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FACES AND PLACES: Carrie Miller is a real dilly

Carrie Miller is a curling expert. After more than 30 years of creating Dairy Queen ice cream treats, Miller makes forming the franchise's trademark curl look easy. It's not. Many of her employees struggle the first time they form the curl, the D...

Queen of the Dillys
Carrie Miller still believes in hand-dipping Dilly Bars at her Dairy Queen on North Fifth Street in Grand Forks.

Carrie Miller is a curling expert.

After more than 30 years of creating Dairy Queen ice cream treats, Miller makes forming the franchise's trademark curl look easy.

It's not. Many of her employees struggle the first time they form the curl, the Dairy Queen treat's crowning touch.

"You pull down, go around, and you've got your curl," said Miller, demonstrating her swirling technique on a Dilly Bar. She got a crash course in making Dairy Queen treats in 1975 when her parents Harold and Gladys Rosenberg bought the Dairy Queen franchise on North Fifth Street. The new owners wanted to turn the business over to the Rosenbergs in a week so she, along with her mom and dad and brother, Leonard, quickly had to learn how to master ice cream treat making.

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During the past 34 years, 20 of them as manager of the North End Dairy Queen, Miller has gotten in many hours of practice making ice cream treats. She and her staff still make Buster and Dilly bars by hand. They form the Buster Bars, made up of ice cream, peanuts and hot fudge, in small paper cups, freeze them, remove them from the cup and hand-dip them in chocolate.

Miller doesn't use a mold to make the Dilly Bars, instead placing them on a square of wax paper on an upside-down lid, then pouring a flow of ice cream from the machine on top of the paper. After the Dilly Bars are flash-frozen on a tray in the freezer, she and her staff hand-dip them in cherry, butterscotch or chocolate flavors.

"It's a little time consuming, but it's worth it," Miller said, noting that her customers appreciate the homemade touch. "To me they just taste better. People tell me they're creamier."

The Dilly Bars are popular sellers both with individual walk-in customers and people who order large quantities for an event or celebration.

"I bet I make about 250 a day," Miller said.

Even though she spends most of her days from early March, when she opens her North End Dairy Queen for the season until October, when she closes it, at work, Miller hasn't gotten tired of Dairy Queen ice cream.

"The hot fudge sundae is my favorite," she said. Miller doesn't always leave the Dairy Queen behind, either, when she heads home at the end of the day.

"I bring home a quart of DQ and hot fudge and peanuts and pecans. We like it. It's stuff you're not going to get tired of, unfortunately," she said with a smile.

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The most popular Dairy Queen treat with her customers is the Blizzard, Miller said. People these days don't think twice stopping by to buy one, much the way they used to stop in for a cone.

Changes

Years ago, customers who placed an order at the North Side Dairy Queen stood outside.

"In March I would open the window and scrape off the frost," Miller said. "I would always lose my voice in March because I would be waiting on people and I would have that window open."

Her Dairy Queen has been remodeled several times since then and now people go inside to order, and there's seating for about a half dozen.

The customers themselves haven't changed much over the years, though, Millers said. They usually are pretty happy when they arrive and eagerly anticipating ordering their treat

"Little kids and families come in and their eyes light up."

Watching her customers savoring their Dairy Queen purchase makes Miller's job enjoyable.

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"I like it. I like to see people come in and get something they want and enjoy it."

Bailey writes for special features sections. Reach her at (701) 787-6753; (800) 477-6572, ext. 753; or send e-mail to abailey@gfherald.com .

The trademark curl
Carrie Miller makes Dilly Bars with the trademark Dairy Queen curl.

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