Pros: You design your own delight
Cons: This labor intensive method has lines out the door.
Where has the Cold Stone Creamery been? Where have I been? As it seems the creamery is in a lot more places than I've been to!!
MY GREAT DISCOVERY
The first time I ever saw a Stone Cold Creamery and tasted its product was in ST Thomas, US Virgin Islands this past August.
When I first experienced the ice cream my thought was "Wait till they get these in the states, It will be huge!" This guy had no idea that there are already over 400 franchises in 43 states with five hundred more slated to open this next year. They plan to have 1,000 by the end of 2004. Now I have read that there are a few right here on Long Island where I live. Ha, and I thought I discovered something.
DESIGNING A DESIGNER ICE CREAM
This fastest growing phenomenon of ice cream parlors has its roots in Arizona where a couple by the name of Donald and Susan Sutherland opened the first Cold Stone in 1988.
They had an idea to serve a "Design it yourself" ice cream treat, but, they had a few problems to work out. One thing was to make a premium ice cream that was very tasty. That would be the base of their dream treat. The ice cream also had to be pliable and creamy. It's hard to blend a "mix in", as they call their add in products, into a hard ice cream. A soft ice cream just wouldn't have any body. Like Goldilocks they needed something that would fit "just right"
After much work they finally made the creamy ice cream they needed. Another problem is that the outside surfaces, of the creamy ice cream, begin to melt and lose its body as any "mix ins are kneaded into it.
So the idea comes up, "Lets mix the creamy ice cream on an ice cold surface!!" We can use a frozen granite stone. From this idea comes the name Stone Cold Creamery
MY FIRST EXPERIENCE
We were coming home to ST Thomas, while on vacation, from St John on a ferry when we met a family we had bumped into earlier where we were staying. We decided to share a taxi van ride to the hotel. They said that will be great but first we must all get an ice cream at a place called Stone Cold. We were told they have fantastic ice cream flavors! This was in the small town of Red Hook. My wife and I both love ice cream and followed their advice.
Walking into the store that had a large ice cream counter and small tables and chairs throughout I first noticed the show case. This was just like the gellato freezers in Italy. The ice cream, instead of being deep in barrels, was laid out in horizontal trays. The ice creams, like gelatto, was bright coloured and easy to see.
MANY FLAVORS AS A BASE TO YOUR CREATION
The first flavor I remember seeing and tasting was Sweet Cream. In my mind this was the perfect match with so many of the mix ins that were offered. It was almost like having whipped cream as an ice cream flavor. I didn't stop there. They offer you little tastes to see what you may like. My next choice was cake batter. Mmm, that is exactly what it tasted like. I also had a bit of the cheesecake. I was in heaven. These ice creams didn't even need and mix ins. They were fantastic on their own!
Other flavors in the showcase were White Chocolate, Strawberry, French Vanilla, Pecan Preline, Chocolate, Coconut, Vanilla Bean, and coffee. There are others too!! They also have special seasonal flavors.
MORE THAN JUST FRIENDLY WORKERS
My wife also went through a tasting frenzy at the freezer. I was amazed at the attitude of the young guy who was working the counter. I would have driven myself crazy by this time. Instead, he was having as much fun spooning out the samples as we were tasting them. I took it that we just happened on a really friendly guy. I was to learn different a bit later. This same guy took us through the whole process. He was also very helpful in making suggestions when I became stumped!
I also noticed the people who we followed to this place being served. Their server was just as friendly. It was contagious. Everyone had a great attitude and that in turn made those waiting in line comfortable and patient.
We talked to a couple of the kids later on. I had commented to him about some upbeat, feel good signs, inside and outside the place. These were sayings and pictures boosting self image and self esteem. These kids serving us were flying on a happy high!
They mentioned their boss, the owner. I believe his name may have been Mr. Jones, was an ex navy pilot who happened to be black and was always expressing to the young people that they were somebody and that they could become whatever they wanted to be.
This place had a "go get em" attitude with a very friendly touch. I was amazed. We had arrived late and got our ice creams just before closing. We were eating at one of the small inside tables. A young gal who worked there asked if we would mind if she started cleaning. We said fine. This gal started cleaning things that I don't even think dirt and dust would find their way too. She worked hard while maintaining a fun attitude with the other workers.
After talking and pressing for answers I found out the that the kids really have to work hard to get the job at Cold Stone. They have high standards. There is also a lot of training and they must be outgoing and friendly!! The help we ran into certainly were.
So now that you have tasted every flavor they offer, you must decide what to put in it. The price of $3.00 included one mix in. Each addition mix in costs .50. I might add that this price is for ice cream in a styrofoam cup. The waffle cones or waffle dishes are another dollar.
