Coneys and Swirls in Hillsdale and The Udder Side in Jonesville reopened for the season on March 1.
Julie and Julian Kast have owned Coneys and Swirls for 13 years, but it has been in business since the 1950s as a Dairy Queen. It became Coneys and Swirls in the ’80s. Their most popular item is the “Coney’s Dog,” a corn dog with chili, mustard, and onions. They have six flavors in addition to “Flavor Bursts,” vanilla ice cream swirled with another flavor.
Coneys and Swirls offers outdoor dining and takeout.
“Business actually really picked up in the summer,” owner Julie Kast said. “A lot of people came here because a lot of the other restaurants were closed.”
Longtime Hillsdale residents have fond memories of the restaurant’s many years of business.
“People talk all the time about how they would go visit somebody at the jail when it was downtown and their parents would give them a nickel to come down here and get ice cream,” Kast said. “A lot of the older people recall coming here getting ice cream as a kid, their parents sending them with a nickel.”
The Udder Side has been open for 32 years. For 14 years, they were located across the street from their current location as Jonesville Dairy Treat.
“Every other little town has an ice cream place with a name like that. We were moving to the other side of the street, and our venue was pretty much cow-themed. One day, I just jokingly said, we’re moving to the udder side,” owner Julia Bauer said.
They are open eight months a year, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 12 to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Sitting in the drive-thru, guests see a collection of signs along the walls and fence. Kast has been collecting signs for 15 years, finding some on her travels, while others were made in town.
They have 32 ice cream flavors, each age group having a different favorite. The ice cream is a mixture of Ashby’s and Handmade.
“If you’re an older person, you’re going to say, ‘butter pecan’ or ‘black cherry,’” Bauer said. “If you’re my age, you like all the flavors but my favorite is carrot cake,” Bauer said. “Kids love superman and one of our newest ones, unicorn. Probably our most popular overall right now is Michigan pothole. Chocolate peanut butter is very popular and since we’ve reopened lemon cheesecake has been huge.”