Woman who co-created the Dairy Queen Dilly Bar dies at 90

She was also the founder of the famous Moorhead DQ.
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She was the founder of one of the most iconic Dairy Queens in America, and helped create arguably its favorite treat.

That's quite the legacy for Moorhead's Phyllis Litherland, who died this week at the age of 90 at her daughter's home in Chicago.

Her influence can still be seen today in Moorhead, where with her husband Bob she opened what we dubbed "The Dairy Queen that Dairy Queen doesn't want you to know about." in 1949.

The reason we called it that is because the DQ franchise continues to serve frozen treats that are either of its own creation, or were dropped by the national chain in other outlets – including a chocolate covered banana call the "Monkey Tail," "chipper sandwiches," and flavored sundae toppings including butterscotch, raspberry and cherry that had been discontinued by the chain.

This has been a cause of friction between the kiosk and executives at DQ HQ, and possibly why DQ still doesn't acknowledge the Moorhead outlet's claim that it invented the Dilly Bar.

The Litherlands are credited as being the co-creators of the chocolate-covered ice cream on a stick in 1954.

As the Moorhead DQ tells it:

"In 1954, the Moorhead  Dairy Queen was used as a site to train area Dairy Queen operators how to make the new treats. As they were working, one of the trainers made a blob of Dairy Queen on a piece of cardboard and put a stick in it and said, "ain't that a dilly?" Hence the Dilly Bar was born and introduced to the entire industry in 1955. To this day the Moorhead Dairy Queen still makes thousands of Dilly Bars by hand using the same process with a piece of cardboard."

A DQ spokesman has previously said that they appreciate the Moorhead store's popularity, but can't promote it "partially because it falls outside the dining experience DQ fans across the country are looking for."

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The Moorhead eatery's current owners, Troy and Diane DeLeon, who took over in 1995, told the Forum News Service that the store wouldn't have survived without Phyllis Litherland, noting how her husband Bob was called back to serve in Korean War before they could open for the 1950 season.

Phyllis managed to run the business that year while also taking care of their newborn daughter.

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