by Jenna Severson
With the weather cooling down, it is time to grab some ice cream before it gets too late in the season. A good way to support local businesses while scoring a tasting treat is to visit Michael’s Frozen Custard. This local business started in 1986 and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Founder and CEO Michael Dix is very grateful to have launched a business with so much success.
“Many businesses fail within the first five years,” Dix said, “so to be going strong at 25 is a true blessing, and I have a great group of employees to thank for this accomplishment.”
Dix started Michael’s Frozen Custard 25 years ago when he discovered that Madison did not have any local custard restaurant.
“I was here on a football weekend and asked where the local frozen custard place was, and was surprised when I heard there was none,” Dix said. “I was riding my bike down Monroe Street and saw an old gas station and thought it would be a terrific location. The following Monday, my commercial realtor called and told me about a new listing that had just come up for rent, and it was that very gas station! It was the Universe telling me that’s where I needed to be.”
Turning an old gas station into a quaint ice cream shop was a smart move. Dix was able to score a perfect location on Monroe Street while at the same time providing the shop with a retro, vintage atmosphere. The actual custard is a homemade secret developed by Dix’s mother.
“My mother used to make it for our family as kids. I have fond memories of that. The recipe has not changed since our first day back in 1986,” Dix said. “That’s one thing I would never tinker with.”
However, it is a recipe that doesn’t need tinkering. The custard is made fresh every day and always tastes great. Michael’s Frozen Custard has so many different flavors that their ‘flavor of the day’ never repeats itself in the same month. Every day a customer can come in and try the flavor of the day, or just get plain vanilla or chocolate custard. With so many flavors, it is hard for anyone to pick a favorite.
“My personal favorite seems to change from season to season, but I really love our Chocolate, Chocolate Chip. For our Adult customers, the favorite is Butter Pecan, and for Children it’s Oreo or Cookie Dough,” Dix said.
Even dogs can enjoy a treat at Michael’s Frozen Custard. Michael’s has developed a custard made specifically for canines. There are no carbohydrates and it is low in sugar. Dix even gives it to his own dogs, Hunter and Cody, who enjoy the tasty treat.
“We developed this four years ago with a vet to come up with a custard that is better for dogs’ digestion, and it’s been a big hit. I’m a huge dog person, so it’s fun to see our customers and their four-legged family members outside under the umbrellas at Michael’s both enjoying our custard,” Dix said.
Michael’s Frozen Custard isn’t just good custard for people and dogs, but it is also good for the community. This local business is always giving back to the public. It has participated in a number of charities, and they aren’t stopping anytime soon.
“I believe that small businesses like Michael’s is the fabric of any community, it’s a vital part of both the economic and social health of any city or town. Because of this, giving back to local charities is a win/win,” Dix said. “We support worthwhile organizations, and in turn, they support local businesses like Michael’s Frozen Custard. Our major contributions have been to American Family Children’s Hospital, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, and the Henry Vilas Zoo. We also donate over $50,000 annually in in-kind support to local churches, civic groups, schools, etc.”
Michael’s Frozen Custard is a great place to enjoy a summer treat before it is too late. Their menu goes beyond just frozen desserts. They are always developing new meals and treats for their customers to enjoy.
“We’ll continue to bring new items to market such as sweet potato fries and our new Orange Crush Floats (yummy!), and we’ll continue to have fun,” Dix said.
Everyone will find something they enjoy.
Michael’s Frozen Custard is located at 2531 Monroe Street in Madison, near stops for the 3, 7, 19 and 58 buses. For more information, call (608) 231-3500 or visit www.ilovemichaels.com.