Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Dairy Queen remodel nearing completion


Lois E. Johnson

Moose Lake Dairy Queen is undergoing major renovations, inside and outside, with a December 23 opening planned of the completed, remodeled restaurant.

Construction crews are busily changing the interior of the Moose Lake Dairy Queen restaurant, now that the exterior has been completed.

"The work is being done by Cousins Construction," said owner Dan Dougherty in a recent interview. "They are a local, awesome company."

The Dairy Queen has remained open on a limited basis throughout the three-month remodeling process.

"They started working on the changes on September 21," said Dougherty. "We will be opening the new remodeled restaurant on Wednesday, December 23."

It's been a long process since Dougherty started tearing the roof detail off of the building back in September.

"I hooked on to it with a chain and yanked it off with my pickup," he said. "It was pretty funny. I laughed a lot."

Dougherty said he recycled all of the exterior materials rather than pay to have them disposed of in a demolition landfill. The old appliances were also recycled.

"We had four large truck loads and four trailers full," he said. "We hauled it to Superior ourselves."

A durable stucco exterior has replaced the previous siding and roof feature, and tile is featured in the newly remodeled interior. The design of the building meets the new Grill and Chill concept, he added.

"I laid the tile on the floor and grouted it," said Dougherty. "There is a new counter, and colonnades divide the seating area from the serving area. The area for beverages will be new, and we'll have a new freezer for ice cream cakes and treats that will be set into a new enclosed area. Some of the equipment, like the ice cream machines, is also new."

Dougherty said high top tables and stools will be available for seating, along with all new booths, with hard bottoms and fabric backs. Condiments will be available on the tables instead of in a separate location. Walls next to the booths are paneled in a tough vinyl-coated material called Marmoleum.

"It looks like tile and wears like tile," said Dougherty.

The Dairy Queen has a long history in Moose Lake.

"Art and Carmen Palazzari built this facility in 1985 or 1986," said Dougherty. "It was changed from a walk-up window to a place where one can come inside to order and dine."

Dougherty said he and his wife, Becky, have owned the restaurant since 1995 - 20 years.

"I grew up in Hibbing but we stopped to get a Dairy Queen every time we came through Moose Lake," he said. "Later, we were able to buy it. Here we are, 20 years later, ready for a new role in the community."

As a local resident, Dougherty is involved in the community.

"I've worked with the hockey program for 10 years and I am still announcing for the girls' games," he said. "I also belong to the golf club and play on the men's league."

Dougherty appreciates the people in the area who support the business.

"The community has been really good," he said. "I can't say enough about how well they support us with all of the influx of new business."

Until McDonald's opened a year ago, the Moose Lake Dairy Queen was the only restaurant with a drive-up window. An added feature was a service door.

"That worked out well for us and for the customers," said Dougherty. "Our staff members can run out with orders for the customers and get them on their way. We will be keeping that."

That service door and other features of the Dairy Queen has paid off in a high volume of traffic. "The corporate people are astonished at how well we do in this restaurant," said Dougherty.

Dougherty likes the location of the Dairy Queen.

"Some people asked me why I didn't build a new restaurant out by the others," he said. "I told them I like it here. I like the trees, and I like being here, where people come to buy groceries or go to the bank."

Additional staff members will be hired. "We have three experienced managers," said Dougherty. "One has been here for 11 years, another has worked for Dairy Queen for nine years and the other one has six years of experience."

The Moose Lake Dairy Queen will have the honor of being the second test area for a new Dairy Queen app on cell phones.

"They had a test area in Denver and that went so well that they decided to have another test area in Moose Lake," said Dougherty. "People can come in, sign up for the app and then they will get special coupons. With each purchase, they will get a spoon on their app and, after they get enough spoons, they will earn rewards."

A grand re-opening is being planned for sometime in January, said Dougherty.

He invites everyone to come and see the new Dairy Queen when it is fully open.

"The community will love it," he said. "So do I, and so does the crew. We are really excited. This will basically be a brand new store. We are really happy."

The Dairy Queen in Moose Lake is located on Arrowhead Lane next to the Moose Lake Motel.


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