"It's not gelato. It's not shaved ice or snow balls. It's straight-up, old-fashioned ice cream."
That's how owner Sarah Johnston describes the retail outlet of Fat Cat Creamery in The Heights, which will open to the public on Saturday at 11 a.m. After a well-received friends and family preview last weekend, Johnston is ready to show off the shop that's been in development since March. As for the biggest benefit of moving from wholesale to retail, Johnston notes that dramatic increase in the amount of space she has available to her and the corresponding increase in the number of flavors she's able to serve.
Inside, the ice cream parlor has a bright, clean appearance. Upon seeing the pictures, one CultureMap staffer predicted it will be a birthday party destination.
Selections begin with 10 flavors of hard ice cream and two kinds of soft ice cream.
When ice cream fans of all ages come to Fat Cat to celebrate, Johnston has a range of options for them to choose from. Selections begin with 10 flavors of hard ice cream and two kinds of soft ice cream. Two of the hard ice creams will always be dairy free. Johnston says the importance of having options for people who are lactose intolerant has been driven home to her by her best friend in England, who suffers from Crohn's disease.
"I make ice cream, because it's my favorite food," Johnston says, and that's reflected in the old-fashioned way she serves her sweet treats. All the syrups for drinks like the dark chocolate egg cream and cream sodas are made in house. Cocktail-inspired dark and stormy and Shirley Temple-flavored syrups are made by the experts at Anvil.
Johnston recalls the conversation went something like "We can make these syrups for you and we can teach you to make these syrups for yourself." The result, as reflected in a taste of the egg cream during a preview visit, is a deep chocolate flavor that isn't overly sweet like commercial syrups.
Other housemade ingredients include magic shell, maraschino cherries and whipped cream that will be used to top sundaes and milkshakes. Waffle cones are crisp, light and just a little bit sweet. Now everyone can go taste the result of Johnston's six months of development on toppings and two-and-a-half years of ice cream recipe testing.
"I'll be here. All day everyday," she says with a laugh.
Fat Cat Creamery is open Sundays through Wednesdays from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.; Thursdays from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. until midnight.