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The History of Dairy Queen Dilly Bars

Dilly Bars were invented at one of the nation's oldest Dairy Queen locations in Moorhead, Minnesota. In 1955, the original owners Bob and Phyllis Litherland, along with a few unnamed men from the area, began experimenting with frozen treats. At one point, they froze a circle of ice cream onto a tongue depressor and someone said, “Isn't that a dilly?" The name stuck, and Dilly Bars quickly became popular. The original Dairy Queen Dilly Bars were coated in chocolate and made according to the Litherland’s recipe. The Moorhead location also sold cherry and butterscotch versions. As Dilly Bars caught on at Dairy Queen locations across America, franchise owners began sourcing the frozen desserts from a central supplier. However, the Moorhead location still makes their Dilly Bars — and, in fact, almost everything else they sell, too — by hand according to the Litherland’s original recipes. And although the location is open for just 8 months of the year, they sell over 100,000 Dilly Bars during that time! But they aren't just popular in Minnesota — today, Dilly Bars are considered one of Dairy Queen’s best-selling items. Popular all across the country, they are one of the chain’s longest-standing frozen desserts and are typically only outshone in sales by the chain’s famous Blizzards, which were introduced relatively recently in comparison.

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