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Cold Stone Creamery

  • h

They just opened a new Cold Stone Creamery a few miles from my house.

It was really cool. I took the kids last night and the place was packed. They had about ten high school/college kids behind the counter.

The mood was very upbeat. Every time someone walked in they would yell "Welcome to Cold Stone". Every time someone put a few coins in their tip jar they would sing.

The ice cream was top quality with fun mix ins and the kids had a fun time out.

I had never been to one before, I have a hard time believing that all of the stores are like this.

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  1. There is much better ice cream to be had out there than Cold Stone.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Poodle Mama

      Yes, but the experience is fun, especially for the kids who can make up their own combinations.

      1. re: Poodle Mama

        Second that. On the urgings of a friend, I agreed to try Coldstone. I ate a few bites and put it in the freezer. I never did finish it...it was too sweet, the texture off, and the flavor was lacking. Not worth the calories. Sad to say, I ended up dumping it.

        1. re: LT from LF

          Handels in Ohio is part of a small chain of ice cream stands. It is the only place I have seen where people order ice cream in cones and dishes without any toppings. I have never seen anyone order a sunday or fancy frozen dessert. That is a testament to how good Handels ice cream is. It is smooth, rich and creamy and made fresh each day at each location. They have a raspberry truffle that is decadent. Chech out their web site.
          We went to Coldstone once and did not really think it was that good plus it was very expensive. Handels is much cheaper and the servings are very large.

      2. Sounds like the kind of place I would avoid.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DenT

          Just this weekend I made the choice between Brusters and Cold Stone which were just across the street from one another. What tipped the scale to Brusters? not having to hear the damn tip-singing. But now the OP has made me feel like a jaded b*&^%. ;-)

          This city has not one single non-chain ice cream parlor. When someone local opens an ice cream parlor, they proudly display a sign that says "serving Edy's ice cream" or something else horrid.

          Cold Stone is a step up from Marble Slab, IMO. Had I gone there, I would have ordered Coffee ice cream w/ Toffee and Almonds. A classic flavor combo that is hard to f-up.

        2. Thanks for such a great post. It made me smile. Sounds like the family had a great experience.

          Even though I'm not a fan of Cold Stone Creamery, it was interesting to see how it appeals to families.

          No, unfortanetly all Cold Stone Creameries don't have the happy staff. Most are pleasant with a few sullen teens, but it's hard to be unhappy around ice cream. Haven't heard any singing, but I'm almost tempted to go to one and throw something in the tip jar to see what happens.

          The ice cream itself is just ok, but the add ins pep up the taste and are fun as you said.

          Ice cream doesn't have to be gourmet for kids to love it. We have lots of ice cream trucks here serving little better than Good Humor and it always makes the kids happy.

          Thanks for sharing.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rworange

            The "happy staff" are performing as part of their job description. I find it demeaning (to them) and embarrassing (to me).

          2. I've visted three across the country. They were all as you describe. I'm sure kids love it. I wanted to throw something at them, but I can see the appeal.

            1. Sometimes you sell the steak..but if the steak ain't that great
              ..........you sell the sizzle

              15 Replies
              1. re: Phu Bai

                You know, thinking about it, can anyone who is not a fan of Cold Stone think of a better option?

                Baskin Robbins has a better base ice cream, IMO, mainly because they use sugar rather than corn syrup in their ice cream. However, they don't have those mix-ins that is the draw of Cold Stone, singing and fun atmosphere aside.

                1. re: rworange
                  Janet from Richmond

                  Bruster's, while not having the mix-ins of Cold Stone, has far superior ice cream IMO. I find Cold Stone's ice cream waaaay too sweet and not flavoful at all unless you mix a lot of stuff in it. But I understand the appeal of it, especially for people with kids. It is a "fun" place. But even Friendly's has better ice cream and much better sundaes than Cold Stone.

                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                    A second vote for Bruster's. Not overly sweet, and I can taste a difference in terms of freshness compared to Baskin-Robbins.

                    1. re: BW Jill

                      I'm so-so on Brusters, but one of my co-workers has a serious habit. She says she will call the store and ask if they have chocolate pecan that day and the person who answers says "Yes, Mrs. F"

                  2. re: rworange
                    JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

                    I can think of three much, much better options.

