During an age of turbulence and activism called both “The Summer of Love” and “The Long, Hot Summer”, Mr. K’s Soft Ice Cream opened it’s doors for the first time in Charlotte, NC on August 13, 1967. The San Francisco based hippie counterculture was converging globally for peace, thousands of American solders were halfway around the world fighting for democracy, and Mr. K was serving up the finest Burgers, Hot Dogs, and Milkshakes in the south.
In 1955 Mr Theodore Karres came to the US from Greece in search of a better life for his family. Together with his wife Demetra they settled in Chicago and opened a Dry cleaning store. Soon they would decide once again to move for a better way of life for them and their children. This time the move was to Charlotte in 1966. The following year Mr K’s Soft Ice Cream, a treasured Charlotte tradition, would be born.
When Theodore Karres started the business at the South Boulevard location in 1967 it was called Zesto. He only served Ice cream from a window in a round building at the road. Hot Dogs were soon added to the menu. The Mr. K’s building as we know it today came in 1971.
After Hurricane Hugo devastated Charlotte in 1989, Mr K’s Soft Ice Cream was one of very few businesses to retain power. The family owned and operated restaurant stood vigilant in keeping their doors open and grills blazing hot to feed the crippled community. Pamela Karres, who at the time was living in Raleigh, even made the long journey to Charlotte to bring much needed supplies from Raleigh.
Today Mr K and his wife are enjoying a well deserved retirement, but the family has not given up on this Charlotte Tradition.
Following Mr. K’s retirement in 1996, Mr K’s was bought by Pamela Karres and her brother George Karres. A year later Pamela married her husband George Dizes and he joined the family business. George Karres has since moved on to build a career in Real Estate. Today George and Pamela Dizes operate Mr. K’s.
Operating in the exact same location as the day it opened, with the same charm, commitment to community, quality and satisfaction, and still family owned, Mr K’s Soft Ice Cream continues to serve the best Burgers, Hot Dogs and Milkshakes around.
We were chosen by the Charlotte Center City Partners to be the 2010 recipient of the Settlers Award, which recognizes pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit in the city of Charlotte, and recognizes us as one of Charlotte’s original landmarks. We humbly thank everyone for this honor. Especially all of our loyal supporters.