LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Signs of spring are popping up all over the place and one of the biggest for the people who live around the Schnitzelburg neighborhood is the opening of the Dairy Del on Shelby Street.
Earlier this year, the Dairy Del was up for sale, putting more than 60 years of history measured in ice cream treats and smiles in jeopardy, but the new owners said that's not a concern anymore because the restaurant's history is theirs as well.
"It's a icon in the neighborhood," said Wayne Madison. "It's been here forever."
Without telling his age, Wayne Madison can tell you a little bit of the history of the Dairy Del, which has stood in Schnitzelburg since 1951.
"It just meant so much you know my wife worked here, her sisters worked here, her mother worked here she had an aunt that worked here," he said.
But when he retired from the food service industry, he couldn't know his wife's past would be a part of his future. Then fate stepped in.
"We went out to dinner the night before with two friends of ours and we were talking about how an ice cream business would be kind of cool and the next night it was up for sale," Wayne Madsion said.
The next day the Madisons took a look, but they weren't the only ones who expressed interest. He said he heard not everyone wanted to keep the Dairy Del dishing ice cream.
Longtime residents like Charles Locke Jr. couldn't imagine the neighborhood without Dairy Del.
"I think it would have been a hurtful thing," he said about the possibility of the restaurant closing. "It's been my favorite place. We'd roll in the back of my daddy's truck and he would bring us good ice cream so I love this place."
Judging from the business the Dairy Del is drawing, he's not alone. Wayne Madison said he sees it as part of a bright future for his wife's old neighborhood.
"The people you get to meet and see and especially the people that come back that haven't been in the neighborhood," Wayne Madison said. "I've met so many families that just walk their kids at night and their dogs and it's just really cool to see an old neighborhood coming back."
Brenda and Wayne Madison opened for business on St. Patrick's Day, the very day they closed on their purchase of the Dairy Del.
So far, they haven't regretted it. Wayne Madison said sometimes, the line for ice cream and fun food stretches down the block.
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