Not since Starbucks poured its first venti in Indianapolis (for you history buffs, that was 1999 at Butler University) has there been an indulgence-deliverer more eagerly anticipated here than the arrival of Graeter’s Ice Cream.
Opening in a former dry cleaning spot in the Illinois Street shops (5560 N. Illinois St., 253-1405) with another to follow in Fishers, Graeter’s has an army of welcoming fans who no longer have to make pilgrimages to Cincinnati to satisfy their cravings.
The new Illinois Street spot is short on parking—and the seating inside is limited to tiny two-seat tables—but otherwise there’s little here to disappoint fans or newbies.
For the sake of the latter, here’s a beginner’s guide.
• Origin. Graeter’s traces its history back to 1868, when Louis Graeter arrived in Cincinnati and began selling his ice cream at a street market.
• French pot. While it sounds like something that could get you 5-to-10, French pot is actually a small-batch process in which two gallons of ice cream are hand-swirled and slow-frozen. The result is an ice cream low on added air while not being overly dense.
• Flavors. Graeter’s scoops ($2.99 for one, $4.59 for a double) are big on its chocolate chips—actually chocolate chunks—which find their delicious way into such choices as Toffee Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and the one I recommend for your first visit, Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip. Also available here: Bourbon Ball—a favorite of the Kentucky-based franchise owner.
• Toppings. You’ll find a wide range but not a lot of surprises. Don’t expect the absurd assortment you find in most yogurt shops.
• Fresh ingredients. Graeter’s boasts of using Ohio-farmed fresh cream and milk (with no artificial growth hormones) and 100 percent cane sugar.
• Sundaes. For $4.99, you can have your ice cream transformed into, among others, a Banana Split (the pecans are a nice, crunchy touch), and a Cookie Monster (combining cookie dough chip, cookies and cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry).
• Beyond ice cream. This Graeter’s also sells sorbet and gelato, but ice cream is its raison d’etre.
• Grab and go. Pints of ice cream and gelato ($4.89) are also available to go—along with candy (both Graeter’s branded and not) and, oddly, greeting cards.•