UNION SQUARE — More than 100 Dairy Queen fans lined up outside the national chain’s first Manhattan location on Thursday morning, in the hopes of winning a year of free Blizzards.
Customers started arriving at the brand-new Dairy Queen at 54 W. 14th St. at 7 p.m. Wednesday, ahead of the grand opening Thursday morning, waiting overnight so that they could receive a gift card that would get them one of the free soft-serve ice cream treats each month for the next year.
“I was standing here all night,” said 35-year-old Flushing resident Kevin Lan, who was the first in line for the grand opening. “I’ve had plenty of DQ in other states, but now it’ll be much easier.”
Dairy Queen had promised to give away the free Blizzard gift cards to the first 50 customers in line and free T-shirts to the first 200 customers on opening day.
As the doors opened for the first time at 10 a.m., customers danced their way into the store as DQ staffers clapped and cheered them on.
“I’m feeling good,” said 24-year-old Tito Santiago, who came from The Bronx with a group of his friends for the grand opening. “I’m hungry!”
Dairy Queen launched a new Blizzard flavor in celebration of the store’s opening called the Big Apple Blizzard, made with vanilla soft serve, pie crust pieces, granny smith apple bits, whipped cream and nutmeg.
“It really tastes like an apple pie,” said 20-year-old NYU student James D. “It’s very cinnamon-y.”
The Union Square store is the second outpost to open in the city, after the first one on Staten Island, and it is the chain’s first two-floor restaurant, a spokesman said.
“We were hoping for this, and the enthusiasm that’s out there really meets our expectations,” said Lon Brew, vice president of operations at Dairy Queen, of the crowds that had gathered outside the store. “We’re anxious to make more fans in Manhattan. This is a story we're not going to forget.”
The Union Square Dairy Queen will be open from 10 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday through Sunday.