Posted May 5, 2017
By KATE HOVAN
As adults, it seems some of our fondest childhood memories come from the simple things. Enjoying ice cream, for example, is always a special memory for many people. During childhood, going out for ice cream was an experience in and of itself. Perhaps, it still is for some children and adults today.
Certain ice cream shops in Miami stand as a testimony to that idea, like Whip’n Dip and Wall’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream. These shops have stood for decades, remaining as the classic, no-frill options that make us nostalgic about our childhoods.
But Miami is a contemporary city, with trendy restaurants, hotels and stores competing for consumer attention. The need for advancement has transcended even the simplest parts of life, like going out to enjoy ice cream.
Today, ice cream shops, and trendy restaurants in general, have become less about having a special treat and more about aesthetic. The expectation of service is relatively the same, but there is a need to constantly present new, innovative and even strange ways to attract customers based on appearance.
More and more ice cream vendors are looking to change the atmosphere of the classic counter service experience. Physical taste is slowly giving way to artistic taste; and customers are certainly buying into the trend, ditching beloved hole-in-the-wall ice cream stores in favor of more unconventional appearances.
Three newly opened ice cream shops in the Miami are also cultivating experiences beyond the flavors, with each adding its own spin on what it means to go out to enjoy ice cream.
If you’re a fan of both music and ice cream, Mr. Kream is the place for you. The lounge, which recently opened in Wynwood, combines cleverly named flavors and an old school, hip-hop vibe.
A DJ booth is the first thing customers see upon entering. The walls are painted with bright colors and adorned with portraits of hip-hop legends. Ice cream flavors are written along the glass freezer in graffiti-style.
At Mr. Kream (which is an acronym that stands for “kids rule everything around me,” a play on the Wu Tang Clan’s “cash rules everything around me,”) customers can find ice cream, decadent sundaes, sorbets, popsicles, milkshakes and even soda and beer floats. There are also two non-dairy ice cream flavors. In addition to ice cream, Mr. Kream serves select beer, wine, coffee and soft drinks.
Be sure to ask for samples of most of their flavors, because the names can be deceiving (like 24K, which is a spin on carrot cake). Flavors change regularly, but the De La Guava is highly recommended. It combines guava fruit with cheesecake bites.
Also, if you happen to need some clothes or spray paint, there’s some of that, too. An enclosed area next to the ice cream counter displays clothes, trinkets and a wide selection of spray paint colors.
Mr. Kream is a counter-service, self-proclaimed lounge where guests can relax at a table or on the couch to read or browse the Internet. Prices are not over the top, with the desserts ranging anywhere from $3.99 to $7.99. There are also numerous coupons on the lounge’s website. With great prices, great ice cream and a great atmosphere, Mr. Kream is likely to stick around.
Miamians can also find another unique ice cream shop in Coconut Grove. Attached to LoKal, arguably the area’s most popular burger joint, also sits one of Miami’s newest ice cream options: a milkshake bar known as Vicky’s House.
Lokal’s owner, Matt Kuscher, designed Vicky’s House as a replica of his mother’s home in the 1980s.
Almost everything from the wallpaper to the floor tiles comes from Kuscher’s mother’s home. Vicky’s House prides itself on its three over-the-top specialty milkshakes: “E.T. Goes to the Movies to Watch the Goonies,” “Golden Girls” and “The Breakfast Club.”
Each milkshake is its own unique masterpiece. “The Breakfast Club,” for example, is a vanilla milkshake with whipped cream, maple syrup, a shot of espresso and a peanut butter and Cap’n Crunch rim.
As an added bonus, the milkshake is topped with a glazed donut from Wynwood’s Salty Donut and Miami Smokers bacon bits. Milkshakes are large and truly meant to be an indulgent treat at Vicky’s House. As such, the menu does not provide a calorie count for each item. With so many different toppings, though, sharing milkshakes with a friend might be best.
As part of the aesthetic, customers can even look in the old-fashioned refrigerator to find drinks, including beer and wine, and in the freezer to find an assortment of Wynwood Parlor ice cream sandwiches. To the left of the fridge is a washing machine filled with ice cold Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.
For newcomers, there is street access to the shop, but head inside LoKal and step into the old-fashioned telephone booth. Whether you enter from the street or the phone booth, though, you will really feel as though you have been transported to the 1980s.
However, seating is limited to several stools at the bar or a couch in the back “living room.”
As for value in pricing, all three specialty milkshakes go for $15, but plain milkshakes are just $7. The ice cream sandwiches are $6 each and Dasher and Crank ice cream is also $7.
Prices are reasonable, especially because milkshakes are large and decadent enough to share. The bar also offers local craft snack and beverage tastings on the first Wednesday of every month from 6-8 p.m. However, at Vicky’s House, the real experience is in the décor.
A new ice cream location in Miami Beach also has its very own take on the ice cream trend: fashion and frozen treats.
KITH Treats in Miami Beach is attached to KITH, a New York City-based clothing store that recently opened its first location in Miami. KITH carries both its “own in-house label [and] a curated selection of multi-brand apparel and footwear,” according to its website. The store is high-end, modern and almost futuristic, with pristine white walls and lights. That design follows through into the KITH Treats section of the store, as well.
Though ice cream and milkshakes are the main attraction at KITH Treats, the service
counter markets itself as a cereal bar, serving ice cream topped with cereal and candy. Customers can choose from an ice cream swirl or a milkshake.
For milkshakes, customers have a choice of which type of milk the shake will be blended with, such as skim or almond.
However, the most unique part of the menu is the cereal box set, which is a collector’s item for fans of the KITH brand.
Customers can order a cardboard box containing a custom KITH bottle filled with their choice of milk, a small bag of cereal and a small bag of toppings.
Essentially, they are purchasing a bowl of cereal that they can put together. Unless you are a KITH enthusiast, you might be better off heading to a nearby Publix.
With that being said, KITH Treats has nothing more to offer than the clothing store it is attached to. First and foremost, parking is difficult around the store and expensive once you find a spot. Ice cream, milkshakes and cereal box sets range from $7 to $11.50.
Many, if not all, of the menu items could very easily be created at home, so it might be best to skip the tedious search for parking and make some cereal at home instead. If the store lasts, it will be solely because of the KITH name printed on the cups.
Ultimately, all three of these new locations has something unique to offer Miami’s ice cream scene. Each shop takes the experience of enjoying ice cream to a new level with different vehicles, like music, vintage décor or fashion.
These are not the run-of-the-mill ice cream shops, but they prove just how much the ice cream experience is becoming an evolving trend as opposed to a timeless experience.
Both Miami and its tourists love aesthetics. These shops certainly bring something new to the table, so they are likely to be hot spots in the coming weeks.
However, only time will tell if hip-hop inspired flavors, outrageous milkshakes, and cereal ice cream really trump the classic sundae from our childhoods.
- Location: 2400 N. Miami Ave., Miami, Fla. 33127
- Phone: 786-659-4541
- Hours: Mondays-Thursdays 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fridays-Saturdays 12 p.m.-1:30 a.m. and Sundays 12 p.m.-9 p.m.
- Website: mrkreamwynwood.com
- Location: 3190 Commodore Plaza, Coconut Grove, Fla. 33133
- Phone: 305-442-3377
- Hours: Mondays-Fridays 6-10 p.m. and Saturdays-Sundays 12-10 p.m.
- Website: vickyshouse.com
- Location: 1931 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, Fla. 33139
- Phone: 786-636-1800
- Hours: Mondays-Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Website: www.kithtreats.com