The Untold Truth Of Andy's Frozen Custard

There's something so indulgent about frozen custard. The creamier cousin to ice cream, frozen custard has a rich and irresistible texture. But do you know the source of that lusciousness? Surprisingly, it's egg yolks. To label something "frozen custard," the Food and Drug Administration requires that, in addition to the basic ingredients of ice cream such as cream, milk, and sugar, it also must contain 1.4 percent pasteurized egg yolk (via American Dairy Association Indiana). Some custards also contain more butterfat than ice cream (via Andy's). 

Another difference is that while ice cream machines incorporate air, which adds lightness to ice cream, frozen custard is more slowly churned, adding very little air to the mixture and creating denseness (via The Kitchn). Andy's Frozen Custard, the largest frozen custard chain restaurant in the country (via Andy's), has the formula down pat. 

Andy's mentors were custard legends

No one knows exactly when frozen custard was invented, but the Kohrs brothers are credited with being the first to sell the delicious treat at Coney Island amusement park in New York City in 1919 (via The Nibble). Later, frozen custard stands began to pop up throughout the city of Milwaukee, located in America's Dairyland of Wisconsin, and the city became known as the "Frozen Custard Capital of the World" (via Andy's). Great custard brands like Kopp's and Culver's were born in this Midwestern city.

Andy's Frozen Custard can trace its birth back to Wisconsin as well. It was there that Andy's founders John and Carol Kuntz learned about the frozen custard business at the legendary Leon's Frozen Custard (via Meadowvale Farms). In a city known for its custard, Leon's is regarded as the most influential custard spot because founder Leon Schneider regularly trained and mentored other drive-in restaurant operators, even those who wanted to open competing custard stands, according to On Milwaukee. The Kuntzes credit Schneider with giving them the knowledge and training to succeed in what would become a large, multi-state custard chain. In 1986, when the Kuntzes were ready to open their own business in Missouri, they named it for their son, Andy, who serves as the CEO of Andy's Frozen Custard today.

They focus on the ingredients

Although the menu at Andy's is all custard, there are a lot of flavors and choices, including shakes, malts, sundaes, banana splits, concretes (custard blended with candy, cookies, nuts, fresh fruits, or other mix-ins), and jackhammers, where the frozen custard has a liquid center, such as hot fudge or caramel. Because Andy's shops are open all year, they offer a rotation of seasonal specials, including blueberry and blackberry concretes in spring, a key lime pie concrete in summer, and eggnog or peppermint-chocolate shakes near Christmas.

A detail you might not expect from a large chain is the attention to ingredients. In addition to using non-rBST milk, toppings and mix-ins are made in-store every day. These include brownies, pumpkin and apple pies, shortcakes, and cookies. All custard is served within an hour of being made. The attention to detail pays off, as Andy's is arguably one of the top ice cream chains in the U.S. and holds the top spot for custard.

Andy's is growing with a new look

Through franchising, Andy's Frozen Custard hit a growth spurt in the late 2010s. Between 2015 and 2020, the business grew from 23 locations to 85 in the Midwest and Southern United States. While the chain was once nothing to look at, with old buildings and outdated design, Andy's recently partnered with an architectural firm to design the next generation of stores (via Biz Journals). The modern retro design features larger, heated, and covered patios so walk-up customers can eat outdoors all year in comfort. (Andy's also offers drive-through service, and older stores have no indoor seating.)

Each new building incorporates something local into the design. In Joplin, Missouri, the structure features bricks from the town's former high school, which had been destroyed by a tornado. The roof at Andy's Tulsa shop is made of reclaimed barn wood that's whitewashed with actual milk (via Architect). In the mood for some frozen custard? Check out if there's an Andy's near you.