Pros: Good Service, Great Products
Cons: Melts Faster than its competitors formula
Carvel is a ice cream establishment, that brings back happy memories from my youth. It was a time before girlfriends and a wife tolerated me, and I didn't have to worry about getting the oil changed every 3000 miles. There was no mortgage that needed to be paid while drinking a glass of wine, or health care bills that would confuse even a medical professional. Those days of simplicity and having hair are gone, and the reality is that going to Carvel's is my way of relieving stress.
I first want to salute the dearly departed Tom Carvel, who left us in 1990 after providing society with many contributions. You don't remember Tom Carvel? Many years ago, he had television and primarily radio commercials to advertise his products. They would have music in the background that was influenced by gypsies or carnival folk, and Tom Carvel would gargle with razorblades while upselling Cookie Puss and Fudgie the Whale. While extolling the values of these ice cream cakes, Tom Carvel would sound like he was wheezing from smoking ten packs of unfiltered Pall Malls. He would say, "Cookie Puss...you gotta try .....wheeze.....Cookie Puss....its so good...wheeze....Cookie Puss!" These commercials were unforgettable, and have led to a lot of counseling sessions for post traumatic stress disorder.
Carvel ice cream stores used to be everywhere in the mid-Atlantic region, but there are less stores now than there used to be. There are still over 500 of them, and their products can be purchased at over 8,500 grocery stores. They are mostly known for their cakes and novelty items, but my favorite item is their ice cream cones. As I have let many of you know, I'm proud to admit that I have conservative tastes when it comes to food. Once I find something I like, I usually stick to it. I have been to their two closest locations a fair amount recently, and have looked at their Fruit Drinks and Ice Cream treats. However, I have only had their soft serve cones, which are absolutely delicious.
While Baskin Robbins is known for their old fashioned style ice cream, I always go to Carvel when I want one of these soft serve ice cream cones. They have small and large sizes, and they cost either $1.60 or $2.75. I always seem to end up with the large size, and the flavors at my location are Chocolate, Vanilla, or Swirl. I almost always go with the Chocolate, which is absolutely delightful. It has a flavor that will knock your socks off, without overpowering your palate. It is creamy smooth, and served at just the right temperature.(No ice cream headaches here!) I don't know how to explain this factor completely, but make sure you eat your ice cream fast, or it will melt faster than its competitors. I know what you are saying-"Duh, its ice cream!"
The cones at Carvel are really good, and I have never had a stale one. Their clear plastic cups are good for individuals who are afraid to get messy, or who find ways to get ice cream all over the vinyl interior of their car. Carvel's Sundaes are a must have ,if you want to get a little wild. They have a huge selection of toppings, and I usually go with the hot fudge, strawberries, whipped cream, and a few sprinkles as well. At the store, they will make this in front of you, and will put on the items you desire for the perfect sundae.
The service at their establishments is excellent, and the staff always seems to be real good with kids. One of them made a happy face on a sundae for my niece, and it put a grumpy child in a good mood! They have lots of kid sized items as well. The employees have been very knowledgeable about the products, and have been very quick in assisting customers. The management team has been very proactive as well, and were instrumental in desiging a customized cake for a special ocassion at work. They were also helpful in making sure it was finished on time, so they deserve a lot of credit for their level of service.
Carvel considers cleanliness a vital part of conducting business, and the two locations near me are sparkling clean. There are plenty of sinks/soaps for the employees in the service area to use, and the few tables/carry out area are impeccably kept to high standards. Whenever business slows down to a reasonable level, employees will clean off the tables with sanitizer and remove napkins/cups, etc. Their bathrooms are clean as well, and they are always supplied with the proper amounts of soap and towels. Even the windows in the store appear to be shined on a daily basis.
What are you supposed to do if anti-social, and have to drag yourself to get food from the grocery store?(Even the craziest people hater has to eat!) You can buy Carvel Cakes and ice cream novelties to cheer yourself up! Most grocery stores in my area offer "Love" cakes from the Carvel Line. These cakes serve 3-5 people, however, one night I actually ate one by myself. I know its disgusting, but I was hungry and forgot to check what was left. The cake itself is around 19 ozs, and comes in a variety of designs. I usually go with the yellow happy face, which has chocolate, vanilla, and chocolate chips inside. They are quite delicious, but I do recommend thawing them out for awhile after being taken from the freezer. I actually broke a knife while cutting one once!Flying Saucers(Ice cream sandich UFO'S) can be purchased at grocery locations as well.
One thing I have an issue with Carvel, is their edible image cakes that can be purchased at their stores. These ice cream cakes are designed with a persons picture on top.(It looks 100% real-digital quality) I think this is a bit creepy, and reminds me of the scene from Naked Gun where they were cutting the Queen's face on the cake. I don't know if I want to be at an office party, and seeing one of my "competitors at work" giving me the royal slice. This could have serious implications at more serious work places, where politics is real business.
I like Carvel a lot, and hope you will stop by one of their stores, or try a cake from the grocery store. With their level of service and quality products, they always seem to bring back a base of returning customers. If you want to write to them, or start your own franchise, call 1-800-322-4848. You can write to them at 175 Capital Blvd Suite 400 Rocky Hill, CT 06067. Make sure you address your correspondence to Cookie Puss and Fudgie the Whale!