Dairy Queen closes Carbondale location

Carbondale is saying goodbye to an iconic ice cream spot that has been around since the 60s
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 10:20 PM CDT|Updated: May. 31, 2023 at 10:24 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill (KFVS) - After spending decades in Carbondale, the Dairy Queen is officially closed.

This specific DQ location has been in the area since the early 1950′s. For more than 70 years, this Dairy Queen has been a staple in Carbondale with many residents, families, and friends saying they are not ready to see it go, including community member, Angela Hutchens.

“You don’t think about Carbondale unless you think about Dairy Queen,” Hutchens said. “I always came here and I would get the dilly bar because this is how I remembered being with my mom, and it was always her favorite dessert, but I practically took my first steps here eating hot fudge sundaes, dripping it down my chin.”

Another long-time customer sad to see this place full of memories go is Beverly Zech. She said she had hang out, go on dates, and even work at the Carbondale DQ. She also mentioned she had a hard time believing that it was closing.

“I called somebody, and I almost called them a liar, I was like I was here yesterday afternoon, it was open, I got my Blizzard,” Zech said.

Zech also said that other than the Saluki, there is nothing more iconic other in Carbondale than to see this Dairy Queen sign.

Mark Waickukauski said he appreciated the kind words.

“What people had to say about me and this place just makes it so much easier,” Waickukauski said. “My father took over in 66′, I was nine years old and I helped him do things.”

Waickukauski said the reason for the closure came from international Dairy Queen. He said it was because of unmet requirements.

“We had been, I was supposed to do some things and didn’t get them done, but we knew some things, I just didn’t know it would happen like this,” Waickukauski said. “They are more interested in the Grill & Chill, they want to make sure everything is equal, for a straight ice cream store to make it with the same things they’ve got, we just can’t do it.”

In an email sent to KFVS, American Dairy Queen Corporation explained the reason the Carbondale location was closed.

“We strive to maintain the highest standards at DQ restaurants to meet and exceed fan expectations. We expect that franchise owners will, at minimum, meet our operational standards in restaurant appearance, food and treat quality, and fan experience. We worked with the franchise owners of the Carbondale location to address operational issues over a period of time and, when the restaurant did not meet the necessary requirements, we made the difficult decision to close the restaurant.”

Waickukauski said he plans to open an independent ice cream store next. And others said they plan on supporting him the entire way.

“He’s going to kill whatever he does, he’s going to slay,” Zech said.

After spending decades in Carbondale, the Dairy Queen is officially closed.