ummer is in full swing and it’s never been hotter out; just in time for lots of new ice cream and alternative options in Conway. There are so many now it’s almost overwhelming. We enlisted the help of the Cook family to help us figure out which is best and why.
July is National Ice Cream Month, proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. WINC. Magazine took the opportunity to challenge one local family to a feast of the frozen treats.
Joey Cook is the head pastor at City Church in Conway. Cook and his family are highly involved in area leadership in several aspects. Since starting the church five years ago, the Cooks have launched the Toad Suck Daze worship service (which happens the Sunday morning of the festival), as well as Freedom Fest. That’s a free, annual Fourth of July event with fireworks at Lake Beaverfork. (This year’s event is June 30th at 5 p.m.). The City Church congregation recently moved downtown into the old Second Baptist spot on Harkrider. The Cooks are also involved with youth sports in Conway. Joey’s wife, Syndal, was excited for WINC. Magazine’s ice cream challenge; along with their third-grade son Ryder and daughter MJ, a second grader.
I know some people with strong opinions about Pineapple Whip on Harkrider; a food truck in the 10 Box parking lot. They serve many flavors of what resembles soft serve ice cream; although it’s much lighter and very refreshing on a hot day. Their Facebook page shows a Pineapple Float; which they describe as “a yummy combination of real pineapple juice and delicious Pineapple whip. Will make your taste buds dance.” We sent the Cook family here first. They had the pineapple cone, a cherry cone, and the pineapple/cherry twist cone.
— “A truly unique product…the fruity concoction is a treat to the taste buds.” “Get it in a cup so none of the incredible ice cream melts away.”
Kids say: “My cherry cone was so good.”
— “Pineapple Whip is my favorite because I love cherry. It was so so huge and twirly and yummy.”
Las Delicias is opening a second location in downtown this summer. They also cater. Their original store is on the northside of town off Donaghey. Las Delicias is best known for its homemade popsicles, or paletas; but they also have a wide variety of ice cream flavors. In a very informal Facebook poll I took, Las Delicias was the clear favorite in Conway.
People are saying:
— “It’s a Conway grown and owned business, and they have fabulous flavors like Mexican chocolate and sweet corn.”
— “Las Delicias is my favorite because they have so many choices. Everything is delicious.”
— “It’s so different than everywhere else in Conway. You have to try it.”
The Cook family had lots of yummies, from an Oreo ice cream bar, to a chocolate bar with sprinkles, a Mangonada, and something called a Pina Loca (described as Mexican-style pineapple).
— “The mangonada was different than any dessert I’ve ever had and also my favorite. It’s mango ice cream at the bottom with fresh mango on top.”
— “Las Delicious was my favorite. There are no additives or preservatives in any house-made products.”
— “My Oreo bar had a whole Oreo in it!”
Andy’s Frozen Custard is opening a second location on Oak Street. The existing store is very popular on Dave Ward Drive. It’s a favorite for my family for sure. We love the kid sundae made from chocolate custard with M&M’s on top. My daughter and I also request marshmallow sauce be added. It’s amazing!
On my Facebook poll:
— “I’m a sucker for the specials at Andy’s! Right now it’s strawberry shortcake. So good.”
— “We enjoy the outdoor atmosphere of Andy’s.”
—“We go to Andy’s all the time! It’s easy to do after school; you don’t have to get out of the car!”
The Cook’s had a draft root beer float, the James Brown Funky Jackhammer, and chocolate and vanilla cones.
— “The James Brown is incredible! The hot fudge in the center of the flavorful ice cream is the perfect summer treat.”
— “The float took me back to a simple time. It reminded me of coming back into the house after playing hard outside and mom fixing me a scoop of ice cream into an ice cold glass of root beer.”
— “So so so so yummy!”
— “I love Andy’s. We always go get ice cream after every first day of school; it’s a tradition.”
The final place we sent the Cook family was Rita’s Italian Ice. It recently opened by Sam’s Club. They serve custard and Italian ice.
Many on Facebook responded about Rita’s:
— “Rita’s is our favorite! They have the best custard in Conway and the Italian Ice is amazing.”
— “The Money family loves Rita’s Italian Ice!” (that’s from my dietician)!
The Cooks had strawberry Italian ice with vanilla custard on top, a Blendini with root beer Italian ice, chocolate custard, and gummy bears; a chocolate sprinkle and a rainbow sprinkle cone — both chocolate dipped.
— “I was surprised at how good gummy bears are in custard. I guess you can’t mess up Rita’s. It’s incredible!”
— “Rita’s has the smoothest custard. It is my favorite.”
— “I want to eat there every day.”
Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers is making its debut in Conway. You’ve probably seen the new building at Oak Street and Interstate 40. It’s scheduled to open in July.
Franchise owner Paul Hoover says, “We look forward to getting to know and serve the Conway community with cooked-to-order steakburgers and frozen custard freshly churned throughout the day.” Hoover says their Signature Turtle Sundae is a fan favorite.
And possibly the newest ice cream sensation is coming to Conway, based on the “rolled” ice cream concept.
Alex Cottrell is an entrepreneurship student at the University of Central Arkansas, and three months ago, launched an ice cream catering business with a twist.
Roll It! Frozen Cream is operated out of a specialized catering cart, and is as much a show as it is a treat.
“A lot of people say the process is mesmerizing and that they can just sit there and watch me do it all day,” Cottrell says. “Most people try to solve the riddle of how it freezes so fast.”
Roll It! uses real ice cream as a base made by Cottrell’s local crew. That ensures a creamy texture and allows the rolls to be larger.
All-natural cream is frozen with favorite ingredients to create ice cream unique to each patron. The company also has a vegan non-dairy cream option, as well as Italian Ice.
“It literally goes from liquid to solid right before your very eyes. It’s like hibachi for ice cream! After people taste it, they usually say ‘it tastes just like ice cream!’ And ‘it’s so light,’” he says. “Many other Ice cream roll stores use a powder base. Our ratio of ingredients and style of preparation keep the mixture light and airy so you don’t feel heavy or sticky after eating it!”
Roll It! has more than 15 base flavor options. Patrons then have the option of mixing in strawberry, Oreo, blackberry, banana, mocha frappe, Fiddle Faddle, brownie, Reese’s, blueberry, pineapple, cherry, Fruity Pebble, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Sweet Tea. Cottrell says he is always adding to the list.
“What makes it so cool is that our customers can mix and match to create any sort of flavors they want so the possibilities are endless,” he says.
Roll It! will cater events, parties, festivals, weddings and more.
“We’ve worked with organizations all over Conway and the surrounding area including: StateFarm, Conway Christian School, TriTechne, Family Life Bible Church, Morrilton Primary School, LeeAnn’s Fine Jewelry, Better Life Ministries, UCA, Relay for Life & many more,” Cottrell says.
Catering is available in advance or even the day before, depending on availability. Contact Roll It! for booking through the Facebook page @ Roll It Frozen Cream or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are always looking for investors and mentors to help us take this business to the next level,” Cottrell says. “We’re going to keep servicing the community and building the brand while we search for a home!”
“Milk & Sugar” is another rolled frozen option coming soon to Conway. A banner announcing a Prince Street location is hanging in the strip mall near the intersection with Salem Road. More information is available on their Facebook page.
Joey Cook and his family definitely look forward to trying both of those options as well. After all the yummy taste testing, each member of the Cook family agrees, anything cold on a hot summer day is scrumptious!
Joey says, “Simply put, I don’t think I can pick a favorite!” Thank goodness there are so many fabulous options in Conway because there are plenty of HOT days!!!