Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Boonville continues to feature local food partners. Central Dairy has been serving the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel since its opening in 2001. Boonville’s Guest Services Representative, Andy Hays, shares the experience that he and Chef Jason Martin recently had while visiting the Jefferson City ice cream maker.
June is National Dairy Month so it is fitting that we are featuring Central Dairy as our local food partner of the month. Central Dairy is very well known throughout the mid-Missouri area and is famous for its ice cream parlor connected to their factory in Jefferson City. This was my first visit to the shop, and I have to say I was very impressed.
As you walk into the shop, you could feel the nostalgia around the room and they even use the original benches that were installed when the parlor first opened. There wasn’t a frown in the room as cone after cone of delicious ice cream was served.
We met with our good friend Wayne Sommers to show us around the shop and give us a little history of the company. He started with Central Dairy in 1974 as a delivery driver, primarily to homes and he remembers when he could walk right into a house and drop milk off in the fridge.
Central Dairy has been a hometown favorite for mid-Missourians for many years. Their distribution area stretches up into Iowa and as far south as Camdenton, but it wasn’t always that way. When Dot Sappington first started Central Dairy, it was a small operation. The dairy company now bottles 6,000 gallons of milk per day with product from close to 80 farms and they continue to expand. The milk they receive is part of the DFA Co-Op and the majority is from Missouri.
It was still early when we visited so we didn’t see the usual after-lunch rush, but Wayne mentioned that people line up around the block to get a taste of their ice cream. The shop is a local favorite for bus loads of kids on field trips during school, senior groups, and workers on their breaks.
The making of a giant banana split!
Central Dairy features 51 flavors of ice cream in their parlor and Moose Tracks is their best selling flavor. They offer many varieties of ice cream treats including their famous banana splits. I had heard about the size of their splits but I had no clue what I was in for. They pile six scoops of ice cream (two chocolate, two vanilla, two strawberry) on top of a whole banana and then add marshmallow, chocolate topping, and nuts. It was huge! I am a big ice cream fan, as most of my coworkers can attest, but I was overwhelmed.
Jason and I each got our own banana split, and we aimed to finish it all before we left. They give you wax paper to put down on the table because it gets messy. Spoon after spoon went down and in the end, Jason finished his and I left a sliver of banana behind. I just couldn’t bring myself to eat those last few bites and I was stuffed all day.
The general manager of Central Dairy, Chris Hackman, checked on us as we started eating. Chris’ grandmother and grandfather both started at Central Dairy in the 1930’s. His grandfather was a delivery driver, guiding a horse and buggy filled with dry ice to keep the dairy products cold. Chris explained that the horses were so engrained with their day-to-day route that if the driver took too long, the horse would leave without him. It was hard to add a new stop to a route because the horse was so used to sticking to their route. Chris’ grandfather bought Central Dairy from the Sappingtons in the 50’s and the family has run it since. Prairie Farms bought the company in 2007 but Chris still runs the day-to-day operations.
There hasn’t been much change since Prairie Farms took over. The name and most of the products are exactly the same and the sale has allowed Central Dairy to expand into new territories. They bottle double the amount of milk than before.
For more information on Central Dairy, visit their website. When visiting Isle of Capri Casino Hotel, you can taste their delicious products at Farmer’s Pick Buffet, Tradewinds and Farraddays’.