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Our Story

"I never planned to own Rita’s Dairy Bar or any ice cream shop for that matter, but it has been a fun adventure in an industry that is ever-changing. I opened with soft serve ice cream, sandwiches and snack type items in the spring of 1998. Each year we enjoyed changing and updating the menu to introduce something new each year.

In 2009 I started to make homemade ice cream, an interesting and fun opportunity. We are able to use fresh fruits and ingredients from our local area to make ice cream and sorbets. The flavors we offer are only available at our shop, however; we will pack a pint, quart or a half gallon for you to take home to enjoy later. I interpret local flavors to local name sakes, like Frosty Maumee, Muddy Maumee or Berries of the Black Swamp. A flavor idea from the customer inspires my imagination and creates more fun memories for the guest. The unusual flavors are opportunities not only to name but to introduce a new flavor profile for our guests to try, i.e. Sweet Corn, Mango Ginger Heat and Maple Bacon.

I have enjoyed taking classes at Penn. State University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison to learn more about ice cream and flavors. I also enjoy friendships with a few well known ice cream makers who have coached and tutored me along the way.

A great destination stop if you are following the scenic river as you wind your way to Grand Rapids on State Route 65 or old Route 24. Grand Rapids offers Mary Jane Thurston, Providence Metro and Canal Metro parks as well as many parks in the village, including the towpath walk along the river to the dam area. We enjoy the scenic view of the Maumee and some of the most fabulous sunsets of a summer evening.

Burgers and sandwiches are made to order. Burgers are fresh ground chuck from Belleville’s Market a local butcher in Bowling Green.

I grew up on a dairy farm in West Branch, Michigan. I studied Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management at Northwood University. I managed a few chain restaurants and worked as a Food Production Manager at Bowling Green State University before stepping into this entrepreneurship project with my husband George, February 1998. George also grew up on a dairy farm in Bowling Green, Ohio so to be in this business seems quite natural."

- Rita