In a word: We'd probably rather meet Alice in Dairyland.
The specs: #00838
3030 Fish Hatchery Rd., 53713
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JM ate the fish sandwich dinner with a fountain drink.
Nichole ate the cheeseburger and a salad with a dipped cone.
The bill was $15ish, or $7ish/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave DQ a B- (see our grading rubric).
It's pretty easy to see the model that works here. DQ is *the* soft serve place everybody knows. They can get all the best candy licenses for Blizzards (still a treat that nearly anyone would partake of) and they can do a brisk ice cream cake trade regardless of the market. In Madison, Culver's (and, to a lesser extent, Michael's) vie for the same custom, but DQ will survive though we'd guess that the sandwich and side menu gets less play here.
Their food is standard if a little boring. The fish sandwich was hardly even variation on the theme and seemed like a poor reason to bring in a whole tub of tartar. The burger was greasy, and the buns were a little too not enough. The salad's heart was in the right place.
Of course, the iconic dipped cone and the Blizzard are the main reasons to come to DQ. It reminded JM of a story told him by a former DQer.
It seems it is customary to rotate a Blizzard 180 degrees (upside down) to demonstrate its thickness. Certain Blizzards were too thick for just one Blizzard paper cup. In these cases, the standard was to use two paper cups to reinforce the bottom of the thickest shakes. Sadly, when this was done, absentminded staff would sometimes still rotate the Blizzard, to disastrous results.
This story captures everything we love about DQ: namely, Blizzards, high school kids behind the counter earning their paychecks and real world experience, and the ability to laugh at yourself just a little bit.