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By Kim Hurley

Register Freelance Writer


Vanilla, Zanzibar, Turtle, Coconut Almond Bliss, Cotton Candy Twist, Strawberry, and Cookie Dough!  These are the flavors of Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream you can find six months out of the year at The Burger Barn at the intersection of Bridge Street and Highway 13 in Elkader!  However, they have a varied selection of other flavors from week to week.

According to Kari Seeland, owner of the Burger Barn, Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream is rated “super premium” as it is 14 percent butterfat with an overrun of less than 35 percent. She, herself, is amazed that, last year, they sold over 1,700 gallons of ice cream! All of this ice cream is made into cones, dishes, shakes, malts, candy shakes, sundaes, premium sundaes (such as Kari’s favorite, the Salted Nut Roll sundae), banana splits, and Root Beer floats.  Pints, quarts, and tubs are available for those avid fans of a certain flavor. Kari tries to keep an NSA (No Sugar Added) flavor as well as a yogurt on hand.  

With all these ice cream treats filling up the first page of the Burger Barn menu, sides, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and drinks fill the other two pages.  While The Barn—a one-third pound hamburger on garlic Texas toast with grilled onions—is the most popular sandwich, the homemade onion rings are the most popular side. “We go through 30 to 40 pounds of colossal onions for just onion rings each week,” Kari said. The Burger Barn offers not only daily ice cream and meal specials, but also a “specials” card.  If you buy 11 specials, you get the 12th one on the house (on the barn).  

Kari and her husband, Chuck, opened the Burger Barn in May 2004. The concept came from her younger years when her parents would take her and her two brothers out for their birthdays every year. “We got to pick where we ate,” Kari recalled, “I always picked the A&W because I thought it was cool that you ate in the car!”  

Kari has a special fondness for, and plenty of experience in, seasonal businesses. Her parents, Larry and Connie Sylvester, owned and operated CJ Lanes in Elkader. They were closed June, July, and half of August. “I watched my parents work very hard and they instilled a good work ethic in me,” Kari said.  She also managed the clubhouse at The Elkader Golf & Country Club for eight years. That, too, was a seasonal business, as they were closed November 1 through April 1. 

“I guess I fell in love with the seasonal type of work,” Kari continued, “You work hard seven days a week. Although we are open only six days, I am running errands and doing things for the business on that one day that we are closed.”   

It truly is a family business. Besides Kari, Chuck, and their sons, Andy and Tommy, there are seven employees at The Burger Barn. “We stay in contact with our past employees and when they decide to move on, it’s like my own child is leaving me,” Kari said, “Nobody works for me; they work with me.”

The Burger Barn can fill your appetite from 11 a.m. until closing, Tuesday through Sunday, mid-April through mid-October.  After Labor Day, it’s closed Monday and Tuesday. So, to get your ice cream fix, come to The Burger Barn where everything is “udderly” delicious!





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