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.