The claim for the first Dairy Queen in Minnesota is hotly contested between:
- 1720 N. Lexington Avenue (near Larpenteur) in Roseville, opened in 1947
- 538 North Broadway, in Rochester (opened June 20, 1947)
St. Louis Park couldn’t have been far behind. In 1947 Burton F. Myers bought the first Hennepin County Franchise for Dairy Queen Milk Bars, and opened his first store at 5507 Excelsior Blvd., between old Vernon and Webster, across from the Enga Funeral Home. [The first Dairy Queen opened in Joliet, Ill. in 1940]. This store was run by H.A. “Hap” Pearson and his partner Roy G. Carlson.
A small article in the Dispatch on July 18, 1947, announced the opening:
New Drive-In Open on Excelsior Blvd.
The newest establishment in St. Louis Park is a drive-in root beer and hamburger shop, Lyndale Nursery Flower shop, and a milk bar called the Dairy Queen. The three-in-one building has opened on Excelsior Blvd. near the belt line with the root beer stand and dairy bar now in operation. Work is still being done on the flower shop, a branch of the Lyndale nursery store.
The nursery sold Christmas trees at the location on the lot in the off season.
A“new Dairy Queen” was advertised as opening at 5507 on June 17, 1950.
A second Dairy Queen opened at 4407 Excelsior Blvd. (at Kipling), with a Grand Opening from April 29-30, 1960. In spring 1961 it was referred to as Bea’s Dairy Queen. That building burned down in 1999.
For years there were two Dairy Queens in St. Louis Park: one at 5001 Excelsior Blvd. and another at 1620 Park Place Blvd. The DQ at 5001 Excelsior Blvd. closed abruptly in 2017.
CARLSON’S DRIVE IN
A kind of shared ad appeared in the October 31, 1947, issue of the Dispatch, advertising Stuart’s Stationery and Card Shop, presumably at the Lilac Way Shopping Center, and Carlson’s Drive In, where you could get Christmas Trees, Wreaths, and Flowers. This may be the root beer stand that was next to the Dairy Queen.
DAIRY WIPT/MEAL IN A BUN
In 1949 there was a falling out between Pearson and Carlson at the Dairy Queen, and Carlson opened two other drive-ins (in one building) called Meal in a Bun and Dari Wipt next door to the Dairy Queen at 5515 Excelsior Blvd. There was another Dari-Wipt/Meal in a Bun at Highway 169 at Interlachen Road in 1952.
A photo from 1963 (below) shows something called the Red Rooster just west of Meal-in-a-Bun, although it doesn’t show up in the 1963 or 1964 phone books.
The two drive-ins (or three, depending on how you count) operated until about 1966 when they all became victim to an on-ramp to the reconstructed Highway 100 in 1967.