Photo by Corson Androski

Almost any Grinnellian will recommend Dari Barn as the first choice for ice cream and fried food in Grinnell. The unique eatery offers a wide selection of savory foods and ice-cold treats. With history rooted in Grinnell and unforgettable flavors, Dari Barn is an essential business in town.

For the 2012 season, there are a few new items on the menu, including the Dog House, the Monster Cookie Dough cyclone flavor and the Nutty Caramel Monkey Sundae; also coming soon is the breaded chicken sandwich. Like many restaurants, Dari Barn has a secret menu with items not listed on the actual menu, but foods that are available upon request. Shhhh… ask for the French Silk Sundae or the Dirt Sundae!

Dari Barn is really a one-of-a-kind business in Grinnell. The spelling of Dari Barn alone is distinct and was actually derived from a Dairy Barn at the state fair. This business also had the same idea, and sold similar items. Since Dari Barn could not have the same store, they changed the y to an i and Dari Barn was born. Additionally, Dari Barn’s owners previously operated Gennie Grinders, a restaurant with the same menu.

Dari Barn can seem out-of-place, located in between a gas station and the International Implement store. Before Dari Barn opened, the building was a Tastee Freez restaurant. Throughout the history of Dari Barn, there have been two different sets of owners, and ownership recently switched again this past June. It used to be that there were more businesses on this side of the town, including a John Deere implement store, a grocery store, and a funeral home. In fact, most of the town used to be located where Dari Barn is now.

Dari Barn is truly a big part of the Grinnell community. Customers are constantly coming in to eat their favorite sweet and savory items, but Dari Barn also participates in town functions by providing ice cream for school functions and making an effort to support the community.

Before I took my first visit to Dari Barn, I had heard a lot about the place and had some high expectations. Despite the small size of the building, the cute red roof and the antique look really made the business stand out on the street. Everything about the store was simple, with its red umbrella tables, ordering windows and individual menus. The service was great too. I enjoyed talking with the cashier, who helped me decide on which ice cream to get. From the very first spoonful, I loved the combination of smooth vanilla ice cream with the chilled pieces of Oreos.

“You see a lot of different people. [The workers] are all close. It’s just fun to work here,” said worker Katie Meldrem.

The atmosphere of Dari Barn is relaxing and fun, a great place to hang out with friends or the perfect location for a study break.

Dari Barn caters to the Grinnell community from March to October every year, so make sure to take that 10-minute walk down 6th Avenue to this local favorite before Fall Break!