I Scream, You Scream

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We All Scream For Ice Cream

Story by Dave Eckert

The Dog Days of summer are upon us with sweltering heat and oppressive humidity. So, what do you do to escape the prevailing conditions, even if only temporarily? May I suggest a cup or cone of ice cream?


Photo courtesy of  Poppy’s Ice Cream and Coffee House

Poppy’s Ice Cream and Coffee House

Let’s start our ice cream explorations in Lee’s Summit with a visit to Poppy’s Ice Cream and Coffee House and owner Teresa Poppinga. “We make all ice creams, sorbet, and custard in-house. Our menu consists of scoops, shakes, sundaes, concretes, sorbet fizzy, floats, and more,” Poppinga shared.

Poppinga says freshness is the key. “All of our products are made daily in micro-batches, keeping it super fresh. We use a 14-percent butterfat base in our ice creams, our custard is a 10-percent base, and our sorbets are made from scratch with fruit purees from France. In using a high butterfat base and freezing it quickly, our ice creams are ultra-creamy and smooth,” Poppinga shared.

As for favorites, there are many: “Goldmine, Fleur de Sel, the Kitchen Sink, Chocolate coma, Vietnamese iced coffee, cappuccino-tiramisu, Poppy’s mud, and tons more,” Poppinga listed. For me, it’s the Fleur de Sel, but hey, don’t let me influence you-take a drive to Lee’s Summit and check ‘em out for yourself.


Photo courtesy of  Poppy’s Ice Cream and Coffee House

High Hopes Ice Cream

Chef Jamie Howard worked at Betty Rae’s, helping develop flavors for the then-new River Market location. Howard left the company for a position elsewhere, only to then find herself back in the ice cream trade as the owner of High Hopes Ice Cream, a walk-up window on Troost just a little south of 55th Street. “A ‘For Rent’ sign popped up in the window at what was then The Happy Apple Café. After viewing the space twice, I got bold and signed the lease,” Howard shared.

So, High Hopes was born. But, why ice cream and why High Hopes? Howard says she chose ice cream because she liked making it, loved the creative aspect of it, and saw selling it as a Covid-proof, recession-proof business. As for the name, that came from her original plan to operate a cannabis-infused ice cream business-a plan that was dashed when frozen desserts were excluded from the list of potential products in Missouri. But the name was already selected, so High Hopes it was.

Just a little under a year later, this little walk-up window that could is living up to its name, selling scoop after scoop of some of the best, most creatively flavored ice cream in the metro. I visited recently, tasted all 17 flavors they had available that day, and left completely impressed and wanting more. “I want to highlight local vendors, breweries, and urban farms. We’ve partnered with City Barrel Brewery, Black Hole Bakery, Eden’s Eating Blackberries, Missing Ingredient, Local Pig, Union Horse Distillery, and KC Mushroom Culture. The partnerships have allowed us to churn out ice creams like: Strawberry Birthday Beer Cake, The Saturn Sammie, Blackberry Lemonade, Mint Chip, The Local Breakfast, Bourbon Butter Pecan, and Malted Candy Cap Mushroom,” Howard stated. If you think the names are intriguing, just wait till you try the ice cream. Walk on up. They’re waiting for you!


Photo courtesy of Betty Rae’s Ice Cream

Betty Rae’s Ice Cream

Although only open six years, Betty Rae’s Ice Cream has developed one of the most devout followings in the metro. From the beginning, Betty Rae’s has focused on creative, constantly evolving flavors, delicious and diverse local collaboratives, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. At the helm these days is 24-year-old Alex Rogers, who went from scooper, to manager, to owner in four short years. “I never expected it. I thought maybe one day I’d buy and open a shop down the road, but here I am, the owner of two Betty Rae’s shops and one Betty Rae’s Ice Cream truck,” Rogers told me during a recent visit.

It’s almost impossible not to like Rogers immediately and it is nearly impossible not to like Betty Rae’s Ice Cream. Rogers says he’s leaving the ice cream creation and flavor development in the hands of Kitchen Manager Kirby Clause while he focuses on service, ambiance, and building a permanent bridge for Betty Rae’s to share with customers. “I want the shops to be places where communities can be made and where people feel welcome. There are too many places right now where people don’t feel welcome,” Rogers shared.

On the ice cream side of things, there is Clause. Having worked at Betty Rae’s in the past, he worked with famed chocolatier Christopher Elbow and returned to Betty Rae’s when Rogers purchased it. Clause has already created some of the most popular flavors in Betty Rae’s history. The Joe’s BBQ Burnt End Ice Cream, a collaboration with Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, is one such example. The Burnt End Ice Cream showcases two of Betty Rae’s strengths-an experimental vision and partnerships with local Kansas City food and beverage-based businesses. “That’s another aspect of what I want to do-push those partnerships as far as we can and help small businesses across the metro get their name out,” Rogers said.


Photo courtesy of Betty Rae’s Ice Cream

KaleidoScoops

Finally, perhaps the most unique of my ice cream visits – KaleidoScoops ice cream parlor in Kansas City, Kansas. Located on Parallel Parkway in the heart of KCK, KaleidoScoops is unique in many ways: it’s owned by a female African American and mother of three boys, it is a co-op, and it does not serve its own ice cream. “Most of the people who formed the co-op were ex-Baskin Robbins owners who grew weary of ever-increasing franchise fees, so they went out on their own. It was the co-op that found Cedar Crest Dairy out of Wisconsin to supply the ice cream-over 34 daily flavors with more than 86 rotating flavors!” owner April Redec shared. It’s certainly hard to pick a favorite out of 90-some flavors, but when pressed Redec says she loves a brownie sundae made with cookie monster ice cream (my favorite of the half dozen or so flavors I tried).

Redec operates the only local KaleidoScoops, and she says she’s the only KaleidoScoops in a large metropolitan area. That, she says, plays a big role in her mantra of diversity and inclusion. “Everyone’s welcome. This is a place of inclusion for all cultures, all religions, all lifestyles, all demographics. Everyone’s welcome!” Redec beamed. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a hand-scooped cone of inclusion any day!

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