                    Mary Coyle, Phoenix AZ
                    Sugar Bowl, Scottsdale AZ
                    Angel Sweet, Chandler AZ

                    You may think the list doesn't do much good if you aren't in the greater Phoenix area, but it does show a good point: Small ice cream shops produce products leagues ahead of Baskin-Robbins, Haagen-Dazs, and Cold Stone.

                    And if you're ever anywhere *near* the Phoenix area, you really should try all three of them. Especially Angel Sweet... Oh. My. God.

                    Link: http://thecosmicjester.blogspot.com

                    1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

                      Yeah, that was what I was hoping for. That people would give alternatives and not just gripe about Cold Stone.

                      My hat off to you for even offering suggestions for the better Cold Stone mix options. So, the wallpaper paste consistancy has a purpose to keep the mix ins glued together.

                      I'm beginning to wonder though about the family-orientedness of Cold Stone. Looking at their site they discuss 'cone cleavage'. Hmmm.

                      I still think the original post was sweet and gave me a different perspective on Cold Stone. Although, I hope the original poster does ask about other ice cream options on another board.

                      As silly as this might sound, in one sense, Cold Stone does promote a sense of seeking out better food and more 'gourmet' options.

                      I mean, when you were a kid, wasn't it SO exotic that Baskin Robbins had so many exotic flavors. Maybe that is what launched some of us into looking into gelatto or other more creative food.

                      Again, what is cool to a kid, isn't necessarily cool to an adult. Think of those little plastic wax candy bottles that probably had toxic stuff in them ... sigh ... I still think of those fondly.

                      1. re: rworange
                        JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

                        Cold Stone has definitely been trying to skew more adult lately. It wouldn't surprise me if someone in their marketing department realized that they make more money off of adults since kids frequently don't get anything more than a small with the one complimentary mix-in, while grown-ups do bigger sizes with lots of mix-ins (60 cents for a single Reese's peanut butter cup? ACK!) and therefore make more money for the company.

                        Link: http://thecosmicjester.blogspot.com

                        1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

                          Oh ... if they are marketing to adults, then they are evil. Maybe that's where the cone cleavage comes in. Sex in the creamery. Food porn.

                          Yeah, in that case they either need to up the quality of the ice cream or offer booze as mix-ins. I'd join in the singing then. I'll stop now on this subject. Really.

                      2. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

                        I was recently in Phoenix. I wish I'd known about your three recommendations.

                        In Phoenix, I went to Marble Slab, a franchise that makes the same type of mix-ins as Cold Stone. I thought Marble Slab's ice cream was markedly better than Cold Stone.

                        To acknowledge the OP, ColdStone is a fun place and it's nice to watch kids enjoy ice cream.

                      3. re: rworange

                        Aside form the boutique purveyors out there, a better option than Stone Cold is Wegman's premium ice cream (I realize that not everyone has access to this). It reminds me very much of the wonderful Schwans super-premium pints that I used to get delivered, which is also available to a wider public. You can always check their website, linked below.

                        Link: http://www.schwans.com/

                        1. re: rworange

                          Christina's in Cambridge, MA. I live in NYC and it's still the best....a scoop of burnt sugar and scoop of mexican chocolate and i'm in heaven!

                          1. re: rworange

                            In the Bay, Double Rainbow for starters. Loards has better ice cream. There's at least one Ben & Jerry, in the Haight. And I agree, for someone like me who just wants a single scoop of good ice cream without all the stuff, Baskin Robbins is much better than Cold Stone.

                            1. re: Shep
                              NYC-Detroit Al

                              Ice cream in S.F.? It has to be Mitchell's on San Jose (right behind where I used to live on Dolores). Mexican chocolate, lemon chiffon, macapuno, heaven!!

                              1. re: NYC-Detroit Al

                                See, there's Mitchell's, and I didn't even start on the dozens at least of mom'n'pop gelaterias, yogurt shops, and frozen custard stands, many of which make their own proprietary recipes.

                                1. re: NYC-Detroit Al

                                  Thanks for the memories! I grew up right near Mitchell's...takes me back to my fave Mitchell's combo: Scoop of Chocolate on the bottom, scoop of orange sherbet on the top.

                          2. Sounds like the singing and good cheer was most likely instigated by one of those kids as way of making the evening go faster. I don't know about the ice cream as I am not an ice cream enthusiast, I'm easliy satisfied with Thifty aka Rite Aid ice cream.

