As close as records show, the Milkyway first opened in 1954. This old fashion drive-inn was opened up at 2410 W. 12th St. in Sioux Falls, SD. The original restaurant is still in operation today. It all began when a man by the name of Ray Starks decided to open a ice cream business near his restaurant at 2400 W. 12th st. This drive inn was so far out of town it only could appeal to people going out to or from a few dance clubs in the area. But the drive inn was a hit. Before long, Ray built a walk-up ice cream business next to his establishment, and named it MIlkyway. In the mid 60's Ray sold his drive inn to Bertha and Guy (B & G) Higgins. They changed the name to B & G Milkyway, and the rest as they say, was history. After the passing of Guy in 1970, the business was sold to Jerry and Pat Bruget. The Bruget's operated the Milkyway until 1993, when they sold it to Bruce and Pam Bettmeng.
In the decades of operation, very little has changed. To look at the buildings, you will see what your grandparents saw when they went to get ice cream many, many years ago. They saw simple red and white buildings displaying signs of delicious treats. The original menu offered hotdogs and an assortment of ice cream, such as cones, malts, and sundaes. Over the years, the menu has changed only slightly, adding popular items such as slushwhips, BBQ beef, and sloppy joes which are made from our original recipe. Our hotdogs are Nathans, only the best! Our waffle cones, baked beans and brownies are also home made. What has remained constant is the delicious soft serve ice cream and mouth watering footlongs. Since the doors opened, these two items have been a mainstay at the B & G Milkyway. Our most popular item is our home made strawberry ice cream. This treat is sold by the gallons and has cooled off our customers many hot summer days.
Originally, the Milkyway had two shifts, 11am-5pm and 5pm-11pm. There was no telephone in the building so if it got too busy, an employee would run across the street to the pay phone and call the owner. He would then send in another employee or come to the rescue himself. Ice cream came in five gallon tin cans. After the ice cream reached the Milkyway, the employees would pour it into one gallon containers. Employees would make strawberry ice cream by filling an old five gallon stainless steel milk container with vanilla ice cream and our secret ingredients then stir it with a long metal stirring rod. We still make it the same way!
There were no computerized cash registers. Employees were required to add each purchase in their heads or use paper and pencil. They were also required to count back the change and say “THANK YOU” to each customer. With modern cash registers, employees no longer need to use paper and pencil to add each purchase. However it is still the policy of the B & G Milkyway to count back change and say “THANK YOU” to each customer.
A second location was started in 1976 at 5508 W. 41st St. Sioux Falls, SD. This location also is still in operation today. Our policy in being “hands on” owners prevented any further expansion until in the year 2001 when our first franchise opened at 730 S. Sycamore Ave. Sioux Falls. This expansion allowed a separate owner to operate their own B & G MIlkyway while insuring our customers the quality service provided by a ”hands on” owner.
Our locations are locally owned by people active in the community. We help support many organizations, are Christian based, and are proud to serve each customer with a smile.