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Treat or Tradition?

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Marty Mire, owner of Dub's Marty Mire, owner of Dub's

It doesn't really matter as long as you have one in your hand on a hot summer's day. Dub's and the Dee-Dee Bar

There used to be a time you could recognize a newcomer to the area when they said, “I wish there were a (Baskin Robbins, Dairy Queen, TCBY, fill in the blank) in town.” All-knowing locals would hide their smirks as they debated whether to share the secret of Dub’s Drive-In and the decadent Dee-Dee bar. After all, with close to a quarter pound of ice cream frozen on a stick and dipped (several times) into a hard chocolate sauce, who in their right mind would want anything else (thirty-one-derful flavors not withstanding)?

But that was then. I’m not sure how the topic came up but when talking with a group of high school students at Clark Fork last month I mentioned the Dee-Dee bar, only to be greeted by blank stares of incomprehension.

“A Dee-Dee bar. You know. You get ‘em at Dub’s?”

To my dismay not a one of the students present that day, most of whom were born right here in Bonner County, had any idea of what I was talking about. I didn’t think it was possible to grow up in this area without experiencing the delight of a Dee-Dee bar but, for those of you who have not yet had that experience, I am pleased to introduce you.

The Dee-Dee bar makes its home, as I indicated before, at Dub’s Drive-In, located at the intersection of Boyer and Hwy. 2 in Sandpoint. The name is a bit of a misnomer as there’s no drive-through window and there never was—instead, you drive up to the building, park, and walk inside. It’s an old, wooden building with little of the plastic and techno-glitz that mark most fast food places these days—it’s simple, unpretentious and gets the job done, much like the food that’s served inside.

The restaurant first opened going on 60 years ago and Dub Lewis, the then-owner, was the inventor of the Dee-Dee bar. Back in those days the restaurant was called the Dairy Delight, and it only sold ice cream. Mothers, according to today’s owner Marty Mire (that’s him, holding a cherry-covered Dee-Dee bar), complained about ice cream melting, generally all over their precious youngsters who then transferred it to everything in sight, so Dub created the Dee-Dee bar—soft ice cream frozen into a round cake and skewered with a stick. Once frozen, the ice cream ‘cake’ is then dipped into a thick coating. Today, you can get your choice of chocolate, butterscotch or cherry as a topping, though the chocolate is by far the most popular.

Yes, Dairy Queen (now called DQ) does have a similar product—the dilly bar. DQ says the first dilly bar was made in 1955, probably right around the time that Dub came up with the Dee-Dee bar and no one knows whose idea it was first—though I like to think it was Dub’s. The dilly bar, however, is a pale imitation of the Dee-Dee bar. Weighing in at 100ml (or 85g) the dilly is close to the Dee-Dee bar’s weight, but I think our local treat gets a lot more coating than its competition.

I describe the Dee-Dee bar as ice cream, by the way, because that’s easy, but the soft serve ingredient under the Dee-Dee coating is actually a specialty non-dairy product that’s lactose free—which means you can eat several without any guilt or worry. And by the way, you can afford to eat it as well. One of these little beauties will only set you back a mere 70 cents (plus tax, of course).

And at less than a dollar a pop, there was nothing for it but to buy up a dozen and head back to Clark Fork to introduce those poor, deprived children to the Dee-Dee bar. I’m not sure how the word got out about what I was doing, but there were ten kids present in the class of eight when I arrived. (Claire Christie ate her ice cream and ran before the picture, below, was taken.) All but three of those students, by the way, were born and raised right here in our neck of the woods.

“I live a very sheltered life,” laughed Daniel Kennerly, one of the trio of non-native students present who had never had a Dee-Dee bar, as he scarfed down his treat. Nate Christensen, though new to the Dee-Dee bar, was not a stranger to Dub’s—he’s just never made it past the humongous, soft-serve, dipped cones. “You can hardly eat the whole thing there’s so much of it!” he said admiringly, while making short work of his ice cream on a stick.

Kandice Daniels and David Meadows both said they used to go to Dub’s “all the time,” though they haven’t been in a while. And despite already being aware of the joys of the Dee-Dee bar (or maybe because they were) they grabbed their treats with alacrity. And David wasn’t even a member of the class. “Of course,” David pointed out, “Dub’s has the best ice cream in town.”

Mo Becker is another Dub’s Drive-in fan—her recommendation for the perfect lunch is an Oreo milkshake and french fries. I’m sure she meant to include a salad in there as well.

Chris Garlin, notoriously camera shy, said the treat “is really very good,” and even Jason Parting, who has made ‘contrary’ his motto for life, finished his in record time. Tyler Henderson summed up the reason why so few students had come across the Dee-Dee bar before: “We just don’t go downtown much,” he said.

Vince Thompson, first-time Dee-Dee bar eater, was the first to finish his bar, and Kandice the last. But not even Kandice had to worry about the ice cream melting down her arm before she could eat the last bite, proving that Dub Lewis had a pretty good idea almost six decades ago.

As for those extra bars I brought—well, therein lies a tale.

Two extra bars and I had promised one to the school secretary because, as a 23-year veteran parent of the public school system, I know exactly where it pays off to spread a little bribe every now and then. But Sherry Witcraft, the secretary in question, had gone to check the mail. I gave the final bar to Clark Fork’s principal, Phil Kemink, and entrusted Sherry’s bar to him as well.

He gave it away to someone else and, when Sherry returned, gave her the empty bag that wraps this delicious, delectable treat.

So now I owe Sherry a Dee-Dee bar, and Phil owes her at least a dozen or so. I heard from several other students in the school as well, who questioned why they weren’t in the class that received the treat, and why was I playing favorites?

Ah well. They’re only 70 cents each.

Dub’s opens on Mondays through Fridays at 6 am, on Saturdays at 10 am, and at 11 am on Sundays. It stays open seven nights a week until 8 pm, and until 9 pm in the summertime. The menu features a full breakfast every day except Saturday and Sunday (eggs and meat, french toast, pancakes, breakfast burritos, sandwiches and more), and a full complement of lunch and dinner choices ranging from traditional fast food fare (burgers and fries) to Philly steak sandwiches, salads and a whole list of other things—along with “the best ice cream in town” for dessert.

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Author info

Landon Otis

Tagged as:

Sandpoint, food, Clark Fork High School, Dubs, Dee Dee Bar, Dub Lewis, Marty Mire, Claire Christie, Daniel Kennerly, Nate Christensen, Kandice Daniels, David Meadows, Mo Becker, Chris Garlin, Jason Parting, Tyler Henderson, Vince Thompson, Sherry Witcraft, Phil Kemink

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