Airline Dairy Creme has new set of owners: ‘We’re a new local family carrying on the tradition’

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

A family-owned Vandalia landmark is welcoming a new family into its legacy.

Airline Dairy Creme, a four-generation family-owned restaurant and ice cream shop, has been bought by Allen and Sarah Lay, who also own Kona Ice of Troy.

“We’re a new local family carrying on the tradition,” Allen said in a press release. “We frequent there a lot. We love the community feel, the old diner’s feel to the place.”

The couple purchased the 58-year-old business after the former owner, Nancy Suther, decided to retire.

“It’s been 48 years of my life, and it’s time to leave,” said Suther, who started working alongside her father as a teenager. “It’s a bittersweet moment because it’s been such a joy and privilege to serve our loyal, faithful customers. I’m confident that Allen and Sarah will maintain strong customer service and the old-fashioned family values that are part of the Airline Dairy Creme’s reputation.”

According to the release, Airline Dairy Creme opened on Valentine’s Day in 1964 by Frederick Krimm and his namesake son. They opened Airline Dairy Creme next to the Airline Theatre, which they owned and managed.

Over the decades, the business expanded to include a dining room and patio dining. The menu, which initially offered soft serve ice cream and 19-cent hamburgers “with all the trimmings,” has since expanded to include a variety of sandwiches, homemade soups, soft pretzels and ice cream concoctions including its trademark peanut butter shake.

The Lays said they plan to keep the restaurant’s branding and staffing the same but have plans to install an online portal for customers to place orders, the release said.

The couple added they are considering expanding the menu to include box lunches and more hot food options, such as a cheesesteak melt, chicken salad melt and cheese curds.

Suther and her brother, Mike Krimm, will work side by side with the Lays until Nov. 4 to provide a seamless transition, the release said.

The Lays said they plan to give back to the community by teaming up with local organizations through “dine to donate” events. According to the release, Kona Ice of Troy raised more than $100,000 for local nonprofits and schools through joint fundraising efforts.

The family manages seasonal concession businesses at Cassel Hills Pool and the Vandalia Recreation Center. They also own Timeless Tacos Catering and Food Truck.

For more information about Airline Dairy Creme, visit or the shop’s Facebook page.

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