In the early 1960s, in a corner of the Capitol Theatre lobby, Pete Rubin offered fountain soda, fresh-cut french fries and vanilla soft-serve ice cream. In fact, the very first soft-serve ice cream machine in St. George was installed in that concession area.
Unfortunately, the theater business ended in the early 1970s and Rubin's Clothing and Footwear occupied the building, bringing an end to Pete's corner concession.
At that time, Pete's Dairy Bar occupied half of the former theater lobby and offered 8 flavours of hard-serve ice cream. Eventually, a larger freezer was added, bringing the flavour count to 16. As the popularity, and desire to offer more flavours and treats, grew, the shop expanded back into the full lobby space.
Pete worked there, by herself, for many years until the process of hiring additional staff came with the expanding customer base (and shop size).
In 1990, Nippers moved from their old location on L'Etete Road into a newly-built kitchen at Pete's Dairy Bar. The addition of traditional take-out offerings (fish & chips, for example) closed in 2005 and came back with the introduction of Pete's Kitchen in 2013, which offered a mix of old classics & new favourites.
Pete's Dairy Bar began as a family affair back in the 60s & 70s with Pete & Nate's children helping out, lifting large cans of soft-serve mix up and into the soft-serve machine. The family tradition continues today with grandchildren working through the ranks. Their training starts out wiping tables and eventually moving up to working behind the counter.
Pete's Dairy Bar continues to grow, and evolve, now offering nearly 50 flavours of ice cream and a large variety of other cold treats from milkshakes to slushies. It is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down or stopping.
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