ANCHORAGE - Customers were waiting up to 40 minutes to relieve pent-up demand for soft serve and sugary toppings at the city's new Dairy Queen restaurant.
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The restaurant and drive-through opened Friday, 17 years after last DQ franchise went out of business in Anchorage. Fans of Dilly Bars, Peanut Buster Parfait and strawberry Blizzards were forced to drive nearly 150 miles to the Dairy Queen in Soldotna to satisfy their cravings.
According to franchise owner Greg Todd, the new Anchorage restaurant broke the company's single day dollar sales record on opening day, then sold more Saturday. He estimates the restaurant is serving more than a thousand orders a day and says the recent hot weather didn't hurt.
"When you build a restaurant, it's like in high school when you have a party," he said Wednesday. "You're worried no one will show up."
Then he laughed and threw out his arms at the people packed inside the store and lined up behind the drive-through.
"I expected nothing like this," he said. "Twenty-hour days and 72-degree weather, and I have an ice cream store."
Stacey Merrill, who works as a roofer, chose the drive-through line. She had her window rolled down so her dog could get some air. More than 20 cars stretched in front of her and she guessed it would take at least a half hour to get her food. She was waiting for a hamburger and a soft drink.
The biggest challenge for the restaurant so far has been keeping pace with orders. Two semi trailers parked outside were loaded with extra food and supplies.
The Todds plan to a second DQ in Palmer in August, with stores in Wasilla and south Anchorage by next summer.