                            1. j
                              JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

                              One warning with Cold Stone... do not, under any circumstances, order the ice cream plain. If you do that, you'll find that it has a very unpleasant similarity to wallpaper paste. You're best off doing at least two mix-ins, three is ideal (a couple of my favorite combos are cheesecake ice cream with a brownie, black cherries, and roasted almonds; and coffee ice cream with fudge swirl, brownie, and blackberries), but at that point price-wise you're better off going to the store and grabbing two pints of Ben & Jerry's.

                              Link: http://thecosmicjester.blogspot.com

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)
                                Paul A. Eisenstein

                                I think the last post was a defamation to wallpaper paste. Sadly, Coldstone represents the other side of what Chowhound represents. At 52, a displaced New Yorker living for 27 years in Michigan, I have watched an explosion of truly great cuisine reaching into the hearland. But Coldstone is part of the yang here, a bland chain-driven mediocrity aimed at people that cannot differentiate the over-hyped and tasteless. Nice concept. Some real ice cream and maybe they'd truly be there.
                                By the way, have Chowhound readers noticed an explosion of places now describing their products not as ice cream, but gelato? Yet far too often, they also suffer from Coldstone syndrome...bland, tasteless and over-priced.

                                1. re: Paul A. Eisenstein

                                  You couldn't have said it better! I had their ice cream plain on one occassion and could not eat more than a couple of spoonfuls for it was not only bland but sticky and grainy. There are so many more options at reasonable prices that don't make such a mockery of ice cream (if you can call it that).

                              2. Personally, having gad five ice cream cones in the past 48 hours at the Boone County (IL) and the Wisconsin State Fair, you try all of the ice cream and some you enjoy more than others. After all, your toal investment is somewhere around $3. It is not like you are buying a car where you are dropping $30k for and will be stuck years in.

                                Personally, I don't enjoy the foo-foo super premium ice creams that a lot of people drool over. And I am not driving 50 miles to find out which ice cream shop is the best in Chicagoland.

                                It is amazing how much fun it is to see 10 year old Cub Scouts in Belvidere, IL scooping out ice cream ... or is the proper term, trying to scoop out 2-dip ince cream cones. Or the girls on the cheerleading squad at North Boone High School. No portion control concerns and all for $1. WOW!

                                1. A Cold Stone just opened around the corner from us. DH and I have only gone a couple times b/c it's so expensive and the wait is forever. IMHO, it's OK once in a while, but for the same money, i can make awesome ice cream at home or buy better ice cream at the store and mix in my own stuff.
                                  As for the "happy" kids singing, I highly doubt that's spontanteous merriment. More like non-negotiable company policy. And when you're standing in line for 45 minutes waiting to get served, waiting for people to make up their minds b/c they are overwhelmed by the choices, no matter that they were standing in line for 30 minutes and couldn't figure it out before, it gets old REAL fast. Last time we went, before I put the tip in the jar, I made the cashier promise not to sing and he was more than happy to oblige.

                                  1. I could see how the circuses would appeal if you had kids. I'm picky about my ice cream and don't have kids so the atmostphere is irrelevant to me. Personally, I found the enforced singing and clapping embarrassing and the ice cream was too sweet and rather gritty tasting. In the Chicago area, there's far better stuff available at Kilwin's in LaGrange, Australian Ice Cream in the Loop, frozen custard from Scooter's, gelato from all kinds of places, and even soft serve from Tastee Freeze in Berwyn is preferable IMO. I swear I'm less grumpy once I've gotten my ice cream.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Kimm

                                      And Hartigan's in Evanston, and Homer's in Wilmette, and the Village Creamery in Skokie, and - well, you get the idea...

                                      Honest to Pete, I just can't fathom why people would bother to go to bogus chain ice-cream places in the Chicago area. There are numerous great privately-owned places like the foregoing that, on their worst day, are better than any Cold Stone on its best. Bah!

                                      Link: http://www.villagecreamery.com/index_...

                                      1. re: peg

                                        Of course, how could I forget Peterson's? I once had a pink grapefruit sorbet from Grumpy's Cafe in Riverside (features Peterson's ice cream) that made me so very happy!

                                    2. while i have to agree with the general concensus that cold stone is not the best icec ream in the world, i have to say that it sure hit the spot on a recent sunday morning. that's right, i said morning. after having a lovely drunken night on the upper east side, i headed to the times square location where one lonely man mixed me an apple pie ice cream without any singing, dancing, or the like. it hit the spot. i would not, however, recommend the joint at any other time than 10am.