New DQ offers traditional taste, new concept |

New DQ offers traditional taste, new concept

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” At 10 a.m. this morning, the wait is over.

The newest addition to Glenwood Springs’ quick-serve restaurants will open its doors today to a public that’s been anticipating that classic soft-serve ice cream that Dairy Queen invented more than 65 years ago.

If you’re expecting a typical DQ, think again.

There was a Dairy Queen on the north side of West Glenwood for years ” but nothing like owner John Pettit’s new venture. Glenwood’s newest Dairy Queen is one of only three upscale DQ concept restaurants in the world.

“We’re so excited to bring this to Glenwood,” said Pettit.

Pettit said the two other concept stores are in Kentucky and Georgia. He brought Dairy Queen executives to Glenwood from Minneapolis to show them why this specialized DQ should be here.

“Colorado wasn’t on their radar,” he said. “But once they saw Glenwood, they said, in a word, ‘Wow.'”

Ice cream at 10 a.m.

Walk into the spanking new DQ, located on the banks of the Colorado River in West Glenwood near the new Elk Mountain Motors, and you’ll likely say, “Wow,” as well.

The new restaurant has a bit of an old-fashioned diner feel. Retro photos of former DQs long gone hang on the earth-toned tiled walls. Wooden tables encircle an open-air grill and big windows look out to even bigger mountain views. There’s even Internet access at cafe tables so that diners can check their e-mail or tap away on their laptops while eating lunch.

You can DQ as early in the morning as you dare. This concept restaurant is open for breakfast ” at 5:30 a.m., no less.

“We have eggs over easy, and bacon and sausage,” Pettit said.

But don’t expect to order a soft-serve cone at the crack of dawn. Ice cream treats aren’t available until 10 a.m. each day.

Besides treats, burgers and even salads are on the menu for lunch and dinner and diners can either eat-in or drive through.

Soft serve on the river

The Pettits owned and operated four McDonald’s restaurants in and around Canton, Ohio, for 16 years prior to moving to Glenwood four years ago.

When they first arrived, they bought Four Mile Market on South Midland Avenue in south Glenwood.

Pettit said he got the idea to open a Dairy Queen in Glenwood from friend and fellow snowmobile aficionado Duane Neuman of Neuman Construction.

“He told me that Glenwood needed a Dairy Queen,” he said. “He really encouraged me to get back to doing what I do best.”

Pettit said he and Glenwood developer Dick Gilstrap swapped the Dairy Queen land for Four Mile Market. The Colorado River location is ideal, Pettit said. The restaurant has outdoor seating, and four rafting companies take out of the river next door, so the DQ will likely get lots of river-runner use come spring.

“We’re real hands-on,” Pettit said of the Pettits’ management style. “Plus we love working with kids. Our staff is great.”

Besides hiring local high school and Colorado Mountain College students, the Pettits also hire people from Mountain Valley Development, like Joel Bone, whom they hired to make pizza at Four Mile Market.

“He’s a great young man,” Pettit said. “Dick Gilstrap inherited him to continue working at the market.”

Now, one of Bone’s Mountain Valley friends, Sarah Hubregtse, is training to work at the new DQ.

A family affair

It’s a family affair. Pettit, his wife Sara and their 25-year-old son Jonathan “Jono” Pettit are all part of the restaurant. The Pettits’ daughter, Jennifer, still lives in Ohio and is raising twin girls and 3-year-old Ben.

Although Pettit said they miss Jennifer and her family, he said he knew during a trip to Colorado in 1996 that the Pettits would move here.

“We went horseback riding north of Meeker for a week, then came down into Glenwood,” said Pettit.

“Right then, we knew that somehow, someday, some way, we would move here.”

“We know where we wanted to be,” said Sara.

“This is a great community and we’re thrilled to pieces to make this restaurant a reality,” added Pettit.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

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