Wednesday, February 24, 2010

M&M Dairy Bell's Owner Keeps Up Timeless Traditions

By Jessa Moser

Sandy Bellville is a very busy woman. She spends time with her four grandchildren, takes trips to Myrtle Beach every year, attends church regularly and learns how to play piano. While this seems like enough things for any one person to do, it is not enough for Sandy. On top of all this, she is the owner of the M&M Dairy Bell, a staple restaurant in Chesapeake, Ohio, since 1951.

Ruth Brown originally opened the Dairy Bell, and her original spicy hot dog recipe that is served to this day. Sandy is now the proud owner of something that has almost become a family business. She acquired the business from her daughter, and her husband often works there a few days a week. It is Sandy and her staff who work to keep the place timeless.

Sandy has been working in diners like the Dairy Bell for more than 30 years. Before acquiring the Dairy Bell, Sandy owned the Dairy Boy in Crown City, just north of Chesapeake, from 1978 to 1988. It had a similar menu to the M&M Dairy Bell, but she claims the, “hotdog sauce at the Dairy Boy wasn’t as spicy as the sauce at the M&M Dairy Bell.”

While she mostly stays busy with the hiring and firing, discipline, paperwork and banking duties, Sandy also works to keep the business classic yet modern. The menu items range from old-fashioned cheeseburgers and corn dogs, to homemade chili fries, BLTs and even salads for the vegetarians. In keeping up with the spirit of the restaurant, a customer can order a half-slush, half-float treat called the Deep Purple (not to be confused with the band) in honor of the store’s colors. She has also added variety to the menu with the addition of pizza burgers, popcorn chicken, burger baskets and a kid’s menu, and also offers homemade pies on Thursdays and Fridays.

While she has made these changes, Sandy’s commitment to the old is also visible. She enters Ruth’s infamous hotdog sauce in the yearly West Virginian Hotdog Festival in Huntington, West Virginia. Though the Dairy Bell is technically not from the state, it won an award in 2008 for the Best Hotdog Sauce.

She’s also kept a long-standing tradition with the nearby elementary school. The students walk to the Dairy Bell for free ice cream at the end of every school year. It is not uncommon for customers to reminisce to Sandy about when they themselves participated in that yearly event.

Sandy offers the Chesapeake community some character and a little bit of color with the M&M Dairy Bell that will never go out of style.

No comments: