Dairy Bar

The Dairy Bar in Altamont

ALTAMONT – Schultz’s Dairy Bar and Pizza in Altamont closed its doors on Friday. The eatery had planned to close on Sunday, according to its Facebook page.

“That’s it folks!! We have nothing left in our inventory!” a post on Friday night said. “We have closed our doors already tonight and will not be able to remain open until Sunday like we had originally planned. From the entire Schultz family and all the employees at Schultz’s Dairy Bar, THANK YOU!! It’s been a fun ride!”

It ends a span of ownership of the Dairy Bar that began when Alvin and Deb Schultz purchased the business in 1988.

“All of our other family businesses are demanding more time and we feel this is the right time to move on,” the Facebook post said. “We would like to sincerely thank all of you, our valued customers, for your patronage over the years.”

“It’s sad to see it go,” said Altamont Mayor Jason Rippetoe. “It’s been a fixture in the community since I can remember. It started as just a custard stand, and has really evolved over the years.”

According to the Schultz’s Dairy Bar website, the Dairy Bar was originally built in 1957 by Harry Beccue.

“The original Dairy Bar and eating area only had three tables,” said Alvin and Deb Schultz’s son, Kevin Schultz in a 2017 EDN interview.

Warner Goers, Tom Osseck, Bob and Judy Mayhaus, Wendel Chamblis, Brian and Shelby Gilbert were owners of the Dairy Bar before it was purchased by Alvin and Deb Schultz, according to the Schultz’s Dairy Bar website.

In an EDN article earlier this year, Sue (Osseck) Spitz, who was crowned 1971 Miss Effingham County Fair, recalled working at the Dairy Bar while growing up in Altamont. Spitz said she worked along with her siblings at the Dairy Bar for her parents Tom and Jenny Osseck when they owned the business. Osseck purchased the business from Warner Goers.

Spitz said she was a shy girl growing up and her father made her enter the fair pageant as a candidate to represent the Dairy Bar.

“I didn’t have a choice. It was requirement,” Spitz said. “He wanted advertisement for the Dairy Bar, because back then we (Effingham County queen contestants) had sponsors.”

In 1974, Bob and Judy Mayhaus purchased the Dairy Bar from Sptiz’s father Tom Osseck. Mayhaus owned the restaurant from 1974-78.

Mayhaus said in a phone interview that owning the Dairy Bar was definitely a family affair. He said his wife Judy along with his oldest son and daughter ran the business. He said they also had a couple of high school girls working at the business.

“I thought about buying it from Warner Goers at one time and I didn’t do it,” Bob Mayhaus said. “However, later on I did buy it from Tom Osseck.”

“It was good training for our daughter and son,” Bob Mayhaus said. “It helped them learn how to deal with the public.”

Mayhaus purchased The Dutch Pantry Family Restaurant, south of Altamont, in 1978 and dropped the franchise and renamed it The Pantry, selling the business in 1988. Mayhaus works for Interstate Motors in Vandalia, a business started in 1987.

According to a previous EDN news article, After Alvin and Deb Schultz purchased the original Dairy Bar building in 1988 they decided to expand it. Alvin Schultz said at the time that the first expansion of the business was in 1990, when they added a kitchen to the south of the building. That was followed by a 1992 addition of a dining room onto the north end of the building.

Deb’s Catering started from the kitchen at the Dairy Bar, cooking for Meals on Wheels over 17 years ago and out grew their facility preparing meals weekly for the CEFS program in Effingham, Fayette, Christian and Clay counties.

In 2017, Deb’s Catering moved into a new building south of Altamont on Do It Drive and kept the Dairy Bar open.

Charles Mills can be reached at charles.mills@effinghamdailynews.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 126.

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