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Daddy Dee’s Ice Cream chugs its way to success
July 19, 2017

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In the 46 years Daddy Dee's Ice Cream has been in business, it has had a number of owners.

But in the two years Jeff Simms has owned the business, it has enjoyed something of a renaissance, one that culminated in being named a "Best of" North Fort Myers in the ice cream category last month.

"It shows what we did to win the customers back in North Fort Myers. We've cleaned the place up and it's been rejuvenated," Simms said. "We've done things with the high school for advertising. People are coming in and saying 'Wow.'"

Stepping inside, it's like a step back in time with the train motif. It's the look that has brought generations of families back.

But it's always the ice cream that counts, and the 52 flavors usually get a rave review, especially the Superman ice cream, which is a big hit with the kids.

Daddy Dee's opened in 1971 at 13161 N. Cleveland Ave., where it remains today.

The original owner only had it for a few years before selling it to Ed Fisher, who became the man best known at the place for originating the railroad theme and serving ice cream in his train hat and overalls for the next 23 years.

After a few more ownership changes, Simms took it over in 2015, with the shop in need of some refurbishment.

He considered replacing the train theme with an old drug-store style fountain counter, but he soon learned that wouldn't cut it.

"People would say 'Daddy Dee's. Why does that sound familiar?' I would say 'The trains,' and they would say 'Oh, yeah," The train, everyone loved the train," Simms said. "The train had to stay."

The problem was for the first few months, the train wasn't running. Simms ripped out all the old track and replaced it with a state-of-the-art train set. As for everything else, he had to pretty much keep things as is.

"When I took over everyone would say 'Jeff, the train's not running.' Now, that's the only thing I don't hear," Simms said. "The kids love the train."

As for the ice cream, Simms can accommodate those who are lactose intolerant with frozen yogurt or sherbet. They can be served in a variety of cones, in a cup, or in a glass with a metal spoon like in the good old days. They even have banana split dishes that are frozen so people can enjoy them without fear of it all melting.

"It's like being at home. Banana Splits take a while to make. The things we do are different from what the other do. It's the old parlor theme," Simms said.

They also have espresso, which brings in a good evening crowd, and other coffee drinks, and during season, the doo-wop band Brylcream comes and does a show every month, which packs the parking lot.

Daddy Dee's is open Monday through Friday noon to 10 p.m. and weekends from 1 to 10 p.m.

For more information, call 997-4021 or visit their Facebook page.

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