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Frozen faves: It's time for ice cream, custard and other treats

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

With June in full effect and stay-at-home restrictions easing up, it's officially ice cream season. Just about every neighborhood has a to-go for soft serve, frozen custard, colorful cones and other sweet treats. 

There are seasonal neighborhood stands like Burk's Igloo in Hamtramck and Jim's Frostie Treats in Royal Oak that serve cones, shakes malts and other melt-able desserts. Last week Roger Thompson from Sterling Heights rolled up to Burk's in his 1930s roadster for a butterscotch sundae.

Roger Thompson of Sterling Heights stopped for ice cream at Burk's Igloo with this 1936 Roadster.

"It's my favorite," he said of the sundae, which he enjoyed while standing next to the bright yellow car. 

In Wyandotte, Bob Jo's Frozen Custard is a seasonal hot spot serving huge swirled frozen spires. Open daily at noon, Bob Jo's, which dates back to the 1940s, has new flavors every week like salted caramel custard and boysenberry yogurt. 

Love for classic cones and sundaes will always bring people out on a hot sunny day, as will new, Instagram-worthy creations like the the boozy milkshakes at Browndog Creamery.

Their ice cream "barlor" in Northville will reopen Friday with treats for kids and adults. The Northville and Farmington locations are doing scoop ice cream sales to-go, and during the shutdown they were selling pints on their website

"We do make all of our own ice cream," said co-owner Paul Gabriel, adding that their newest flavor is called "It's 4:00 Somewhere." "It’s a play on tea time, so it’s an Earl Grey tea ice cream and it has this really amazing shortbread cookie chunks in it. The one before that was a Pistachio Stracciatella … we actually pour melted chocolate into the ice cream machine and you get this really fine fleck. It’s really amazing."

Brown Dog in Northville has ice cream treats of all kinds, including boozy milkshakes.

He says the number one seller, though, is the flavor “C is for Cookie,” an homage to Sesame Street's Cookie Monster with cookie dough, Oreos and chocolate chip cookie chunks mashed into blue ice cream. 

Gabriel says that while Northville will open the restaurant Friday, the Farmington location will remain scoop-and-go. Both are taking safety precautions to protect against COVID-19.

"We’re doing everything we can to protect our customers and the staff – masks and gloves and the whole nine yards," he said. 

Tracey Collins, of Detroit, gets a waffle bowl with carmel at the walk up window at Wally's Frozen Custard & Coffee Station in St. Clair Shores, June 7, 2020.

They're doing the same across town at Wally's Frozen Custard on Harper in St. Clair Shores. 

 The drive-thru custard stand recently reopened its walk-up windows once more employees were allowed inside. This season they've modified the windows, so you order at one and pick-up at the other, to keep things flowing. 

"It's working, we'll see how it works once we get really busy, because usually we have two full-service windows going and really rocking it out," said co-owner Matt Ahearn, who also can't open his patio just yet. "But this is what we have to do right now, so we're rolling with it." 

Wally's was founded in the in 1947 at a smaller location just south of where it is now where it's been since 2012. Besides frozen custard, the stand has frozen yogurt, Dole whip, shakes, coolers, floats, coffee drinks, sundaes and even breakfast sandwiches (it opens at 7 a.m. during the week).

The most popular item at Wally's is the whirly, similar to a Dairy Queen Blizzard, with your choice of candy mixed in with frozen custard. 

Tracey Collins, of Detroit, gets a waffle bowl with carmel at the walk up window at Wally's Frozen Custard & Coffee Station in St. Clair Shores, June 7, 2020.

"That's probably one of our top sellers for sure, and obviously our Sanders cream puff is a staple that's been there since the 1940s," he said. 

They also have a mobile fire engine truck that brings Wally's custard to private events, but those rentals have been down because of coronavirus. Though things have been rough during the pandemic, Ahearn and his wife feel the love from their customers. 

"Everybody has been absolutely fantastic, our customers have been extremely patient and just excited and happy and polite, it's been really, really nice opening back up and getting that response and feeling the love from the community." he said.

Twitter: @melodybaetens