If you find a mermaid fin in your ice cream, don’t worry, it’s not a mistake at The Scoop located in Ellington. This is just the ice cream café’s style. It’s one of several bright and popping garnishes that add to the aesthetic of FunShakes, a staple dessert at the café.
Having fun is the name of the game at The Scoop, opened in 2017 by nurse practitioner and Ellington resident Kelly Nolin. She fulfilled a dream just two years ago, that began with a Pinterest board, by opening the shop by the Ellington Town Green.
“I was a nurse for 30 years and I always had this idea in the back of my head, kind of swimming around. It never really went anywhere. I had this Pinterest board that was called something like ‘Ice Cream Shops’ for the dream day when that came,” Nolin said.
At the end of her graduate schooling, Nolin decided it was time to make her dream into a reality. “I was at the end of my graduate schooling and everything kind of just fell into place,” Nolin said.
After raising her children in Ellington, Nolin was inspired and sought to create a place where local kids could spend time unwinding after school. “I live in town and I raised my kids here in town. I realized there was nowhere here for them to go after school to get an ice cream and sit and hang out or to use the Wi-Fi and have a coffee. We’re very close to the high school and right on the Green, so I thought this would be the perfect spot. And then it was born,” Nolin shared.
The 18 Church Street location has a welcoming atmosphere of bright décor, friendly staff and a traditional case filled with gallons of ice cream offerings. The nostalgia of peering through the glass to observe rows of flavors is made possible at the center of the café.
Outside, tables surround fun activities including outdoor Jenga and cornhole. On select dates, patrons can enjoy live music performed by Ellington locals.
The Scoop serves an array of foods and drinks including all-natural, non-GMO ice cream, healthy smoothies, homemade whipped cream, locally roasted coffee, Ghirardelli chocolate-dipped ice cream cones, custom cakes and more. Mindful to those with specific dietary needs, The Scoop also serves non-dairy ice cream and sorbets as well as gluten free ice cream cones. Customers are welcome to order custom ice cream cakes in several sizes ranging from personal to small, large and sheet. Some examples of ice cream cakes created in the past include Spiderman and unicorns.
Among the most visually captivating items on the menu is the FunShake, ice cream shakes packed with just about anything sweet that fits inside of the tall glass. The treats are made for the consumer with the ultimate sweet tooth. From chocolate shapes to lollipops, the possibilities are seemingly endless. The crazy confections are inspired by a term Nolin came across on Pinterest, “Freak Shakes.”
“I’m always looking for fun things to do with [FunShakes.] I saw these things on Pinterest called ‘Freak Shakes,’ but I don’t like that term. I didn’t think it was kid-friendly, so we call them ‘FunShakes.’ I have a really creative group of girls and guys that work with me and we really just have fun,” Nolin shared.
For the staff at The Scoop, creativity is highly encouraged when concocting a new FunShake variety. “We started just playing around with FunShakes and then the ‘Unicorn FunShake’ was born and then the ‘Mermaid FunShake.’ We did things like ‘Peanut Butter Madness’ and ‘Chocolate Madness’ in the past. We’re always thinking of something new,” Nolin said.
The “Mermaid FunShake” features a blue mermaid fin made from chocolate, sweet frosting, homemade whipped cream, sparkling sprinkles and a stick of rock candy. The “Unicorn FunShake” features a lollipop, a rainbow of sprinkles and a pile of bright and fluffy cotton candy.
The Scoop also offers “Cameo FunShakes” that are typically served during the holidays. Examples of FunShakes offered at the café in the past include an “Easter FunShake” complete with a marshmallow Peep and chocolate eggs and the “Lucky Leprechaun FunShake”, garnished with Lucky Charm marshmallows and green sprinkles.
“Basically, we have fun making them. They’re rarely ever the same thing twice. We try, but we don’t try too hard. Every one has its own little flair. It’s like art,” Nolin said.
When Nolin decided to introduce FunShakes to the menu, she said she expected patrons to share them. “I thought ‘Isn’t this a cute thing to have for a couple or a sister and a brother?’ But no, people started getting their own!” Nolin laughed.
The FunShakes aren’t the only standout offering at The Scoop. Alongside traditional flavors, the café also serves uncommon flavors including “Mexicali,” a chocolate flavor with a spicy bite and “Blueberry Honey Lavender,” a light and summery flavor.
As Nolin spoke with Go Local, her dog Ginger danced between her feet. Representing her adoration for dogs, The Scoop is a dog-friendly location that offers “Pup Cups” and “Puppicinos” for furry friends.
The Scoop is hoping to start offering smoothie bowls in the near future as well as fun sundaes. “We’re going to take all of the craziness and silliness we have in our FunShakes and morph it into an ice cream sundae,” Nolin said. Nolin shared that The Scoop is also looking into events including a “messy face contest” to see who has the best messy, ice cream eating face and a harvest party during the fall.
For the summer season, the outdoor patio has featured performances from local musician Bruce John and local band The Rolling Beat. Performances will continue throughout the summer.
Nolin shared that she feels The Scoop is not just a café, but also a fun experience for patrons. “Come for a fun experience. It’s not just getting an ice cream. Come in, try our different flavors and ask for a sample. It’s fun to try them. Play some outdoor games, enjoy the sunshine and listen to some music on the patio. It’s an experience,” Nolin said.
The Scoop is open seven days a week from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hours may vary based on weather. For more information about The Scoop, visit the café’s Facebook page at facebook.com/thescoopicecreamcafe or their website ellingtonscoop.com. The Scoop can be reached at 860-454-0996.
While ice cream in the summer seems like a no-brainer, The Scoop remains open year-round. Keep up with their Facebook page to see when holiday items pop up. Past offerings include apple pie a la mode and pumpkin ice cream!
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