Mal’s Diner waitress Antonia Edwards readies to deliver a cool milkshake to a customer last week. The local restaurant is part of Oregon’s Ice Cream Trail. (The Enterprise/Isabella Garcia)
VALE — Mal’s Diner is on the map for their sweet treats.
In celebration of Oregon’s dairy industry, the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council made an Ice Cream Trail, featuring 53 standout ice cream stops throughout the state.
While the trail is heavily populated with west and central Oregon options, Mal’s Diner is one of only two restaurants representing eastern Oregon. Mal’s, owned by Malinda and David Castleberry since June 2017, is joined by some sweet company on the map.
The trail snakes around Oregon, from the Sea Star Gelato in Seaside to the Salt & Straw flagship store in Portland, Goody’s at Sunriver and south to Tommi’s Ice Creams in Grants Pass. Josh Thomas, nutrition council communications director, said the council wanted to create the map to represent the dairy families in Oregon.
“Oregon gets so much attention for the wine and microbrews, but no one talks about the ice cream,” Thomas said.
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The map declares Oregon as the ice cream state, a statement Thomas said is supported by the number of ice cream shops it boasts.
“It makes a pretty strong case for Oregon as the ice cream state,” Thomas said.
There are plenty of sites to visit for some cool ice cream treats across the state, as shown by this map from the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. Vale is the lone selection in southeastern Oregon. (Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council graphic)
When the dairy council was developing the trail, it put out the call for submissions, meaning Mal’s made the map because of a local nomination. After learning about being included on the trail, Mal’s Diner employee Kelli Miller thanked the Vale community for continued support of the restaurant.
“Without our community, we would not have the sales we have,” Miller said.
Mal’s Diner serves Cascade Glacier ice cream from Eugene. Diners can get a couple scoops of the restaurant’s several flavor options – huckleberry is the town favorite – in a cone or cup or indulge in one of the diner’s milkshakes.
“Milkshakes are our top sellers,” Miller said.
Whether customers want unique flavors like almond roca and piña colada, tried and true classics, or an indulgent challenge like the Malnutrition mega shake – featuring Oreos, Reese’s, Butterfingers and M&Ms – they can find options at Mal’s.
Thomas said the council plans on continuing the development of the trail every year.
“We didn’t envision this as a flash in the pan,” Thomas said. Whether the trail brings in more “newbies” like Miller sees in the summer months, the diner will continue to dole out scoops for the community, just as it’s always done.
The Ice Cream Trail map and list of all 53 shops can be found at OregonIceCreamTrail.com.
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