I'm a 30-Year-Old Texan, and Last Night I Went to Dairy Queen for the First Time

Categories: Eat This

dq_nickrallo1.jpg
Nick Rallo
Steak Finger basket was the recommend entree. Also this freaking Jalitos Hungr Bustr Burgr. Errr. Brgrr.
I was born a not-Texan, but I moved here from Virginia when I was 4. On one of my first trips to Dallas in the late 1980s, I napped under my dad's chair while he and my mom voraciously ate Tex-Mex at El Fenix. I was a Texan. And yet, I confess:

My name is Nick Rallo, I was raised in Texas, and I'd never been to a Dairy Queen until last night.

I went to the one in Oak Cliff. Walking in and smelling all that fried, I had no sense of when I was. Time is a flat circle at Dairy Queen. It was a fried wonderland of new food experiences, and I was both a kid and a thinking adult. What in the hell is a Dilly Bar? There's a sandwich succinctly named "Dude"! Why did something called "Jalitos" appear on my burger and why the hell are they so delicious? There was a timeline bolted to the wall of how Dairy Queen introduced us to a new world, like Vespucci if Vespucci served Blizzards. Luckily, some friends helped me figure out how to be a better Southerner.

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It's safe to say I had absolutely no idea what was going on at the register. New words like Hungr, Bustr, Jalitos, Dippy Cone, Dilly and Orange Julius were bullet-training through my head. I shouted some scared words at the nice lady behind the register. I ordered the steak finger basket and a Jalitos Hungr Bustr with fries to start. The Lady Friend advised waiting patiently, like an adult, to order the ice cream.

Here's what I learned from my first steak finger basket and Jalitos Hungr Bustr burger experience.

- You need two gravys, almost immediately
- Steak fingers are as crunchy as a pumice, fried to the perfect shape of a wry smile, and are extraordinary when dipped into gravy
- You always, always dip the fries in the gravy
- I said, "Why toast?" -- until I realized you dip it in the gravy.
- I need gravy with everything now. Haircuts, conference calls, swimming.
- The Hungr Bustr, with jalitos, had a spicy, acid edge that made for better fast food eating than most fast foods. Also, let's drop the vowels off on other things to the make the delicious. For example: Stek. Buttr. Bacn. Macarni 'n Ches. Cut to the chase, you know?
- Why even ketchup? Gravy.
- The burgr ws relly gd.
- The steak fingers smelled and tasted so perfectly and crunchily of the best cafeteria food you had when you were a kid. I was a kid. I'm still a kid as I write this, eating the steak fingers in time.

Then, as advised, I got the classic desserts: the dipped cone and the Oreo Blizzard. At this point, few people were left in the restaurant, and I was starting to feel like I had gone through a portal. A kid next to us was playing with a Transformer. When the Blizzard arrived, the happy woman turned it upside down to show that physics was even out of whack. I was in space.

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Nick Rallo
Oreo Blizzard was also highly recommended.
What I learned:

- The dipped cone is a work of art. It's hard on the outside, soft on the inside, like Michelangelo's statue of David.
- Dairy Queen has its own branded and registered long ice cream spoons. It also has its own branded clock. And art.
- A strong desire to dip your hand, other things in that chocolate casing stirs up in you.
- There's nothing wrong with an Oreo Blizzard. It is a perfect food.
- I missed the steak fingers a little. Also, the gravy.
- You should be silent when eating Blizzards. There's no use in talking politics, or anything related to politics or life. There is only Blizzard and Oreo.

After polishing off the two ice cream things, we stopped to look at the timeline on the wall. Dairy Queen debuted in the Middle East in 1979, apparently. The DQ was completely empty at this point, like I'd been there for decades or had died. What time was it? Was it time? It really didn't matter. The sun was setting and I was a happy kid.

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Nick Rallo
Tell us more, Dairy Queen timeline.


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52 comments
kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

I really was expecting the Plano and Park Cities, bored, self entitled, Foodbitch like, proto-yuppie mom types to start with the "that place is icky" bullsh+t........very surprised!



DisplacedTexan
DisplacedTexan

Where does the Little League team go after a game?  DQ.  Where do you meet after Sunday evening church?  DQ.  After the Friday night main street drag, what's your final stop before home?  DQ  Where does the doctor and banker run into the farmer and plumber?  DQ  Where's a good place for a date.  Well...where everyone comes and it turns into a group date.  DQ Where do you grab a great burger to eat while driving your tractor?  DQ“An authentic Texas DQ is doggedly rural; there are tractors in the parking lot and overalled farmers in the booths.”From Texas Monthly2002 http://www.texasmonthly.com/content/cold-comfort

cresler
cresler

There aren't too many Dairy Queen's left in Texas. There are none where I live. But Texans managed many businesses that offer good products.  http://ow.ly/yKREk

txdq
txdq

Nick, Welcome to Texas DQ! Better late than never. We hope to see the happy kid in you again soon. #texasstopsign

bearcamp
bearcamp

The summer after 7th grade in 1963, I got fired from my first job, washing dishes and clearing tables at the Dairy Queen that was on Hemphill St. at Magnolia in Ft. Worth. I was caught scarfing down handfuls of chocolate wafer cookies used for ice cream sandwiches. They were stored in a 30 gal plastic bag. Too much of a temptation.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Always knew DQ as the place with chocolate covered frozen bananas. Gave up on DQ when I moved to Dallas and tried the DQ on Hillcrest.

dvdstwrt
dvdstwrt

The food is very good and yes the steak finger basket is terrific as reported. I have to say though that I find the soft serve ice cream to be horrible. To me it is bland, oddly synthetic tasting and greasy tasting, almost like frozen shortening. I used to love the dipped cones as a kid but I have lost all appreciation for "the stuff' or they have altered the recipe in some way. My apologies Blizzard lovers.

