Route 66 News

Whirl-A-Whip reopens with new owners

The historic Whirl-A-Whip restaurant near an old alignment of Route 66 in Girard, Ill., reopened under new ownership after a two-year hiatus, reported the Springfield State Journal-Register.

Brent and Anita Barnes recently reopened the walk-up stand. It first opened in 1957. It’s the special ice-cream maker that gives the restaurant its name:

It still uses the 1950s-era Whirl-A-Whip ice cream machine, which whips each cup of ice cream individually. It’s not scooped out of a tub.

“We could make any flavor of ice cream, as long as we could get it and you could think it up,” said Anita. Flavors include white chocolate chip, peanut butter-banana, coffee nut, chocolate malt, cinnamon twist, apricot, black walnut, cotton candy, honey and maple walnut.

The Whirl-A-Whip machine is essentially a precursor to Dairy Queen’s Blizzard machines, although I’m sure Ted Drewes would argue he’d been doing the same thing decades before that.

Here’s a demonstration and history of the Whirl-A-Whip machine from an owner in North Dakota:

The Girard restaurant sits near a 1926-3o alignment of Route 66 south of Springfield.

Disclosure: About 10 years ago, we decided to seek restaurants and motels on that alignment for the National Historic Route 66 Federation’s “Route 66 Dining and Lodging Guide.” The Whirl-A-Whip was once of our discoveries.

(Image of the Whirl-A-Whip in Girard in 2009 by Randy von Liski, via Flickr)


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