Little ice cream and sandwich shops are some of my favorite places to eat because I love trying their specials and enjoying their individual charms.
The Double R Dairy Bar is especially charming, with its hand-painted signs, bright aqua accents and legacy of one-family ownership since it opened in 1964. A sign for the now-defunct Ragona Coal Company in the window reminds visitors of a previous era of Appanoose County history. Owners Andy and Wendy Ragona will celebrate the Double R’s 50th year soon and can also celebrate the fact that three generations of their family are involved with the business today.
I tried the homemade Italian sausage sandwich, one of the house specialties. If you order it, make sure you have a little extra time (or call your order in ahead) because the cooking time is 10 minutes. With mozzarella cheese, it is $2.72; without cheese it is $2.37. The Italian sausage was a spicy and satisfying alternative to a cheeseburger. Remember to take cash with you to the Double R, because neither debit nor credit cards are accepted — though the rock-bottom prices more than make up for any inconvenience.
Because it is a dairy bar, I couldn’t help but try something sweet, too. I went with a raspberry slushie whip for $2.80. If you are like me and sometimes waver between ice cream or slush when it comes to frozen desserts, this concoction is great because it combines the two. The raspberry flavor was incredibly robust and tart, not diminished by the ice cream at all. Some of the other great-sounding flavors for slushie whips are lemon lime, black cherry and sour green apple.
That is really one of the best things about ice cream shops: all the flavor combinations one could try given enough time. Shops also usually have their own distinct recipes for treats combining ice cream with candy or fruit chunks, which are termed Arctic Swirls at the Double R. You could go with something simple, like a cookie dough Arctic Swirl, or something more complicated, like the s’mores Arctic Swirl, which contains marshmallow, chocolate dip and graham cracker.Double R Dairy Bar
715 E. Maple St., Centerville
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to close (about 9 p.m.), seven days a week during the season