ASHLAND Reena Ralston has found memories of tangerine twist and homemade banana ice cream from her days at working at Crisp’s Dairy Treat in Summit.
She started working there when she was 12 and she has worked there ever since, even if it hasn’t been steady.
Ralston is the daughter of Raymond Crisp, 83, who, with his son, Duane, has owned the business for 60 years. Raymond Crisp started the business with his father, Arthur, and brother, Bob.
Crisp’s father first saw a dairy bar when visiting Texas and decided the concept would be successful in Ashland, so he opened the eatery that specializes in footlong hot dogs, onion rings and ice cream.
He was right.
The restaurant’s popularity has become one of Ralston’s favorite things about Crisp’s.
“I went to the doctor today with dad and I mentioned our restaurant and she asked which one we owned, and I said, ‘Crisp’s’ and she said, ‘Oh, I go there all the time,’” Ralston said.
It wasn’t as glamorous as it sounds, Ralston said, noting her most dreaded job was chopping onions.
“It’s not just a little bit, it’s a humongous amount,” she said. “We’ve have 150 to 250 pounds of onions — peeling, slicing, pushing through, chopping, making onion rights. We’d spend two or three hours making onion rings. The whole place smelled like onions.”
However, the family business has touched generations of the Crisp family as well as generations of Ashland area residents.
“Almost every one of us, even grandchildren, have worked there,” Ralston said. “Two of my three kids have worked there and my sister’s kids and brother’s kids worked there.”
Ralston, a full-time teacher, still works there when she’s needed, and so far this year, she’s been needed quite a lot.
“We’ve been extremely busy, busier this year than ever,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s because some of the other restaurants have closed, but we’ve really been busy.”
Crisp’s will mark its 60th anniversary on Saturday, with special events.
Noon to 3 p.m. — 60-cent hot dogs.
3 to 6 p.m. — 60-cent hamburgers and cheeseburgers.
All day — Everybody gets one free small soft cone.
Ralston said free balloons and pens will be available and the first 10 customers who bring in this story from The Daily Independent will get a free Crisp’s T-shirt; they will have two kinds of Crisp’s T-shirts for sale at $20 each.
The Crisps also hope people who have worked for them will visit on Saturday and say hello.
Ralston said her father will likely attend the event on Saturday for at least part of the time. Her mother, Shirley, took care of the business of Crisp’s for many years; she died in December.
She said her father was happily surprised his family business has lasted all these years.
“Dad is just grateful for everyone who comes out and for the community support,” she said.
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