A somewhat condensed chronological evolution of Dunky’s
Born in 1951, Gary Allen Duncan grew up in Ray & Clay Counties, Missouri, which is about 40 miles NE of Kansas City. A boy in the 50’s and coming of age in the 60’s – from that era – there are inherent values embedded deeply within him…..being game and sports minded, boys like to nickname all their buds. Gary’s boyhood nickname was most comely either Dunk or “Dunky”. Thus: Dunky has sort’a stuck.
A lot of water under the bridge & 40 years later Gary retired. Having painted and being an artist for about 28 years he spent a couple of years in front of the easel in his home studio .
But, during that time he and his wife Jackie also began making homemade Ice Cream….it was somewhat of an interesting passion. They began going to local festivals and events selling their homemade ice cream…customers loved it and the flavor list grew rather quickly from the basic Vanilla, Chocolate & Strawberry to upwards of 50 different flavors & recipes.
Ice cream is a happy food. People seem to be happy around ice cream. It became a nice past time to contribute to society with a product that people wanted and the product itself made them happy.
In the summer of 2017 Dunky started looking for a place to manufacture ”homemade” Ice Cream in the sleepy little berg of Licking Missouri, where they live. A business plan was established and plans were made. At age 65 and retired — a new chapter was beginning. Rule one was, out of pocket only, no borrowed money, no banks !!
In late August of 2017 a location was procured and Dunky began remodeling and turning a past restaurant building into an ice cream parlor. Opening day was on October 11th – which by all practical thinking was not the best of times to open an ice cream shop. In fact, he thought that by January he would be writing a book titled “How to survive selling ice cream in Winter”. But, maybe by local support or whim, the ice cream stayed relatively busy. Dunky was pleasantly amazed at how many people loved ice cream in winter !
November 2017…..what goes with ice cream better than pie & cobbler ? After several inquiries about who was the best pie maker in Licking – all roads led to Brenda Gorman who agreed to come in a couple days a week and make pies…..Excellent pies and they sold as fast as Brenda could make them.
December 2017 – several customers urged us to offer soups and sandwiches for lunch. So 1 soup grew into 2 or 3 and a few sandwiches grew to be more which proved to be a worthwhile expansion.
January 2017 – many requests from our customers asking us to start providing food. Dunky did not really want to grow into a café & definitely not a restaurant. He still only envisioned a small mom & pop ice cream shop. After much thought….he left it in the hands of the man above…..Lord, if you want this to happen, and then send me a cook.
One day in walks Luigi….we sipped on a couple espressos’s and shot the breeze. Luigi say: you mak’a de Ice Cream’a?….Dunky say ya, I make the ice cream — What you make ? Luigi say: I mak’a the Italian Food.
Each week Luigi would stop in and they visited….Dunky with his lack of hearing and Luigi with his broken Italian English. On the 4th visit Luigi inquired about a job as a cook. Dunky say: You make the meatball sandwich? (He gave dunky a look of disgust – as in a meatball sandwich was a low life form of Italian cuisine) Dunky said, you mak’a me the best meatball sandwich I ever put in mouth & we talk’a the business…So he did, and the rest is history.
Why Licking? Gary’s wife Jackie was born & raised here and they like the area. They have lived here since about 2001 and call it home.
So, in summary Dunky’s Ice Cream & Diner has rather quickly grown from a humble little homemade ice cream shop to a full scale restaurant offering a good range of American & Italian foods and of course homemade ice cream.
……..At Dunky’s, we do not just sell Ice Cream – we actually make it ourselves right here in Licking Missouri. And we truly do it the old fashioned way – slow churned, in a wooden barrel, with rock salt and ice. One 5 gallon batch at a time. Our equipment has been handmade and crafted by the Amish in Ohio.
Our process results in a very low overrun (the amount of air added to the mix during the churning process.) Our overrun percentage is usually below 25% which is another reason our product tastes so much richer and flavorful….more goodness & less air resulting in that unique old-fashioned homemade taste & texture that is hard to find anymore.
We use our own recipes that start out with a base utilizing a (made in Missouri) 36% Butterfat heavy cream that ensures our unique richness. We do not use additives to try to disillusion the mouth feel of real ice cream…it’s the real deal !!
Relying on the old-fashioned ice cream making process makes a
rich, creamy ice cream with an authentic real homemade flavor and texture that cannot be beat.
Flavors? We experiment and come up with new ones all the time. Each one meeting the taste tests of Dunky himself.