(Read the end of this post for follow up reviews for the Heights Theatre and W 7th St in St. Paul)
Both the Fridley and the Excelsior Ave DQ stores have the same price for their core items:
Small vanilla cone: $1.69
Peanut Buster Parfait: $4.19
Both of these stores are also the fancy DQ Grill and Chills. I went to Fridley first. This store is on Osborne Road between East River Rd and Central Ave. The main thing it has going for it is that all of the outside picnic tables are in the shade in a grassy area--That's how you want to eat your Dairy Queen cone!
The prices are a bit high, but I am now expecting that from my Grill and Chills (Though you should still notice that the most expensive DQ reviewed so far is the stand-alone shop in Robbinsdale).
The cone was average, which is to say "Excellent." but there was nothing remarkable about it. It wasn't too small or too large, too icy or to fluffy. Just a good ice cream cone.
The Excelsior Ave (Hwy 3) Store is next to the strip mall just East of Hwy 100. It's a fancy Grill and Chill. It seems fancier than some of the others. Their outside area was in a fenced off section of the parking lot, which is fine, but picnic tables in the grass is better, no?
They had a huge line the whole time I was there. They must be doing something right.
I broke with my tradition of getting a small cone and instead got a chocolate sundae. Wife Sally got the caramel sundae. Do you people have any idea how sweet a caramel sundae is? I could not tolerate it. The chocolate sundae was good and had a base of fine quality ice cream.
At this point I have been eating enough DQ cones now that I know when a cone meets or fails to meet the standard for DQ cones (as determined by me). I love DQ cones and am usually quite pleased with what is served to me.
I also know that there are a lot of factors which go into making a good cone. Watch for future posts with a former DQ employee for the inside scoop. I also know that any store can have an off day.
For instance, the highly rated W 7th St. Paul DQ received high marks this spring for their awesome cone; this weekend, my cone there was much too soft and they would have received low marks this time around.
For another instance, The pooooorrrrrlllyy rate Heights DQ on Central Ave previously served me a cone that barely meet the criteria for being a cone, it was so mushy, let alone the criteria for a DQ cone. But this weekend they served my up an excellent cone with friendly service to me and the people in front of me.