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

Back in the early 90s I used to travel to small towns west of Fort Worth on business .  The most amazing thing was that if a town had a population of more than about 2,000, they had TWO Dairy Queens. 

Mervis
Mervis

The "new" Euless Dairy Queen on FM 157 is a year old now. Had my share of Peanut Buster Parfaits.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

Boy, nothing wrong with a Beltbuster, HUNGR Buster or ANY Blizzard.  Nothing like hitting the road, and after a couple of hours, stopping at any West Texas DQ!

I'd always get a Triple Beltbuster and onion rings(2100 calories), and I'd be so full I couldn't think straight. 

Thank God for Allsup's terlits, although I've never seen a clean one. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

The last few DQ's I stopped at didnt have chocolate ice cream.  I used to love my Nestle Crunch blizzard with chocolate ice cream

DQFFL
DQFFL

You can only get Steak Finger Basket in Texas. I talked with a lady who worked at the DQ off of I-30 and Broadway years back. At that time, she had just come from a "convention" where they were going over all the new stuff, and they would say things like, "ok this is important pay close attention except for Texas." Apparently, our DQ's are run entirely different from others including the SFB!

txchick71
txchick71

You couldn't be more on point about the Steak Fingers and gravy. Also love the Dude though I try really hard to never get it, I usually fail

.

robyn.b311
robyn.b311

Next time try the tacos and the Buster Bar!

Does anyone remember the saloon-style DQ on Abilene's south side?

They had a circus trolley and saddles for seats at the kids' tables.

I went back a few years ago, they remodeled :(

J_A_
J_A_

Steak fingers remind me of school lunches. Dipped in mashed potatoes made from potato flakes!

Can you review Popeyes next?

brian.martin
brian.martin

Lots of Dairy Queens when i was a kid in the 70's had Butterscotch Dip Cones....Damn, those were good. Dairy Queen Tacos back then were the shit too! Came 3 to an order..

STEAK FINGER BASKET IS NIRVANA, and 2 lbs gained!

audrajennings
audrajennings

I *think* you can only get steak fingers in Texas. My dad has tried to order them in other states on vacation and they just look at him funny and say, "we don't have those."


But, I got a quesadilla basket in Kansas once. You can't get those in Texas.

lmeli1
lmeli1

Steak finger basket FOR SURE!!

ChrisYu
ChrisYu

anybody remember Funfighter McDoom?(your too young, Nick)

Joshstruckoutagain
Joshstruckoutagain

Me and Pecan Lodge told you to get a Dude, dude...report back once you've done so.

Greg820
Greg820

Congrats Nick, you are now a TEXAN!  With Gravy!

Junebug
Junebug

The oreo blizzard is good but add cherries to it to take it to a whole new level of heaven.

becoolerifyoudid
becoolerifyoudid

You never stopped at a DQ before, it's the stop sign of Texas.  Mighty brave of you to admit and overcome your deficiency. 

Nictacular
Nictacular

Out where I grew up, in the West Texas Wastelands, your town wasn't a town if it didn't have a Post Office and a Dairy Queen.

Trent, TX? Post Office...but no Dairy Queen. Had to drive to Sweetwater...or Merkel.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

What a sheltered and deprived life you have lived.   Road trips thru small town  Texas still require a Dairy Queen stop.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@cresler


Really, there are 600 in Texas (the most of any state).  You either reside in Highland Park, or in the South Dallas.....I personally know every town I ramble through has one.  Maybe you are not seeing the only things in most towns that say DQ?   Just saying. 


"But Texans managed many businesses that offer good products"......you aren't from around here are you? 

Nictacular
Nictacular

@Mervis This one is my "go-to" now! Ever since they closed that one in Arlington back in the 90's.

I think it's a Nizza Pizza now.

heathbickerstaff
heathbickerstaff

@DQFFL Dairy Queen in Texas is actually a completely different company! We had the food menu YEARS before American Dairy Queen incorporated it into their stores. Texas Dairy Queen pays a royalty per gallon of ice cream we sell and thats it!

NewsDog
NewsDog

@audrajennings  The menu at DQ in Texas was always different than DQ anywhere else. Case in point...

June 1980, I had just graduated high school and was visiting my Grandfather. Went to the DQ in Red Bud, IL. I wanted a chili cheeseburger but didn't see it on the menu. I saw chilidogs so I figured no problem. When I ordered the lady looked at me and said 'what?'. So I told her, she said 'OK'. She calls the order out to the cook in the back and I hear 'WHAT?' So I explain to the cook and he sort of shakes his head and says 'ok'. While I'm waiting I explain to them that is the #3 at every DQ in Texas.

Turns out it was pretty good but they used a different type of chili.

nickrallo
nickrallo

@Joshstruckoutagain Yeah, I couldn't fit that one in the piehole. Next time, I'm getting the Dude. Maybe'll I'll just update this piece.

JustSaying
JustSaying

@becoolerifyoudid  Dairy Queen in more than a stop sign. Its like the measuring stick of how country your city is. If you meet someone from a small ass town in Texas that you've never heard of, 99% of the time the person will bring up Dairy Queen. Its either "we are so small we don't even have a DQ" or the defensive "at least we have a DQ". Texas, motherfucker.

Joshstruckoutagain
Joshstruckoutagain

@Nictacular  Growing up in East Texas, heading to the next town over for Saturday grocery shopping always meant a stop at DQ for a chili burger or a dude..and of course a dipped cone.

jennycritter
jennycritter

@Nictacular @Mervis there's one in Mansfield off of Broad Street, and another one at 508 W Randol Mill Rd, Arlington, TX 76011  If you still live in Arlington!


AustinAng
AustinAng

Liberty Hill is so small we don't have a DQ. Grr

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