It has been much more than an ice cream store. It has been a way Meriden residents have measured the seasons for decades. When Les’ Dairy Bar opens each spring it is like the return of your favorite perennial flower. And just like with your favorite flower your disappointment when one season closes is tempered by the anticipation of return.
You can no longer say that about Les’. The dairy bar owner will close the city landmark on East Main Street at the end of this summer season. You can’t blame Deb DiGiandomenico, whose weariness seemed palpable in a recent Record-Journal story. “At this point, I just had a lot of years,” she said. “Physically it’s taken its toll.”
There remains some hope. Since announcing her decision on social media, DiGiandomenico has been getting offers from potential buyers. Maybe that will work out. “I put a lot of life and love into keeping it,” she said. “I hate to see it disappear.”
She’s hardly alone in that sentiment. The history of Les’ goes back more than 60 years. It’s changed hands a couple of times. The name Les’ comes from Les Anderson, who bought it from Ray Dubuc and Tony Fontanella. Today, the place has about a dozen employees, mostly college students. This time around, when they go back to school that might be it.
We will hold out hope that it will turn out otherwise. “It’s sad, it’s an icon for the town,” a Meriden resident noted.
An icon indeed. DiGiandomenico deserves praise and thanks for keeping the icon going for as long as she did. If it turns out she can sell it to someone who can keep it going as an ice cream shop it will keep a melancholy ending at bay and restore faith that with the coming of the milder season so opens Les’ Dairy Bar in the Silver City.