Meadville Tribune

Breaking News

Local News

April 2, 2009

Hank's opening marks family business's 58th year

Ryan Hild’s parents suggest he not mess with success — and he doesn’t plan to do so.

“We’ve been successful this long, there’s no reason to change,” said Hild, 32, the new owner of Hank’s Frozen Custard on the Conneaut Lake Road which officially opens today for its 58th season.

With the new season, ownership of the local icon officially has passed to the younger Hild who is now the third-generation of the Hild family to own and operate Hank’s. It was started by his grandparents, Ernest and Marguerite Hild in 1952. Ryan’s parents, Rick and Linda Hild, took over running the business in 1980.

Success is based on offering a consistent, quality product, according to Hild. It’s what customers have come to expect, he said.

The heart and soul of the business are the four 62-year-old Electro Freeze machines that churn out the sweet, creamy-smooth frozen custard.

While improvements have been made to their cooling units over the years — switching from water-cooled to air-cooled — their internal mixing paddle components remain the same as they did six decades ago.

Each machine has to be watched constantly by Hild, as they can be temperamental when running.

Frozen custard mix — a dairy product mix which has a high content of butterfat (a minimum of 10 percent) and egg yolk (1.5 percent) — is gravity-fed into a machine. The barrel of the machine is refrigerated so the custard

freezes to the inside of the barrel. The frozen custard is scraped off and pushed forward by a set of steel paddles and blades called an agitator. The custard leaves the barrel and falls into a frozen can for serving.

But, with too little mix added, there are loud “clanks” as the machine runs noisily, freezing to a halt before it can produce frozen custard. Too much mix, and the product comes out still in liquid form — not having a chance to freeze.

Text Only
Local News
Business Marquee
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide