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Down low on the DQ

Bonnie Bryan, Biatavia Flowers and Bonnie Bryan are on the crew serving at the Andalusia Dairy Queen.

Bonnie Bryan, Biatavia Flowers and Bonnie Bryan are on the crew serving at the Andalusia Dairy Queen.

Andalusians have 1,400-cone per week habit

No matter the weather outside, it’s always one of the coolest places in town – both in terms of the treats served and the air conditioning inside the dining room.

At the Andalusia Dairy Queen, summer is non-stop busy from March to the end of September, said owner Jimmy Faulkner. And if anyone should know, it would be him. This is his 42nd summer at the restaurant built by his parents.

It takes 17 employees – 11 per day on two shifts – to serve hot lunches and dinners and cool treats at the DQ, he said.

“Lunch is anywhere from 11 until 2,” Faulkner said. “Then, comes the ice cream eaters; then around 4, it’s time for dinner, and after that, the ice cream eaters come back.”

It’s like that from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Employees get a late Sunday start, with windows opening at 11 a.m.

During all that time, it’s nothing for staff to go through gobs – literally – of soft serve ice cream.

“We go through two mixes per week, which is mixed inside our serving machines,” Faulkner said. “That ice cream isn’t sitting in a freezer somewhere. It’s made right here.”

To put that amount into context, Faulkner said the eatery uses an estimated 1,400 ice cream cones per week. The biggest food seller is chicken strips, and people are flocking in to try the store’s new premium fruit smoothies, he said.

Faulkner said 80 percent of his customer base is from local residents. He credits the remaining 20 percent to GPS units.

“Tourists, when they want ice cream, they type in ‘Dairy Queen,’ and it brings them right here,” he said. “On the way back from the beach, what is better than a nice ice cream?”

And one doesn’t have sit outside when enjoying a cool treat because of the air-conditioned dining room, which seats 45 people.

“When we say cool treats, we mean it here at the Dairy Queen,” Faulkner said.