J.B.'s Journals: The Original Dairy Queen

EAST TEXAS (KYTX) -- "DQ calls it a smile and a story; everybody has a smile and a story to share about a memory they have in their local DQ."

For 62 years, the Dairy Queen in Henderson has served up Texas favorites.

"We're very proud to have the oldest DQ in Texas," Owner and Operator of Henderson DQ Rob Beall said. "Don't want it to look like it's the oldest DQ in Texas."

In the 1980's they considered building a new DQ.

"Created such a firestorm from the local townspeople, got so many calls," Beall said. "They backed down, kept the oldest DQ in Texas open."

There is an original icebox that was in the store used in the 1950's.

"We like keeping it around but don't have to use it anymore," Beall said.

The original DQ was a popular hangout for Rusk County teens to eat, meet and pass the time.

"Once my son got into high school, after baseball games, the teams have always come here, coke and ice cream, special time," Henderson DQ customer Charlie Franklin said. "Brought back memories of when I was a kid."

While many believe Dairy Queen is a Texas original, the restaurant actually got its start in Illinois in 1940. But from the marketing slogan, "That's what I like about Texas," to the menu, DQ in the Lone Star State is different.

"DQ food system in Texas known as Texas country foods, that's where the Hunger Buster, Dude, Belt Buster come from," Beall said. "Can't get those items in other parts of the country."

Texas has the most Dairy Queens in the U.S.; 600 locations. Many say the red DQ sign is the Texas Stop Sign.

"I've heard people say over the years that your not a real town unless you have a church and a DQ," Beall said.

One treat that keeps customers coming back is the ice cream.

"When we celebrate, after church, meet people, it's a family tradition," Henderson DQ customer Glenda Waits said.

The other reason for return trips is not on the menu.

"Got some good memories, something you want to hang on to," Franklin said.

"Generation after generation continues to be served here." 

The name Dairy Queen comes from the name of their original soft serve product. The top product they sell at the DQ in Henderson; the Oreo Blizzard.


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