Mar 25 2010

Whirla Whip

Let’s start with a few questions today.  Have you ever heard of Whirla Whip?  Do you know what it is?  Have you ever had one?

I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of Whirla Whip until Kim from the North Dakota Tourism office told me about it last year.  On my trip around North Dakota with the kids, she said we could stop in at Stanley Drug for a Whirla Whip.  She also mentioned that it was one of the last Whirla Whips around.  Disappearing history? A tasty treat?  I added it to our itinerary.

Dakota Drug Soda Fountain

Stanley’s Whirla Whip is located in the Dakota Drug store, which still has a full-service soda fountain.  The centerpiece of the soda fountain is the Whirla Whip machine.  (Unfortunately, this photographer didn’t get much of a picture of the actual machine.  You can see the handle for it on the left side of the above photo.)

A Whirla Whip is the predecessor of the DQ Blizzard or McDonald’s McFlurry.  Made with scoops of hard ice cream, bits of candy or flavoring are added and then the machine does its magic, smashing and swirling and mixing it all together until you have a lovely concoction called a Whirla Whip.  Our soda jerk ground the candy bits with a mortar and pestle before adding them to the treat.  The flavor combinations are seemingly unlimited, as you can choose the flavor of ice cream as well as how many and what kind of additives to put in your Whirla Whip.

Whirla Whip Flavors at Stanley Drug

It was worth the stop off Highway 2 to have a Whirla Whip in Stanley.

A few months later, we visited the End-O-Line Railroad Park and Museum in Currie, Minnesota, while camping at Lake Shetek State Park.  To my surprise, they had a familiar-looking machine stationed in their gift shop.

Currie Whirla Whip

“Is that a Whirla Whip?” I asked.  And indeed it was.  The Currie Whirla Whip hasn’t been used in a while, but I found it interesting to see two of these old guys within one summer.

Apparently, Whirla Whip is still around; the company has a website.  And if you’re one of the lucky few to have had a Whirla Whip at Dakota Drug in Stanley, North Dakota, there’s a Facebook group just for you.

Have you ever had a Whirla Whip?  Where was it?

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7 comments so far

7 Comments to “Whirla Whip”

  1. Melissa Sutton on 25 Mar 2010 at 12:23 pm

    We stopped by Stanley on one of our trips back to Niagra, ND. We heard about the Whirla Whip from one of our friends. They are a tasty treat I think I tried the cake flavor.
    .-= Melissa Sutton´s last blog ..New kitchen lights =-.

  2. Annika Plummer on 28 Mar 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Here’s a link to my trip to Stanley to have a Whirl-a-Whip! I wrote it when I was a staff assistant for the North Dakota Horizons magazine.

  3. Anca Popa on 11 May 2010 at 7:46 am

    After reading your post, I just thought that you might want to enter a competition we’re running. It’s actually a monthly travel blogging competition and this month’s theme is ‘Food and Travel’, so if you have a memorable food experience from your travels please feel free to share it with us. We’d love to hear from you!
    .-= Anca Popa´s last blog ..Kotor Take-Homes: Supermarket Snacks and Souvenirs =-.

  4. Angela on 23 Jun 2011 at 5:44 pm

    There is another place that still sells and uses the Whirla Whip machines in Akron, Ohio. It is a little custard stand called Kenmore Freeze. We have two Whirla Whip machines that are working and well maintained. I have worked there for 14 years now–and must say they make some of the best tasting ice cream ever! It is what keeps our customers coming…our best selling Whirla Whip flavors are lemon and butter pecan…If you are ever in NE Ohio during the months of April through September, stop by!

  5. Dawn on 17 Jul 2011 at 6:46 am

    I grew up a couple blocks from the Kenmore Freeze that Angela mentions, so I’ve been going there the last 30 years. Since I moved away I’ve been shocked to learn that I can’t get custard like I grew up with. I didn’t know it was anything unique at the time; I just knew it tasted great. I finally did some searching, wondering what the special machine they use is. Now if only I could find someone – anyone!- running a Whirla Whip machine in Connecticut. The Freeze might be reason alone to plan a summer time trip home to Akron.

    At least I’ll be all set if I ever make it out to North Dakota :)

  6. Angela on 19 Jul 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Dawn~Thanks for your comment about the Kenmore Freeze and our custard! I will tell the owner Dianne, that you said that! We do have the best and we are spoiled that we get to have it all summer long! :)

  7. Richard on 06 Nov 2012 at 12:49 am

    As a young boy in the 1950′s we had a Whirla Whip In a tub !
    In El Cajon California, just east of San Diego. They would load
    that funnel with what ever you ordered. Peanut butter, vanilla
    ice cream, peppermint candy cane chips ! Pull down the handle and pump out the greatest ice cream treats. I spent lots of my paperboy money there. Great memories !

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