Our Story

In 1975 Peter Gabriel left Genesis, The Michael Stanley Band released their first album, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here debuts, and Elaine and Rich Cibik buy the Chagrin Dairy Bar. They opened for their first season on April 9, 1976. Their love of palm trees and tropical vacations brought the name change, Dairy Island. Dad had two jobs that first summer: mixing milkshakes and slinging Twinkies and Ho-Hos throughout Geauga County. The early days were nothing but interesting. We learned a lot and fast! What we didn’t learn ourselves our customers taught us, as the “Dairy Bar” had been around since 1958. Our summer nights were busy and hot with no AC, a hot grill cranking out burgers and fries, and custard machines working like horses. We even served shrimp, fried clams, pizza burgers, you name it! We were the only place in town where you could enjoy a double cheeseburger, onion rings and milkshake and visit on horseback. At that time, we lived in Parma (aka amrap). Bainbridge and Chagrin felt like a world away. We moved to Solon in 1978 to be closer. No more summer nights in “The Camper” behind the Putt-Putt.

In 1991, my brother and I bought the business from my parents and in 1992 we opened Jake’s Drive-In alongside Dairy Island. Determined to expand and keep up with the times, we upgraded our menu and added car hop service. Fresh cut fries instead of frozen, ice cream replaced ice milk, and $.99 specials brought new  customers to join the old, including former President Jimmy Carter in 1994.

In 1995, I left the family business and moved out west to be a cowboy (ha-ha). I returned in 2017, and today my son Jake and I own and operate Cibik’s Dairy Island. A lot has changed in the past 30 years. Now, you can pay your bill with your watch, win free ice cream for the summer, and listen to classic rock tunes from my iPhone. In 2019 we made a business decision to stop serving hot food and replaced it with homemade small batch ice creams. We use 15% butter fat cream and pure vanilla extract to create ice creams that are extraordinary. And yes, the good old soft serve remains, a staple since the 70s.

Though times have changed, our message and how much we care about our customers has not. This is the place where I learned how to work hard and what customer service means. Where I created memories with lifelong friends and enjoy serving a new generation of ice cream lovers. We believe in Quality, Accuracy, Consistency, and Speed in that order. We believe that every customer needs to walk away happier than when they arrived. And we believe that our ice creams are some of the best money can buy.

In 2025 we will celebrate our 50th anniversary in the Chagrin Valley, thanks to you! Thank you for allowing our family to serve you and be part of your family’s summer tradition. After all these years, it still gives me great joy to serve you an ice cream cone out of our front windows. And the classic rock continues for you to enjoy when you visit. And if you are looking for recommendations, nothing beats the Butter Pecan or the Vegan Hawaiian Noises. Can you even imagine a world without ice cream?

Enjoy and thank you.

Rick Cibik

Cibik’s Dairy Island