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New owners of Chatfield’s Dairy Queen plan to keep store open year-round

For the first time ever, Chatfield residents can expect the Dairy Queen in town to be open year-round as new owner Yoel Topel is ready to take on the challenge of serving cold cones in even colder weather.

Chatfield Dairy Queen
Yoel Topel is the new owner of the Chatfield Dairy Queen. Topel is pictured on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin
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CHATFIELD — Yoel Topel has only owned the Dairy Queen in Chatfield for six months, but he already has high hopes for the business as he and his wife, Michelle, are planning to keep the typically seasonal fast food joint open year-round this winter.

Prior to acquiring ownership of the Dairy Queen in Chatfield on March 15, 2022, Topel had owned a Cold Stone Creamery franchise location in Rochester but it closed down in 2020 due to the pandemic.

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In the time between Cold Stone and Dairy Queen, Topel had hopes of opening his own Venezuelan restaurant as he and his family had moved to Rochester from the South American country in 2017. But that plan took a detour after coming into ownership of the Chatfield Dairy Queen.

“It was difficult to find a place for the restaurant and in my search for a place I found out that this Dairy Queen was for sale," Topel said. "It’s a nice location and a nice town, so my wife and I went for it and here we are.”

Taking on the task of keeping the Dairy Queen open year-round is a challenge Topel is up for. Considering that there are no other towns on U.S. Highway 52 from Chatfield to Decorah, Iowa, with fast food restaurants, Topel wants to provide another option for people in town and around the area to eat at without having to make a drive to Rochester.

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“People are still learning that we are planning to be open year-round," he said. "It is a small town, but we still have people asking us when we are going to close for the season, and I tell them we’ll be open all winter.”

Chatfield Dairy Queen
Assistant manager Willeona Hines prepares hamburger patties at the Chatfield Dairy Queen on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Not only is Topel serving the traditional foods and treats found at Dairy Queen, but he has hopes that sometime next year he can begin sampling Venezuelan food at the Dairy Queen. Topel still hopes he will open his own Venezuelan restaurant in Rochester someday and sees the Dairy Queen as a stepping stone to get there.

Until then, Topel is focusing all efforts on the Dairy Queen’s success in its first attempt to be open year-round.


Dairy Queen Chatfield

311 Main St. N. Chatfield, MN 55923

507-867-3649

Hours 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily


Chatfield Dairy Queen
Cristina Bacca prepares a customer's order at the Chatfield Dairy Queen on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Theodore Tollefson is a business reporter for the Post Bulletin. He is originally from Burnsville, Minn., and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a bachelor's degree in journalism in December 2020. Readers can reach Theodore at 507-281-7420 or ttollefson@postbulletin.com.
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