Dari Dip of­fers food and fun for fam­i­lies dur­ing the hol­i­days

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - WHERE TO DINE - BY BRANDI DIXON COR­RE­SPON­DENT

With the hol­i­day sea­son in full swing, fam­i­lies across the Scenic City and North Ge­or­gia are com­ing to­gether at their fa­vorite places — and one of North Ge­or­gia’s sweet spots is Dari Dip in LaFayette.

With more than 60 years as a fam­ily-owned busi­ness, good food and good times are what Dari Dip is all about, ac­cord­ing to Don Ben­ton.

“I own the restau­rant along with my son, Don­ald Jr.,” Ben­ton said. “We’re more than just an ice cream shop. You name it, and we’ve done it.”

Dari Dip has been a full-ser­vice restau­rant since 2001. It’s eas­ily spot­ted — and even noted — for its vin­tage build­ing that was for­merly a walk-up ser­vice win­dow and for its bright, clas­sic neon sig­nage.

The lo­cal fa­vorite is ideal for a Christ­mas busi­ness lunch, fam­ily out­ing or church group tucked away in its cozy pri­vate din­ing room. Or, if you pre­fer hav­ing meals brought to you, they have plenty of cater­ing op­tions suit­able for any bud­get. Menu choices range from tasty ap­pe­tiz­ers, in­clud­ing cheese sticks or po­tato pan­cakes, to clas­sic en­trees such as chicken-fried chicken, a shrimp plat­ter or coun­try-fried steaks.

“From steaks and seafood to ham­burg­ers and hot dogs, we’ve re­ally got some­thing for ev­ery­one,” Ben­ton said, not­ing some of the cus­tomer fa­vorites are the shrimp plat­ter, rib­eye steaks and, of course, ice cream.

“If you can’t find some­thing here to eat, then you re­ally aren’t hun­gry.”

Ben­ton and son have been a team there for the past 10 years, but Dari Dip it­self has been a com­mu­nity sta­ple and fam­ily-owned busi­ness since 1953.

“In 65 years, there’s just been five fam­i­lies that have kept this up,” Ben­ton said. “We’ve known some of them and kept in touch through­out the jour­ney.”

While their slo­gan is “More Than an Ice Cream Store,” you sim­ply can’t over­look the clas­sic and su­per creamy ice cream op­tions for dessert.

The soft serves are a fa­vorite with the more tra­di­tional vanilla, choco­late, twist (vanilla and choco­late) or or­ange sher­bet that beckons with a de­li­cious Cream­si­cle feel. Be­yond that, cus­tomers can choose from 10 se­lect May­field ice creams to en­joy on their own or paired into a tasty and ex­tra-thick milk­shake, or on cobbler or pie. Th­ese in­clude Birth­day Cake, Choco­late Chip Cookie Dough, Mint Choco­late Chip and other de­li­cious sta­ples.

Spe­cialty desserts at the Dari Dip in­clude a banana boat made with soft-serve vanilla ice cream and topped with a whole banana, pineap­ple, straw­berry, choco­late syrup, nuts, rich whipped cream and a cherry; or, the or­ange smoothie, which blends soft-serve sher­bet with Sprite.

This long­time restau­rant, its vin­tage build­ing and stel­lar neon sign are easy to spot if you’re out and about for a bite on Vil­lanow Street. The su­per-friendly ser­vice is an added bonus.

From the mo­ment you walk in and or­der, to the time your meal ar­rives, you’ll feel like part of the fam­ily. And at the most won­der­ful time of the year, noth­ing could be more needed or en­dear­ing.

MARK GILLILAND PHOTOS

One of the fa­vorite en­trees at Dari Dip is the Pol­ish sausage served with a choice of pep­pers and onions or sauer­kraut.

Fresh ground beef, hand-pat­ted, is used for ham­burger steaks at Dari Dip. Grilled pep­pers, onions and mush­rooms can be added for a small sur­charge.

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