We Review Dairy Queen

Bandon can be a hotbed of politics with various folks not going to one restaurant or the other because so-and-so looked at me the wrong way, or supported the wrong measure, or purchased ingredients from the wrong supplier… That’s what I love and hate about our community. Bandonites are passionate and petty.

But whichever side of the fast food fence you are on, Dairy Queen is here to stay, as evidenced by its steady business and consistent product. That happens to be fine with the Ducque. I love to eat, drink and be merry; I’m basically cheap, and sometimes you just gotta have ice cream. Most communities have a DQ, so dining there is reminiscent of the comfort of my youth, a return to simpler times.

Despite the usual suspects (the teens and tourists that frequent DQs everywhere) Dairy Queen-By-the-Sea does not wear a mundane, frenetic plastic presentation. On my three recent visits to DQB-T-S I saw mostly adult locals. This was a bit surprising to me since before this review I was basically a drive through customer. I had no idea what I had been missing by eating in my car and not feeding the forever hungry fat cat that hangs around outside. I also believe now that the food tasted better inside. (I’ve had a few unfortunate experiences with dry overdone burgers and soggy buns.)

Dairy Queen

Bandon’s one fast food indulgence is way more sophisticated since its remodel. I asked Bear how he would describe the DQ décor. He told me to write, “It has hues of crimson on the wall, trimmed with gray in a late stage art deco style whose modern overtones offers a subtle complexity.” Huh? That is not the way my boyfriend usually speaks. But he was correct. There are at least four distinct reds ranging from brick to watermelon in the walls and carpet. The tract lining which appears stainless is reminiscent of hub caps on the ceiling and half drums above the booths. Windows and skylights prevent the interior from being too dark. The one windowless wall has marine art of lighthouses and an eastern shore crab buoy mobile. I was impressed with the cleanness. Their friendly staff was swiping down tables as soon as customers left. The bathroom, which had a pinkish bamboo wallpaper and a gilded mirror smelled faintly of Clorox.

As I am now in my mid 50’s I can no longer handle all of the fat and sugar calories a “real meal deal” encompasses so when I frequent such establishments I can only eat one or two items at a time. So I decided to do DQ in shifts. All three trips were pleasant and relaxing.

Part 1: Drinks. We went for the first time at lunchtime on a Sunday in mid July. The line was long, but the wait wasn’t. Chocolate snobs that we are, we decided to order vanilla malts and Moo-lattes. Chocolate would not have been given a fair “shake” by us. Having grown up in a small Oklahoma town I am biased that such treats should be hand scooped and measured ala soda fountain style. My yearly ice cream drink usually comes form Yeung’s in North Bend who know how to do it the old fashioned way, but we had been ordered by Mongo to try a shake or malt and I have an online buddy who is addicted to the M-L’s.

Both of these folks know their stuff. Our creamy beverages were good. The malt had just the right amount of powder; you could definitely taste the malt without being overwhelmed by it. It wasn’t too cold or thick that it couldn’t be drunk. Nor was it thin and watery. The whipped cream on the moo-latte was not hand whipped but it was fresh, heads and shoulders above the usual stuff that comes out of a can. I could taste the espresso and a touch of vanilla. It was a delicious energy boost.

Sentimental fool that I am I wanted a cherry Mr. Misty. My kids used to always get them after beach trips. For reasons the counter girl couldn’t explain Mr. Misty’s are now called “Arctic Freezes.” They are still capable of giving you a margarita headache and full of artificial flavoring and coloring. I couldn’t distinguish anything resembling a fruit flavor through the slush in my straw, but it tasted red, cold and sweet. I didn’t plan on finishing it and it doesn’t compare favorably to my current icy favorite (Taco Bell’s mango frutista) but I had to say it hit the spot on a summer day and had disappeared by the time I got home. (All three beverages cost $8.67.)

Dairy Queen

Part Two: Meals. Although we had been instructed by Mongo “to skip the fries cuz they suck,” Bear and I were a disobedient duo. We both thought the French fries were actually respectable for their genre. The outside was hot and crisp and the inside was soft and mushy. We didn’t have to add salt for taste nor could we feel our blood pressures rise to salute excess sodium. Bear had The Ultimate Meal Deal (deluxe double bacon cheeseburger with fries and a beverage) for $5.99 and I ordered the Grilled Chicken Sandwich for $4.99. Our meats were smoky the way brazier burgers are intended to be. (As we watched the kids operate the grill we understood how the drive throughs could get so toasty. That open flame is high!) Our buns were soft and fresh. The lettuce was dark green and crisp. The tomato was firm. Bear said the pickles were crisp but I can’t confirm because he didn’t share. His cheese was melted onto the beef the way it is supposed to be and he said the 1000 Island was good. His bacon was crisp without being burnt. (We were full for a mere $10.48.)

Part Three: Desserts. Of course the piece de resistance of the Dairy Queen is their soft serve. The rest is superfluous. I like to cram as many ingredients as I can into my dessert order, so I chose my all time favorite: the Pecan Mudslide ($3.99). It is a chewy gooey concoction of ice cream topped with two kinds of syrup and nuts. The toasted pecans were perfect; the fudge was hot and the caramel was sweet. I LOVED IT.

Bear has his own way of viewing the world. Since it’s all about the ice cream he wants fewer flavors to interfere. He had a medium strawberry sundae ($2.79) which he declared “delightful.” Compared with the Pecan Mudslide, the soft serve ice cream covered with strawberries in syrup looked naked to me. But he loved it. As I discussed our adventure with my friend, The Goddess, she revealed to me that her favorite dessert is a plain cone dipped in chocolate.

And therein might be the beauty of the Dairy Queen. There is truly something there for everyone.

You can find them at the corner of Highway 101 and 9th Street. You can call them at 347-3003. Three 1/2 happy Mongothumbs.

3 1/2 Happy MongoThumbs

Reviewed by Ducque July 2008

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