By MIKE EDDLEMAN
Temperatures may be approaching triple digits as summer bears down on Liberty Hill, but the Blizzards have arrived.
Liberty Hill’s Dairy Queen opened its doors Wednesday, ready to satisfy the sweet tooth of locals eager for a treat since the initial announcement the restaurant was coming to town.
“When you turn the Blizzard upside down you can see it put a smile on everybody’s face, that’s special to me,” said co-owner John Usher, who has been in town since April preparing for the big opening.
The menu for Liberty Hill’s Dairy Queen will be what diners are accustomed to – burgers, tacos, salads, chicken and steak fingers – with an extensive variety of ice cream treats, which is the part Usher knows is what it all comes down to.
“We know our ice cream is going to stand out,” he said. “No one can beat our ice cream and our desserts. When kids come in and we see the smile on their face from the ice cream cone or the treats, it is what I feel makes the difference for us.”
Opening a new location is a treat in itself for the third-generation Dairy Queen businessman, who has some of his oldest memories connected to the inner-workings of the iconic restaurant.
“I grew up in a pack and play in the back of the store as a baby when my dad was running it,” he said. “I’ve been in Dairy Queen all of my life.”
The food and ice cream inside is the same as customers have come to expect, but the look of Liberty Hill’s Dairy Queen is not the same as most remember from long ago.
“A lot of people have the impression of an older type store in their head,” Usher said. “This has modernized a lot, with nicer finishes inside, but the product and soft serve is the same as it has always been.”
A new look, and fresh food enhance the experience, but Usher knows customer service is the key to success.
“All of our new employees are local and excited to work here, hopefully we will provide that great service people expect as well,” he said. “We plan to offer a level of service that will exceed those expectations.”
The Lindale-based company did not negotiate any incentives with the city or Economic Development Corporation.
The restaurant is 3,200 square feet with inside and outside dining space.
The Liberty Hill restaurant is the company’s fourth restaurant in the Austin area, and 10th overall. The choice to come to Liberty Hill just made sense for the group.
“We like Liberty Hill. It’s got more of a small-town community feel,” Usher said. “Being here is a better way to connect with the community and the people.”
The process – from groundbreaking to grand opening – has been smooth.
“It’s been great, we haven’t had any issues,” Usher said. “Dealing with the city, getting opened here at the end, there have been no issues. The inspector has been helpful, everyone has been very friendly.”
Currently the Dairy Queen employs about 65, and is still looking for new faces.
“One of the things out here is finding day shift help,” Usher said. “It is a lot of high school kids, and that gives us a lot of youth and energy. We anticipate being pretty busy so we are planning to run 20 to 30 on a shift in the beginning.”
This content was originally published on the Liberty Hill Independent