When Ted Karres first started up his soft serve ice cream business in 1967, it was nothing more than a single 500-square-foot room that served cones from a single window. With one ice cream machine and a hot dog roller, Karres managed to turn Mr. Ks into a full-fledge diner. Now, over 40 years later, the restaurant off South Boulevard is still a family business run by Karres son-in-law, George Dizes. Dizes has since expanded the menu and put his own mark on the establishment. A die-hard Panthers fan, Dizes decorates Mr. Ks with original Panther paraphernalia that adds flair to the home-grown business. Although a lot has changed at Mr. Ks over the years, its philosophy of keeping an intimate, friendly atmosphere hasnt.
Creative Loafing: Whats your busiest time?
George Dizes: Definitely lunch time, but were open until nine every night of the work week. We close on Saturdays at four and we dont open on Sunday. But our lunch crowd comes from all over, from downtown, neighborhoods, factories. You see just as many suits in here as you do construction workers. It has an appeal to everybody. As far as value is concerned, were just about the least expensive place to eat on South Boulevard. You can get out of here fully fed for about five, six bucks. At our competitors youre looking from about eight to 12 dollars.
How are things different from when Mr Ks first started?
This building was erected in '71. After four years at the corner, Mr. K decided that he needed more space. This building was exactly as you see it since '71. You know, a few changes have been made. Ive been the biggest change-maker here since Im a die-hard Panthers fan. Im kind of making a Panthers theme here.
Whats it like having restaurant right next to a strip joint [Leather & Lace]?
To be perfectly honest, weve never had a problem with it. Once in a blue moon well have something happen. But its usually out of their control. They cant be responsible for everyone that walks in their door. But on the whole it hasnt been a problem.
Mr. K's Soft Serve Ice Cream & Drive is located at 2107 South Blvd. 704-375-4318