May 29, 2009

Old Dutch Custard sets grand re-opening

Sarah Shelby serves up a cone of custard

Old Dutch Custard is having another grand opening this weekend.

Old Dutch first opened in 1985, and after new owners took over two years ago there was another opening. But the custard shop at 3505 Spring St. that advertises itself as "custard for the gourmet taste" has been closed for more than a year. Now it has new owners with long experience in the restaurant business.

"It's a family affair," says Hassan Musaitif, 26, who will run the restaurant that was bought out of foreclosure by his father, Nimer Musaitif, owner of Chubbies Pizzeria on High Street. Hassan has 11 years of experience, doing everything at Chubbies, but this is the first business he's run on his own.

Hassan graduated from UW-Whitewater with an MBA and concedes "it's tough to find a job these days... but I like having my own business." Technically, he's been open for two and one-half months -- a soft-opening, it's called -- giving him time to paint the building, repave the parking lot, put down new tile inside and a new kitchen, landscape the patio and hire and train his seven employees.

He's also added some new touches: free WiFi is one; a menu of salads and Panini sandwiches -- the Racine, the Roma and Cheesy Delight are just three, each for $5.95 -- is another.

But, of course, the main attraction is Old Dutch's famous custard, once voted Southeastern Wisconsin's best. What about that?

"The recipes came with the purchase," Hassan assures, and he's been making the old favorites since he's been open; all custard is made on site. Old Dutch promises to have at least 24 flavors for sale at all times, although not always the same ones. He also plans to "tweak" some of the recipes; next week, for example, he will offer customers a "taste test" of custards made with four different vanillas to see which they prefer. "From this vanilla to that vanilla, there's a big difference," Hassan says.

A single-scoop sugar cone is $1.95, double is $2.95 and triple scoop is $3.95. Add 50 cents for a waffle cone.

The grand opening Saturday at 11 a.m. will be special for another reason: Mayor John Dickert will cut the official ribbon. Unless I'm mistaken, this is the first ribbon-cutting for our new mayor -- hopefully the first of many.

Postscript: Thanks to Hassan's generosity, I can personally attest to the quality of the new Old Dutch's mint chocolate chip. Hey, it's a tough job and somebody has to do it!


  1. I wonder what ever happened to that old man that use to own it, he lived on Lathrop around Haven.
    Nice guy, probably retired to Florida.
    I also wonder if the old R. J. Buss is still alive.

    I thought he sold it to a longtime worker, this was close to 10 years ago.

    Good luck, Custard Rocks.

  2. "Thanks to the owner's generosity..." Doesn't that edge toward a conflict of interest, Pete? :) But it's for chocolate -- I guess I could be 'trapped' into conflicting my interest, too.

  3. Wonder if Dickert brought his kids?

  4. Unfortunately, the original owner died a few years ago.

  5. Anon 4:03 p.m. Wonder no more: I ran into John at the Red Cross fundraiser Saturday night and asked him. He said he offered to take the kids, but relatives were visiting, and they preferred to stay home.

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  7. No, the original owner (Dykstra) did NOT die a few years ago. I used to work for him for over eight years when Old Dutch Custard was in its heyday, and I just talked with him on the phone not more than a few months ago. He is alive and golfing!

  8. Were Jim and Joyce Smith there?

  9. Yeah, they tailed Dickert home.

  10. R.J. and Cheyenne Buss are still with us. Just a few doors away.

  11. Old Dutch used to such an amazing custard place under its original ownership. When I was a kid I would walk there from my home multiple times per week. All the employees knew me and my brother. I wish it could get back to its roots and hope it becomes a staple of Racine once again.