For years, Santa Rosa has been missing a key ingredient for its sweet success: a really good, high-end ice cream shop. Sebastopol has Screaming Mimi’s. Healdsburg has the Downtown Bakery. Even sleepy little Sonoma has a Ben & Jerry’s.
Now, 38 years after it launched its first three flavors from its home base in the Bronx in New York, a Haagen-Dazs ice cream shop has opened in the former Bud’s Coffee space in the Santa Rosa Plaza.
Not only that, but for its grand opening on Saturday, Aug. 15, Haagen-Dazs is going to award one lucky customer free ice cream for a year. That’s right, you heard me. We’re talking 365 scoops of pure, guilty pleasure.
And as the cherry on top, the store will be giving away another 500 scoops of free ice cream that day to the first 500 customers to walk through the door. In your favorite flavor, natch.
Owner Todd Reed, a North Bay native who used to own Toobtown and Q-Zar in Rohnert Park, opened the store in early June along with a sister franchise, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory shop.
“I hooked up with Rocky Mountain first, then added Haagen-Dazs,” he said. “Ice cream and chocolate seemed like a pretty good idea.”
Reed is getting a kick out of watching people’s faces when they duck into his shop for a quick treat. “I see everybody – kids, ladies and guys,” he said. “They just start smiling and giggling.”
Can you name those first three flavors of Haagen-Dazs? Here’s a hint: Crème brulee wasn’t one of them.
Since we’re talking ice cream, here’s a recipe for one of America’s all-time favorites: a root beer float.
Place a glass mug in the freezer until frosted. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the bottom of the mug and slowly pour the root beer on top. Then top with a second scoop of vanilla.
What kind of ice cream and root beer? That’s up to you. Tell me your favorite and I’ll enter it into another contest we’re cooking up around here: a root beer float tasting.