There was a time in Boise when farms and wide open spaces were as common as heavy traffic is today. It was 1961 when Owen and Delsa Walton opened a tiny ice cream parlor in front of their farmhouse on Ustick Road—a location that was way out in the boonies at the time—and served nothing but Mrs. Walton's homemade ice cream. According to DelsasIceCream.com, customers back then could enjoy an ice cream cone on the patio while watching the Walton's cows mosey around their pasture. Not only did Delsa Walton have recipes for delicious ice cream, she also conjured up interesting concoctions like the Log Cabin Sundae. Chocolate ice cream with maple syrup and pretzel sticks, anyone? Some time after the Waltons sold Delsa's in 1971, a small kitchen and dining room were added to the parlor, and sandwiches, burgers and fries joined the menu. Gone is the farm of yesteryear. Today, the property is surrounded by subdivisions and a couple of dental offices.
Although maple syrup and pretzels are no longer on the menu, you can still count on Delsa's for a killer sundae ($2.50-5.50), a three-scoop banana split ($4.50) or a pecan ball ($5) made with a huge portion of homemade vanilla ice cream rolled in chopped pecans and smothered in hot fudge. Yes, the ice cream is still made from scratch on-site in more than 50 flavors that range from standards like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry to unique flavors like licorice, mud pie and brownie batter. The food menu offers a no-frills selection of burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches, as well as a couple of deep-fried appetizers. Breakfast dishes such as French toast ($5.50), biscuits and gravy ($4.95) and a breakfast sandwich ($5.95) are served Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
I've visited Delsa's many times over the 14 years I've called Boise home. It sits across the street from my dentist's office, so twice a year I have to fight the urge to stop in for a scoop right after my teeth have been cleaned. (Between you and me, sometimes the urge wins the fight.) Delsa's has also been a fixture at the Idaho State Fair. I'll pass up the funnel cakes and Pronto Pups any day for a double cone of mountain wildberry.
On my most recent visit, I was accompanied by my new boss and two hungry teenage boys fresh from a day at high school. As soon as we arrived on this warm Friday afternoon, we were immediately directed to the small dining room, and as we looked over the menu, a round of waters and sodas was placed on the table before us. The waitress said the Western burger ($4.75) is popular, and no wonder. It comes with bacon, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce and grilled onions. She also recommended the French dip ($5.75) with au jus, Swiss cheese and grilled onions. After ordering three cheeseburgers ($3.75 each) and a French dip, it wasn't long before the males in our party were happily inhaling their burgers and fries ($1) while I ate half of the tasty French dip. My hunky boss sipped a chocolate malt ($3.75) with his burger, but it lacked maltiness. It was pretty good for a chocolate shake ($3.25) and came complete with whipped cream and a cherry.
For dessert, we stopped at the ice cream counter in the 46-year old parlor. I enjoyed one scoop ($2.15) of Swiss orange chip, while one teen devoured two big scoops ($3.50) of chocolate fudge brownie ice cream. The other teen opted for an old-fashioned candy stick (15¢), while my boss chatted outside on his cell phone. Our bellies full, it was time to hit the road, Jack, but know we'll come back for more.
—Jennifer Hernandez really likes her Crockpot.