Founded in the 1940s to show off the new soft-serve ice cream technology, this chain of ice cream restaurants has become one of the better-known dairy franchises in the business, along with Baskin-Robbin and Braums.

Missouri governor-turned-senator John Ashcroft got his start working at the Dairy Queen franchise in Springfield, Missouri, near Park Central Square.

In many areas off the the Texas highway, Dairy Queen is so much more than than just a fast food joint: Dairy Queen is, quite literally, the acropolis of the county.

An uncanny number of small Texas towns consist entirely of a very large Dairy Queen complex surrouned by a group of shacks or mobile homes. The actual restaurant takes up only a small wing of the complex; the rest holds various shops and meeting areas. Most stores sell only tourist attraction items from the Lone-Star State, but some inventories are as extensive as that of Wal-mart. They might sell everything from clothes to linens to snacks. And just about everybody who is anybody in these towns is at the Dairy Queen on Saturday night; nothing particularly exciting happens there, but everybody goes there because there is literally nowhere else to go.

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