PITTSBURG, Kan. — Just over a year ago, Raj and Al Patel announced they were investing more than $2 million to build a new Dairy Queen in Pittsburg and would begin construction in March. Like so many plans that were disrupted this year, however, COVID-19 threw a wrench into the works.

But on Friday, the Patels finally broke ground on their new Dairy Queen location at 2109 North Broadway.

Over the last seven years, Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce President Blake Benson said, Pittsburg has seen over $500 million in economic development projects.

“Those are projects at manufacturers, healthcare sector, everything is booming, but do you know what people get most excited about? Dairy Queen,” Benson said.

Al Patel said that construction will soon be underway following the groundbreaking ceremony, and should be completed by March of 2021. He said he has set an opening date for the restaurant shortly thereafter in the early spring.

“This time we won’t miss it,” Patel said, adding that Dairy Queen corporate required him to delay construction on the restaurant, which will be a new design for the franchise — the first of its kind in Kansas and only the second in the entire country, following the opening of the first in Minnesota.

The new Dairy Queen will have a different interior design from older Dairy Queens with new colors and lighting, Patel said, and in addition to indoor seating and a drive-through it will have outdoor patio seating and options for ordering through touch-screen kiosks and a mobile app.

Over a decade ago Pittsburg had a Dairy Queen, but the location on South Broadway between Quincy and Carlton streets that is now home to Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers closed in 2007.