After a 25-year break, I finally made it back to the Dairy Dome in Stoneham, Mass., for some ice cream on a hot summer day. I picked up right where I left off: enjoying the very good ice cream, friendly service, a community gathering place type of feeling, and the rather offbeat look of the place.
As a young adult in the early 80s, the Dairy Dome did seem like a bit of a novelty, and it still does today. Where else could you eat ice cream under a huge dome in a building that was formerly a gas station? I often thought the best topping at the Dairy Dome was the roof!
I believe a former biology teacher at Stoneham High School opened this ice cream spot and, through the years, hired some of the more responsible students to work at this upbeat, fun spot.
After playing a few hours of tennis in my hometown of Arlington, this was a great spot to go cool off on a hot summer night when we had nothing else to do. We loved Brigham’s in our hometown, but taking a 20-minute ride in a crappy Ford Escort to a place that looked different from anywhere else had its own charm and appeal. Lots of funny stuff was said along the way and the camaraderie amongst friends made the overall experience that much more fun.
Whether homemade hard serve or a variety of soft serve, the ice cream has always been tasty here. On my recent visit, I noticed that the Dairy Dome is also serving pizza, calzone and sandwiches. I’m sure it is fine, but I’ll always equate the Dairy Dome with ice cream.
As a fully serious adult today with no sense of humor (just kidding), I embrace the Dairy Dome for its longstanding exemplary business standing in the Stoneham community, the continued ability to draw in crowds with its very good ice cream, and its presence as a one-of-a-kind looking ice cream shop. It might not have the panache or the self-perceived world-class gourmet ice cream that those high end places self-bloviate about while charging you a fortune, but the Dairy Dome has plenty of heart, spirit and people out to have a great time without the need to over analyze the experience. It’s like going back to the 60s at the Dome (albeit they opened in the early 80s) — lots of families, smiles, nice and easy conversations and satisfied taste buds. That’s enough for many of us, knowing that the simple joys of life — that are often of a low-cost nature — never fail to create the memories!
The Dairy Dome is located at 472 Main St. in Stoneham, MA. Tel. (781) 438-9425. Not too far from Boston, about 15-20 minutes!