Thursday, December 11, 2008

Beef and Blizzards in Deming

A friend of mine often insisted the World's best Dairy Queen was in Deming, New Mexico. Having never been to Deming, I didn't completely understand why. But, he insisted nonetheless, and was quite adamant about it. I remained neutral on the subject until I had a chance to stop there.

Deming was a small city (maybe it still is), on Interstate 10 between El Paso and Tucson. It's about 1/3 the way to Tucson, and about 2/3 the way to El Paso - depending on which direction you go. I was once on a four-day weekend and decided to drive to Tucson from El Paso to visit my friend. On my way, I had to stop to see what he was talking about.

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Coming from either direction, all the food places were on Pine Street, just south of the interstate. On the east side of town was the Dairy Queen, and on the west was the Arby's. Two of my favorite fast food places, what more could I ask for?

The Dairy Queen wasn't all that much different from the Dairy Queens found in Texas. I did find there were two things which made this DQ stand out: 1. it was in a great location to stop when travelling through the desert and 2. the people were very, very nice. 

When I got to Tucson, I had to tell my friend he was absolutely right about that Dairy Queen, it really was the World's best.

When my boys were small, even before #3 son was born, we loved to eat at Arby's. When we would drive there, I'd get them bouncing in the back seat (as much as one can bounce strapped into a child car seat or booster seat) yelling "Beef, beef, beef, beef, ... !" It was our favorite meal: Beef!

On another occasion, I was driving from Fort Huachuca, Arizona, to El Paso. My family had come to see me graduate from an Army school there and we were on our way back to visit my in-laws in El Paso until we flew back to Germany where we were stationed. During my six month stay at "The 'Chuc'" I drove to El Paso almost every weekend to visit my family. On those trips, I ate quite a few meals at that Arby's (and the World's greatest DQ). I was more than familiar with the road, and exactly how long it took to get to Deming going in either direction.

Heading west to El Paso, about 20 miles outside of Deming, the signs started to appear. They weren't large billboard signs, but smaller signs set just about eye-level, attached to the supports of the larger signs. The signs were shaped like the distinctive Arby's hat, and had the number of miles until the Deming Arby's printed on them. "20 miles to Arby's," "10 Miles to Arby's," "5 Miles to Arby's," (the anticipation is growing) "Arby's - Next Exit." We started bouncing and yelling at the first sign. For 20 minutes we were hollering out "Beef! Beef! Beef!" By the time we pulled into the parking lot we were in a carniverous frenzy and we'd worked up a big appetite.

There is one visit to that Arby's which really causes it to stand out in my memory.

On one of those weekend trips to El Paso, I was riding with an acquaintance who also had family in El Paso. We stopped at the Arby's (of course, I insisted). We got there about 5 minutes to 9:00 pm. I never lived in a small city like Deming, so it never occurred to me that they would be closing at 9. We walked in, ordered, and waited for our food. Then I heard someone back in the kitchen remark something like he'd just finished cleaning the fryer area. I asked, what time they closed? The person who took our order replied that they closed at 9.

Both of us tried to cancel our orders. We insisted, quite strongly, that they not mess everything up on our account. The workers in the place had already started preparing our order and insisted they would never turn away any customer before closing time. They even refused our request to change our "dine-in" order to a "to-go" one. I was very impressed by this, not so much because the entire crew chimed in agreeing that no customer should be turned away before nine, but more because there was not one real "adult" in the entire group. They all looked like high school kids, and most of them probably were. That really stuck in my head even after more than 10 years.

I don't have much call to drive through Deming any more. You can be sure, though, if I do I'll be having beef and Blizzards.


  1. I moved to Deming in January 2008 - drawn by the fact that the people are so friendly in this small town of less than 20,000 people.

    There is no Arby's in town now, but the Dairy Queen is my favorite fast food joint in town - I agree that the people are very, very friendly there, as I've found they are everywhere in Deming.

    If you drive through again, you might also want to check out the new Chinese Wok Buffet right down the street.

    That section of Pine Street right near Wal-Mart and K-Mart has become my favorite "eat out" area in town.

  2. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your thoughts.

    I've not thought about living in Deming. I think Las Cruces would be more my speed. I did enjoy living in that part of the country. One of my favorite things was watching the desert thunder storms - I found them quite beautiful to look at.

    It's a shame about the Arby's. I guess I'll have to find another source for beef - or just get a burger at the DQ!