Businesses have a certain impact on a community, local businesses in particular. Delsa’s Ice Cream Parlour has been a part of Boise for more than 50 years. Its neighbors include multiple dentist offices and it is only 5 minutes from Capital High School and Fairmont Junior High School. “There are families who come in with three generations, who remember Delsa’s when they were much younger. Grandparents bring grandchildren and tell them how their father or mother used to come here as a child for ice cream treats,” says Tiffany Cushing, one of the current owners.
Originally, Delsa and Owen Walton’s farmhouse built in 1922 was the only building, when Boise’s West Bench was still considered “out in the boonies”, surrounded only by farm land and dairy cows. Mrs. Walton made ice cream all the neighborhood kids loved. The house is an American Farmhouse style, with the Craftsman influence on the overhanging roof and in the interior of the house. It has two bedrooms and a gable roof. In the back, there is an outdoor stone fireplace and a wooden porch, where it is said the neighbors would sit and enjoy ice cream cones before the store was opened.
When Mrs. Walton’s ice cream became more popular with the kids in the neighborhood, Delsa and Owen decided to make a business of it. In 1960, another building (which is now the dining room) was added to the property as an official parlour to sell her delicious homemade ice cream. The building was a simple gable roof rectangle building. Because the building was without a bathroom, rumor has it that anyone needing to use the restroom had to use the one located inside the Walton’s private home. Talk about small town business!
Delsa and Owen sold Delsa’s Ice Cream in 1971 to Don and Wanda Blele. The Blele’s owned it for more than 30 years. Sometime after the Blele’s bought Delsa’s, they added a new counter room and kitchen to the building and began serving burgers, fries, and sandwiches in addition to homemade ice cream. At some point, they connected the building to the front door of the farmhouse to allow easy access from their house, and in the process, created an area used for storage. In the past, they sold ice cream wholesale to places like Ice Cream Alley in McCall, The Trolley House, and other various iconic locally-owned Idaho restaurants.
After Don Blele sold Delsa’s, it seemed to struggle a bit. The second owner after Don, filed for bankruptcy after their struggle with the Ustick Road widening project and other business tribulations. The best known nostalgic ice cream parlour was eventually on the auction block and purchased in late 2008.
The new owners Tom and Tiffany Cushing and Nick West (owners of The Capri Restaurant), re-opened the icon with a fresh face in June 2009, and attracted quite the attention from the Boise community, especially the surrounding neighborhoods. The then retired Don Blele joined to work with the new ice cream maker, co-owner Nick West, on the finer points of homemade ice cream. The new owners have been working on keeping the tradition going ever since.
Tiffany Cushing (Owner)