The Dairy Dream is a small, walk-up-to-the-window-and-order restaurant in the Ozarks town of Mountainburg, Arkansas. It’s painted beige and a sign on top bears its name and the painted image of a giant ice cream cone. This restaurant has been one of the town's landmarks since the late fifties, when it was opened by the local Willroth family, who own and operate it still, from about March to November.
The Dairy Dream is known best for its mountainburgers - which are not, as the name implies to some, gargantuan hamburgers, but sandwiches made out of ground beef cooked with a mysterious mix of spices, served with mustard, relish, and chopped onions - unless the customer specifies otherwise, of course. "Like a sloppy joe without the tomato sauce," employees tell confused out-of-town customers. All those in Mountainburg know what mountainburgers are - the younger generations call them “dumpburgers,” derived from their snide nickname for the Dairy Dream: the Dairy Dump.
Besides selling mountainburgers and hot dogs and Frito pies and other such things, the Dairy Dream is also the proud purveyor of soft-serve vanilla ice cream and products made from said ice cream: malts, shakes, floats, sundaes, and freezes(shakes made with soda pop rather than milk). They also serve old-fashioned fountain drinks: Purple Cows, Wildcats, Baby Elephants, Red Rovers, Silver Saddles...
The Dairy Dream doesn’t exactly flourish nowadays. When Interstate 540 was completed, it took traffic off of the now Scenic Highway 71, which is Mountainburg’s 'Main Street'. Mountainburg is quieter now. Lake Fort Smith State Park, which sits on the edge of Mountainburg, is shut down now while Lake Fort Smith is being combined with Lake Shepherd Springs. Its large swimming pool is gone, and the crowds it used to bring with it… the same crowds that flocked to the Dairy Dream during lifeguard breaks to get ice cream and mountainburgers.