WHEATON – By fall, residents will once again be able to buy soft-serve ice cream, Blizzard treats and other items from the Dairy Queen at 102 W. Liberty Drive in downtown Wheaton.
After being closed for more than a year, the restaurant is set to reopen in September. The Patel family, the new franchise owners of the restaurant, also operate a Dairy Queen in Westmont.
Rerish Patel purchased the building in February, and it is in the process of being improved. He will be running the restaurant's operations, and his wife, Nimisha, will be overseeing the business.
"We are hoping to finish in September," he said. "Our idea was to open in August, but it didn't happen. Everything is being refreshed totally, except for the four walls. Everything is being gutted out inside. The building was quite neglected."
Patel has owned a Dairy Queen restaurant in Westmont for three years.
Even though several independent businesses in downtown Wheaton also sell ice cream, he said he is not scared of the competition.
"Mom-and-pop shops have something different to offer than franchises," Patel said. "I think it is such a nice thing. I don't see the competition. You are just offering more to people. You can't have the same ice cream every day. You need that variety."
Dairy Queen is known for its soft-serve ice cream, along with its Blizzards and other ice cream treats. The first Dairy Queen store opened in 1940 in Joliet.
"People grew up with Dairy Queen ice cream," Patel said. "Right now, our Oreo Blizzard is our most popular item. But they are always adding new items, like the summer berry cheesecake Blizzard treat. They're always coming up every year with new flavors and new combinations of things just to bring more variety."
Patel is considering keeping the Wheaton restaurant open year round. The restaurant only offers carryout, as the building is too small to accommodate indoor seating.
"We would like to have that because we are open year round here in Westmont, and people are loving it," he said.