County Connections: Menu hasn't changed much at Flemingsburg Dairy Queen operated by state representative's family since 1953

05/24/2017 08:30 PM

FLEMINGSBURG — State Rep. John Sims says he knows the first and last names of about 80 percent of the customers who dine at his Dairy Queen restaurant in Flemingsburg, and it’s pretty easy for him to spot first-timers who peruse the menu for the first time.

“You can usually tell the out-of-towners because they’re like, ‘Wow,’” Sims said. “You know, it takes them a few minutes to order.”

Unlike most Dairy Queen restaurants, the Flemingsburg location’s menu hasn’t changed much since Sims’ grandparents opened the first walk-up spot on July 4, 1953.

It’s known as a non-systems food store in the Dairy Queen chain and serves up items like fried chicken, ham sandwiches, fried fish, potato wedges and locally known hamburgers like the O’Boy.

The original contract that allows them to keep their unique menu is in a safety deposit box, and Sims said he doesn’t expect to change up the restaurant’s offerings any time soon.

He and his two sisters — one older and one younger — worked regularly at the restaurant during high school, and Sims says the experience instilled a strong work ethic at an early age.

“Gosh, I was probably 10 or 12 at the old store,” Sims, D-Flemingsburg said when asked about his first experience working at the family’s Dairy Queen.

“And then when I turned 15 I started working here probably three, four days in a week and then when I turned 16 working more. I had to buy my own car and stuff like that. Mom and dad didn’t buy us our cars or anything. We had to do our own stuff, earn our own money.”

It will probably be the same for Sims’ three young daughters, who have already carved out roles at the restaurant.

Sims’ father, John Sims Sr., has left the Dairy Queen to his son, but he hasn’t quit the restaurant business entirely. Sims says his namesake comes in to work often, helping resolve issues behind the counter as his “mechanic.”

Sims, who said his recognition from the restaurant and its work in the community helped boost his profile in his successful campaign for the 70th House District he now represents, hopes one of his daughters will continue the family tradition and keep serving Blizzards, burgers and fried chicken to scores of hungry customers for the foreseeable future.

“Hopefully the girls will be interested in doing this and we can keep it going,” he said.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers Kentucky politics and all the goings-on at the State Capitol. Kevin was born and raised in Frankfort so he grew up around politics and has always had the drive to follow the political process and hold lawmakers accountable. Before joining Spectrum News Kevin covered government and politics for The State Journal in Frankfort. You can watch Kevin’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135.

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