Frosty Treat Shop

2300 East 10th Street
For just north of 20 years Frosty Treat served the east side of town, beckoning hungry customers with a dancing neon hot dog.
The Frosty Treat was a fixture on the east side of Sioux Falls for over 20 years, serving delicious hot dogs, hamburgers, and various frosty treats. Many remember the inexplicably joyful hot dog on the Frosty Treat sign dancing above the neon flames that were roasting it.
The Frosty Treat sprang forth from the remains of a franchise called Dari-Delite, which had its origins in Moline, Illinois. They began advertising for franchisees in the Argus Leader in January, 1950. By July of that year, Dari-Delite opened at the northwest corner of 13th and Phillips. It was owned by W.G. Warner and Dale C. Hodge. In November, 1951, Dari-Delite was moved to 2300 East 10th Street.

In July, 1956, Vern and Erna Mutton became the owners of the Dari-Delite. As the new owners of this franchise location, they were under the impression they’d be able to open more locations. Ross Systems, the franchisors, made sure they knew this was not so. The franchisor also demanded a royalty on the ice cream freezer the Muttons  were forced to use. This royalty exceeded the value of the device every year. The Muttons were sued, and sued back. In June, 1957 Frosty Treat was born. The Muttons’ own invention, without the yoke of the franchise on their necks.

Vern and Erna ran the Frosty Treat as a seasonal business, operating only in the summer months and, during the winter months, renting the lot to a business that sold Christmas trees. Vern died suddenly on September 1, 1958, leaving Erna and the staff to run the stand. Erna, a nurse at the VA, furthered her education, getting her master’s degree. She sold the Frosty Treat to Don Huber in 1960, and soon thereafter began working for the State Department overseas.
Don was born in Yankton in 1926. His family moved to Sioux Falls when he was a child, and he attended Cathedral School until 1943 when he dropped out to join the Merchant Marines. He kept that job for five years and returned to Sioux Falls to partner with his brother in-law Andy Jelsma to run a Red Owl store on 26th and Cliff. The two partners found it difficult to get along and subsequently went their separate ways. From the Red Owl, Don went on to manage the Walgreens downtown. Walgreens corporate pushed for him to go to pharmacy school, but Don resisted; he didn’t want to be a “pill pusher”. He’d put aside enough money to purchase a gas station at 2200 E. 10th. Don’s Standard opened in 1956, west of the Piggly Wiggly.
In 1957, Don met Rita Iversen, the woman who would become his wife. She worked at Rickey’s Drive-Inn, home of Rickey’s Quicky Chicky. It was just east of Piggly Wiggly. The two were married in 1959 and later that year would purchase Frosty Treat from the Muttons for $22,000, with loan from Rita’s father. The land upon which the Frosty Treat stood was owned by Norman Foster, as it was when the Muttons ran it. Don would purchase the land around 1976.  Don and Rita ran the Frosty Treat in the summer months, Rita managing while Don continued at the service station. They sold barbecue sandwiches and footlong chili dogs to begin with, but a few years later, purchased a grill and deep fat fryers, so they could add burgers, fries, and fish sandwiches to the menu. The Frosty Treat offered over 100 malt and shake flavors, as well as cones, sundaes, slushes, and banana splits.
Millie Gruber works the grill.
In 1961, Don sold the gas station and took over management of the Frosty Treat so that Rita could stay at home. More Hubers were on the way. The Frosty Treat became a year-round concern that year, and Don added a drive-thru window for the convenience of its patrons. It was the first of its kind in Sioux Falls. Another first was the addition of meal combos to the menu.

The Frosty Treat continued on through adversity, but by the late 70s, the national chains were starting to take a bite out of Don’s business. In 1979, he removed the grill and replaced the burgers on the menu with tacos. The Frosty Treat was rechristened Taco Rita. The change did not save the business, and Don sold the business in 1984 to Sherri and John Pattison.
Images and much info courtesy David Huber and his blog.