This used to be the Dairy Queen. Long-term readers (hello by the way!) may remember that I drew this before, back in its DQ glory days. As you can see, it looks a little different now. A couple of years ago, the DQ finally closed its doors and sold its last chicken strip, but rather than lose the building entirely for something new, glassy and nondescript, an architecture firm called Indigo took over the space and did something creative with that very distinctive wavy roof, creating a modern but unintrusive structure. They have described it as a “Bioregional Building”, which sounds like they’re taking a word, remodeling the word, keeping the word’s roof and making a new, modern eco-friendly word (in other words yes, I don’t know what “bioregional” means). Indigo (Hammond and Playle) explain their process for rebuilding the old Dairy Queen into a modern energy-efficient and “climate-adapted”office space on their website. As well as this award-winning structure they have also created an adjoining space which, “clad in corrugated metal alludes to the agricultural vernacular of California’s Central Valley”. It all does look very nice. Not however as strikingly red as its predecessor, but surely a lot healthier. Here are my previous sketches of the Dairy Queen, the first from 2011, the second from 2013. I actually sold both of these drawings, the first was part of my 2011 solo exhibition at the Pence Gallery. I learned that the Dairy Queen in Davis was very popular, despite it never appearing to be that busy. There was something all-American about Dairy Queen (I mean ‘is’, because it still exists elsewhere). When I was asked years ago to sketch something ‘American’ for an old university friend in the UK who had an American husband who missed the USA, I chose to sketch the Dairy Queen. The one in Davis was beloved as a place to take the grandkids for a treat (people who have grandkids have told me), and my wife used to stop off here for an ice-cream on the way to picking up my son from pre-school. Alas, Davis Dairy Queen is no more, but we still have its roof.
One of the buildings in Davis I have sketched a few times is the Dairy Queen, on 5th St. The DQ was very popular here, with its iconic sign, a place to take grandkids for an ice cream, and I even sold a couple of my sketches of it. Finally of course, it closed down, and the site has been bought by a developer. However, the developer has not torn the whole thing down, as you might expect, but has kept the shell of the building, specifically its iconic curving roof. I can’t wait to see how this ends up. When I heard about this recently I took myself back up to this spot on 5th St, which I never pass as much any more now I live in north Davis, and sketched from across the road. Goodbye Dairy Queen. I’ll probably sketch this site again before they’re done redeveloping.
By the way, here’s how it used to look…
How long have I wanted to draw this building? How many times have I got off the bus outside over the years and said, must sketch that one day? I have drawn the sign, and a fire hydrant nearby, but never the building. I’ve even ended a sketchcrawl there. Last Saturday however I finally went and drew the place, Dairy Queen on 5th Street in Davis. It’s classic Americana. The sign isn’t a modern ‘DQ’, the building isn’t all late-2000s strip-mall fakery, and the food is just what you expect (at least I expect it is, I only had a slurpee type drink, and I don’t eat hamburgers). I learned a funny thing, apparently in other states the Dairy Queens close up in wintertime, because nobody eats ice-cream when it’s snowy, while in California they stay open, because we’re the sunshine state. No, hang on that’s Florida, we’re the golden state. I don’t know if it’s true or not. Either way, these are the sorts of places I like to draw, thought obviously it takes me years to actually do so.
I’ve never been to Dairy Queen, never stopped in for a KitKat Blizzard, but this one is on 5th street in Davis and I’ve passed by it a lot. As you can see, it’s by the railroad tracks. And a fire hydrant. I still love their fire hydrants here. did you know it’s illegal to park in front of one? This could be anywhere in America really. But it’s in Davis. It’s a funny republic, this country. They have a Burger King, a Dairy Queen, but no Taco President or Soda First Lady.