LINDENWOOD PARK – St. Louis’ favorite summer treat turned 90 this past Thursday.
Ted Drewes on Chippewa celebrated 90 years in business with music, balloons and a coloring contest in the store’s parking lot last week. Though the party was supposed to end at 5PM, the commemoration was extended to accommodate those deterred by the rain.
The rainy weather, however, didn’t stop Travis and Christy Dillon, the current owners of Ted Drewes, from having a good time. They took time out of the festivities to speak to The SouthSider about the event and the history of St. Louis’ famous frozen custard.
Started way back in 1929, Ted Drewes Sr. started selling frozen custard in a travelling carnival down in Florida before setting up permanent shop the following year with a store on Natural Bridge Road, then later adding the Grand Blvd and Chippewa locations.
When asked how Ted Sr. got involved with a travelling carnival, Travis Dillon recounted, “[He] was a great tennis player. You’ll see over at Forest Park… He was champion for, I think, 10 years in a row, so he was a very, very good tennis player. He would go to Florida [for the winter] to teach tennis and play tennis himself just to keep in shape.”
He said that the Drewes were asked by the Royal American in Florida if they would be interested in selling ice cream in their travelling carnival, and Ted Sr. agreed, borrowing a frozen custard recipe from a friend in New York.
Since then, the store has passed from Ted Sr. to Ted Jr. and now to Christy, the original Ted’s granddaughter, and Travis Dillon. Ted Jr. was in attendance for the 90th celebration on Thursday.
Though the rain deterred some of the scheduled events for the commemoration, there was still plenty to do. Vintage cars lined the parking lot, though the Dillons said that the rain did limit the number of cars they were able to feature.
For the kids there were balloons and a coloring contest. Each of the four winners of the contest received a fifty dollar gift card, and one grand prize winner won a ninety dollar gift card. The picture used in the contest was drawn by the Dillons’ daughter-in-law, Lindsey, while a large banana split cut-out in the parking lot was painted by their other daughter-in-law, Kristin.
In addition, the frozen custard spot was selling ice cream sundaes at a discounted price: a small sundae for only ninety cents. There were also a few local celebrities who stopped by, including Fred Bird, Charlie Brennan and John Rooney, sportscaster for the Cardinals.
Though this was a one-day event, the Chippewa Ted Drewes location is
officially open for the season. The Grand Blvd location, though still closed, will re-open before Mother’s Day.