Thursday, September 21, 2023


Ice cream? Get your licks on Route 66

Route 66, “The Mother Road,” makes a climb out of California and into Arizona. If you make the pull heading for Flagstaff, there’s a must-stop if you’re into ice cream. Get off the interstate and pick up Route 66 at Seligman. You can’t miss Delgadillo’s Snow Cap. Is it a restaurant? A café? A burger joint? If you’d have been around in the days of founder Juan Delgadillo, he’d tell you none of the above. The Snow Cap is just a place where you can get a “cheeseburger with cheese,” or some “dead chicken.” And according to the Guinness Book of World Records, there was the one day when you could get one of 266 different “flavors” of milkshake.

Ice cream – with a generous topping of humor

ice cream
R & T De Maris

Juan Delgadillo went to work 70 years ago to build and open his now-historic establishment. Scrounging through the nearby railroad yard, Juan pulled enough lumber to build his dream. With all the traffic passing by, somebody had to hand out ice cream—with a generous topping of humor. Always known to have a well-greased sense of humor, you could never be sure what stunt he’d pull as you ordered your hamburger or shake. Need a napkin? He’d reach under the counter and come back with a handful of shredded stuff, yes napkins, but some previously used. You’d surely get some fresh ones, after Juan had a good laugh at your expression.

The Snow Cap certainly is a family affair. As his kids got older, they went to work. And after Juan spent his final long, hard day at the Snow Cap and passed away from a heart attack, his sons, John-Michael and Robert took over running the place. That was in 2004, long after Interstate 40 stole away much of Seligman’s traffic. But after 50 years of cranking out ice cream cones and “dead chicken,” neither the death of Juan Delgadillo nor the intrusion of high-speed traffic lanes could end the colorful Snow Cap.

The making of 266 flavors – and a record!

ice cream
R&T De Maris

Last fall marked another milestone for the Snow Cap. Eager to keep Route 66 “alive and kicking,” the Snow Cap teamed up with oil giant Mobil and made a push to go down in the record books. When they announced their intentions of setting a new world record for the largest number of shake flavors, the folks from Guinness allowed they’d hand them the record if they beat it—with a couple of caveats. They’d have to have an auditor from the record-book firm on hand, plus a certified chef who would observe that all the shakes were of proper milkshake consistency.

Thank heavens the rules did not include a limitation on flavor. In less than two hours, the Snow Cap staff whirled ice cream into shakes, 266 different flavors. Sure there was chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. But as Yoda said, “You must unlearn what you have learned.” Before the shake-making session was over, some of the flavors were almost beyond imagination. Salsa, banana, and chili. Oreo, rice, orange, and fish burger. Of course, everyone’s favorite, peanut butter and onion ring.

Juan’s gotchas live on

ice cream
R & T De Maris

If there’s a day of infamy for ice cream, perhaps September 10, 2022, is that day. The official World Record plaque is proudly posted at the counter. Juan would have been proud. And his gag-master tradition continues. When we rolled into the Snow Cap last fall with a yearning for ice cream, we had it fulfilled. Along the way, one of us nearly suffered a heart attack when the counter staff innocently lifted up a ketchup squeeze bottle and shot a long red jet at us. Yeah, the old “red yarn in the ketchup bottle gag.” Gets ‘em every time! No, you can’t get a pizza-flavored shake, but there are 13 more “traditional” flavors available every day.

The Snow Cap is a seasonal affair. The guest seating is outside, under cover, but still in open air. After you’ve imbibed enough ice cream, and perhaps an “Oink Burger,” you’ll need to run off some of those calories. Out back of the Snow Cap is an open-air vehicle museum. Old cars, trucks, hand-driven gas pumps and the like. It’s the kind of thing that gives memories to Route 66. Forget the kicks, get your ice cream licks on Route 66.

Delgadillo’s Snow Cap, 22235 Old Highway 66, Seligman, Arizona. Phone (928) 422-3291. Here’s their “website” (Facebook page). 



  1. My 1st visit to the Snow Cap Cafe was in the spring of 1977, after having spent most of the week in Sujpai. I fell in love with the place, stopping there often when traveling to Lake Havasu City. The food is just fine, but the atmosphere is what one comes to appreciate.

    Juan would come up as a customer entered. While they were reading the menu choices he’d ask for an order. If the customer hesitated, he’d say “Oh, you want a look?” If the customer answered in the affirmative, Juan would place an old “Look” candy bar on the counter with a smile and a “What else would you like?”

    He had many “Dad jokes,” but it was all with a smile, and stopping in Seligman was always a highlight of our travels.

    “Cheeseburger, please.”
    “Would you like cheese on that?”

    I’ll never forget the crumpled napkins or the mustard or ketchup strings.

    Any time friends are headed for a trip along the “Mother Road'” I always recommend a break at Seligman and lunch at the Snow Cap.

  2. I was a victim of the Mustard Bottle attack while enjoying a malt after a week in Havasupi canyon in 2006. As I was sipping on my shake, up walks the owner and asks if I’d like mustard on that. The next thing I see is a big streak of yellow headed my way!
    My reaction surprised him as I caught the yellow yarn in mid air and held it in my hand.
    He complemented my fast reactions and said I was the first to ever catch the “mustard stream”. He topped off my shake. Great guy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.