Schnitzelburg's Dairy Del gets new lease on life, thanks to couple
LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- It's been touted as a landmark and an icon.
That is how the new owner of the Dairy Del ice cream shop in Louisville's Schnitzelburg neighborhood describes his new business venture with his wife.
The shop first opened in 1951, and it doesn't appear to have changed much since then -- but its future seemed in doubt when the "For Sale" sign went up earlier this year.
"When people around here saw the sign that went up in February, they thought it was going to close," said owner Wayne Madison. "There were people inquiring about perhaps tearing it down and building something else. We wanted to save it."
So Madison and his wife, Brenda, purchased the business from the previous owner who retired after 30 years.
"When we heard it was for sale we felt it was just the right thing to do," said Brenda Madison.
For Brenda, it is personal. She grew up just a block away.
"In the mid-70s I worked here as a teenager," she said. "This was my first job. I started when I was 15 years old."
Her mom, an aunt and three sisters also worked at the Dairy Del.
The Madisons reopened the business on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, the very day the sale was finalized.
Regular customers are happy the couple is keeping the 63-year tradition going.
"I think it is great," said Laprile Williams, a frequent customer. "I didn't want them to close. I want my banana split."
Wayne Madison describes the menu.
"It's more like fair food: in addition to all of the ice cream, we have corn dogs, hot dogs, hamburgers, chili dogs, and our famous funnel fries," he said.
The Madisons plan to restore the old neon lighting and have already added new shiny white umbrella tables. They don't think of this as work.
"It's wonderful," said Brenda Madison. "Ice cream is fun. It puts a smile on peoples' faces."
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