Approaching Jefferson City on a warm summer day in 1955, you would cross the cool valley of the Moreau River on the narrow two-lane Highway 50 bridge,. Passing Elmer Harris's Lawn mower shop on the left and drive up the hill that winds around the bluff on the other side. When cresting the hill you see Borgmeyer's Service Station on the left and the new Daisy Delight Drive-In directly ahead (see picture below), nestled between the intersection of Old St. Louis Road and Highway 50. It’s shady parking lot inviting you in for a meal or cold ice cream treat.
Just beyond Daisy, you see Jubilee village on the right with Troop F Highway Patrol Headquarters next door. The Tower Court Motel is across the highway and just beyond is Doehla’s Drive-In (see picture below) with Al Wilber’s Bar-B-Que next door.
As you continue down the hill you see the green pastures of Landwehr’s Dairy Farm. The cattle are gently grazing on the grass and lazily looking up at the cars as they pass along Highway 50. Beyond Landwehr’s and at the edge of Bogg’s Creek, stands the city limits sign for Jefferson City. On the right you see Ross Smith’s A&W Root Beer Drive-In and Roy Sulllivan’s Service Station between Old St. Louis Road and Highway 50 with Oscar’s Steak House on the north side of Old St Louis Road.
As it is today, historic Highway 50 was a major thoroughfare in 1955. Starting as Constitution Avenue in front of the US Capital in Washington DC, traveling through the Midwest thru Jefferson City, on across the Great Plains and over the Rocky Mountains across the Great Divide and on to San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge. Today, many of the landmark buildings are still there but the businesses are only fond memories. An exception is Daisy Delight, still standing proudly at the junction of St. Louis Road and what was then Highway 50 just as it did in 1955. Though the building and menu have grown, the smiling service, good food and delicious desserts remain the same.
Originally built in 1955 by Emil & Pearl Walther, the small concrete block structure was a drive-in, (see picture below) much like Doehla’s down the road. Shaded picnic tables were next to the building for those that didn’t want to eat in their car and the menu consisted of Vanilla Ice Cream, Orange and Grape Slushs, and Root Beer. The original building remains part of the structure today and the change drawer and drive up window can still be seen on the inside.
The business was sold in 1960 to Clarence and Helen Hemmel who expanded the menu with the same delicious Charbroiled Hamburgers served today and offered the first two-flavor twist ice cream cone in Mid-Missouri.
In March of 1968, Jim Schulte purchased Daisy Delight from the Hemmels. Jim wanted to change the business from a drive-in to a sit-down restaurant by tripling the size of the building with a new dining room addition. Kenny Wildhaber and Al Scheppers spent the winter months of March and April of 1969 adding the addition based on a design Kenny had drawn on a piece of cardboard. The restaurant reopened in May as the same establishment you see today.
In 1990 Doris Schmutzler asked if the restaurant could offer a non-dairy soft serve like she had in Disney World while on vacation. So Daisy Delight added another first for the Midwest when Dole Whip soft serve was added to the dessert lineup. A favorite among customers unable to consume dairy products or those that have an interest in a Low Fat Ice Cream. Dole Whip has become a staple of the business and part of the landmark status Daisy Delight enjoys.
In May of 2003, the Business, Building, Daisy Delight Name, Daisy Delight Logo Registration, and all Franchising Rights was sold by the Jim Schulte estate to Jerry Bartel, the present owner.
Just as the restaurant remains the same, to this day you can still meet friendly smiles behind the counter like those of General Manager and Partner Jana Livingston Bartel. Since 1993, she has made sure the service and food remain the best as Daisy Delight continues it’s status of a Midwest Landmark and the oldest restaurant in Jefferson City. Growing in business and running continuously for over 65 years.