Zesto was originally known as Zesto Drive-In and featured ice cream and frozen custard. The first store opened in 1948. Many Zesto restaurants continue to operate today, including Zesto On Franklin in Evansville, Indiana.
The history of Zesto begins with entrepreneur and inventor L.A.M. Phelan, who began Zesto as a national franchise chain. Phelan was an inventor, businessman, and head of the Taylor Freezer Corporation, which in 1945, had developed the “Zest-O-Mat” frozen custard machine. Franchise agreements granted exclusive use of the Zest-O-Mat machines in a given territory under the Zesto name.
The first known Zesto Drive-In opened in Jefferson City, Missouri. Many more opened in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Most were in the Midwest and Southern States and reached as far west as California.
All Zesto’s are independently owned and there are stores in Evansville, Indiana; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Louisville, Kentucky; Seattle, Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; Columbia, South Carolina; Fremont, Nebraska; Lincoln, Nebraska; Wahoo, Nebraska; Omaha, Nebraska. North Carolina, and South Dakota.