Stone Cold had a board up with all the possible mix ins. They helped greatly. There was another sign that was even more help to me. I'll talk to you about it in a little while
The mix ins were black cherries, cherry pie filling, chocolate chips, Heath bar, marshmallows, coconut, bananas, pineapple, walnuts, almonds, pecans, Kit Kat, M&Ms, and snickers. These were just a start. There were at least five or ten other choices. Some you will learn of in a bit.
Whoever takes your order starts the process. They ask you what flavor ice cream, what kind of mixins, Then they take it from the freezer trays. They younguns don't really scoop it out as compared to ice cream you have seen before.
They have a sort of spade in each hand. They reach into the freezer area with both hands. They would reach in as far as they could to the front end of the ice cream trays. They dig in the spades a bit and then pull the ice cream toward themselves. This kind of gathers it up in a slightly different way, just scrapping the top. This is less of a ball of a usual scoop and easier to blend.
This pulled ice cream was then set out onto the cold stone. It's flattened out and then ready for mixins to be plied in.
I settled on the chocolate ice cream with cherry pie filling and chocolate chips. These were placed on the flattened ice cream and all were blended together into the cold yet flavorful treat.
My custom mixture was then put into a fresh baked waffle cone. These are very tasty. You can pay a bit extra and have the cone's top edges dunked in chocolate.
COLD STONE ORIGINALS
I mentioned the other very helpful sign earlier. This is the one that shows 35 or so ice cream and mixin combinations that Cold Stone suggests, and are tried and true.
This really is a good place to go for choice or for ideas.
Here are a few samples. You may also note some other mixins I didn't mention earlier.
Berry, Berry Good
Sweet Cream Ice Cream
Apple Pie Ala Cold Stone
Sweet Cream Ice cream
Graham Cracker Pie crust
Apple Pie filling
At the Cocoa Banana Cabana
Banana Ice Cream
Black Forest Dream
Chocolate Ice Cream
Cherry Pie filling
Cake Batter Ice Cream
Coffee lovers Only
Coffee ice cream
I just told you about six mixes. They have over thirty Cold Stone Original suggestions!!
I mentioned some basic prices earlier. There are many variables. Size, how many mixins, cone or waffle dish etc.
Now this can add up pretty quickly. But I must say , this isn't just buying a scoop of premium ice cream. There is so much more too it. This cheap guy was back at the Stone Cold in St Thomas just two days later. This big guy can say that a small is very satisfying. A medium is filling and a large, fagetaboutit!
Cold Stone also offers other kinds of treats like shakes smoothies, sorbet and such. It's my opinion that you should go in for the Cold Stone experience of your own mixed ice cream.
The family and I am off to the Pennsylvania Dutch Country for a little fun this weekend. I read in one of the other reviews of Cold Stone here at epinions that there are a couple of Cold Stone Creameries there. I'll have to discover one of them.
More chain eateries by popsrocks
Applebee's / Romano's MACARONI GRILL / KFC / OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE / Wendy's / OUTBACK Restaurant / Cozymel's / Cheesecake Factory / McDonald's / Taco Bell / Checkers Burgers / Red Lobster / The White Castle / TGI Friday's / Charlie Browns / Burger King / Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips / Dunkin' Donuts / Starbucks / Ralph's Famous Ices / Cold Stone Creamery / Boulder Creek Steakhouse / Waffle House / Krispy Kreme / Friendly's / Nathan's / Jillian's Blimpies / Katz's Deli / Ruth's Chris Steak House /Don Juan's / Cracker Barrel / IHOP, International House Of Pancakes / Quizno's / Subway / jumba juice / Ruth's Chris Steak House /Don Juan's / Peter Luger Steak House / Don Juan's / Cracker Barrel / Bob Evans / Boston Market / Papa John's Pizza / Domino's Pizza
There is now a Cold Stone right on 42nd street between Broadway and eigth Ave. in the heart of Times Square.
Tavern on the Green A romantic restaurant in Central Park / Stardust DinerA great place for before a show in Times Square. Aspiring actors are here / Osteria Stella A great find in the Times Square area / The Manhattan Chili Company good quick eats before a show. / ESPN Zone A sports bar, arcade, and MORE! / TGI Friday's Times Square Location. / Pig'n'Whistle, a great Times Square Pub / Ollies, Broadway / Osteria Stella Fine Northern Italian in Times Square / Sylvia's, a southern soul restaurant in Harlem / Fraunce's Tavern Lower Manhattan. GW ate here. / Katz's Deli A NYC landmark