Dairy Queen is returning to the Oklahoma City metro after a decadelong absence, with the first store set to open in Moore by mid-2014.
The operator, David Jones, already owns Schlotzky's restaurants in Midwest City and Moore, and is in negotiations with Fritts Family Farms to build his first Dairy Queen at SW 19 and Telephone Road.
Jones said the $1.9 million restaurant will be a modern “Grill and Chill,” which features a full menu offering of burgers, chicken strips, salads and hot dogs, with Dairy Queen frozen desserts, and an Orange Julius.
“I grew up with Dairy Queen and Orange Julius,” Jones said. “I worked in an Orange Julius at Sooner Fashion Mall as a kid. We all went to the Dairy Queen in Moore. It was part of the fabric of our little society. When you said Dairy Queen, it was synonymous with apple pie, baseball and Americana.”
Central Oklahoma was once a bastion for the ice cream shops, with Dunn's Dairy Queen having started up the 17th franchise in the country in 1947 and growing the operation to 31 stores in the region.
The operation was considered one the chain's most successful franchises in the country when the central Oklahoma stores were sold to Houston investors in 1988.
That deal quickly soured over licensing fees and buyout conditions, and the operation went into bankruptcy.
The stores vanished from the Oklahoma City area by the mid-1990s, though the old buildings can still be spotted along May Avenue across from State Fair Park and along Lincoln Boulevard just north of the state Capitol.
A Texas couple attempted to revive the brand with stores in 1999, but they also disappeared within a couple years.
Jones' family lives in Moore and is involved with their current restaurants on a daily basis. They took shelter when tornadoes battered Moore in May, and see the opening of a Dairy Queen as a way to give the community a boost.