Andy’s Frozen Custard is almost as iconic to summer in the Ozarks as humidity and float trips. John and Carol Kuntz opened its first location in 1986 in Osage Beach, Missouri, a stone’s throw from the Lake of the Ozarks. Soon after, their son Andy, along with his wife Dana, opened an additional location 90 minutes away in Springfield.

Since then, the custard has become a go-to treat on hot summer nights in Springfield, with patrons in long lines most nights at all four locations. The popularity of those original stores catapulted the chain’s success, leading the Kuntzes to open more locations over the last decade. Andy’s currently has 26 locations in five states: Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas.

But that’s just the beginning for Andy’s.

“We are projecting seven new corporate stores and eight to 10 new franchise stores for 2016,” says Mike Carroll, controller for Andy’s Frozen Custard. “That number could grow depending on real estate opportunities in additional markets.”

Customers all over the Midwest clamor for the chain’s star: frozen custard. The craveworthy creation made from cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract is simple in its flavor and texture, offering no pretensions or gimmicks. It’s just pure, vanilla goodness. Combine that with smiling faces over red bow ties, midcentury music blaring and an atmosphere that invites socializing, and Andy’s is a bite of sweetness drizzled in nostalgia.

Carroll credits the Andy’s experience as part of its universal appeal.

“First and foremost, it’s the frozen custard itself – its taste, its texture,” he says. “But more than just our product, it’s our employees, our architecture, our belief that everyone wants to be a kid for a while … we’re hopefully creating an experience for families and individuals to say 'Let’s go to Andy’s!.'”

Customers across the Midwest are ending their summers with Andy’s in hand. But in the years to come, Carroll hopes that the chain will not only be an Ozarks favorite but also a national brand.

“I don’t know that anyone has set a specific goal, but we do believe we can be a national brand if that’s what the future holds,” he says. “We will continue expanding and have franchise development agreements in place for Denver and Phoenix, and parts of North Carolina and Florida.”

Andy’s Frozen Custard, multiple locations including 2119 N Glenstone Ave, Springfield, Missouri, 417.881.3500, eatandys.com