ette in 1989, and many others who worked and had ties to the popular ice cream stand shared memories and showed photos and memorabilia. Arlene Brubaker, Dot Matz and Linda Kirk had all shared stories at the 2018 event along with sisters Lori Davis, Susan Kohler Hines and Beth Gerber. The sisters grew up in the ice cream parlor and worked for their dad, Dick Kohler, who bought the Dari-ette in 1960. Their brother Dave purchased the Dari-ette 20 years later.
“My whole life has been Dari-ette,” Davis said at the 2018 program. She and her husband, Dan, have owned the Dari-ette since 2000.
In the March 21, 2018 edition of The DGKN, Ken Zuercher, son of the original owner who was inspired to build the Dari-ette after his brother had a successful ice cream stand in Ashland, the Dairy Dolly, remembered how his father had sketched designs for the Dari-ette.
“It looked like how it looks today,” he recalled.
The Dari-ette has been posting information on its Facebook page leading up to the season opening. Weekly lunch specials are served 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Through March 24, the weekly lunch special is ham and cheese; March 27-31 the weekly lunch special is 6-inch coney dog. Lunch specials are $7 and come with a side of onion rings and a small drink. The third soft serve flavor this week is raspberry, and next week mint is the third soft serve flavor. Visit the Dari-ette’s Facebook page for the complete schedule of third soft serve flavors as well as weekly lunch specials and the menu.
Matt Smith, and his wife, Nikki, own The Golden Bear, 546 W Main St., Apple Creek. The couple purchased the eatery in 2020. They said they are trying to document all the previous owners of the ice cream stand, which opened originally in the late 1960s. The Golden Bear opens for the season March 23. The first two weeks will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After that, the Golden Bear will be open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, Smith provided in an email.
Skimming through The Golden Bear’s Facebook page it looks like it’s worth visiting time and time again and keep an eye out for special offerings such as ice cream pies, different flavors of soft serve and hand-dipped ice cream and even yummy looking soups, mac ‘n’ cheese, wraps, and much more.