It's been called America's favorite dessert. And it's a delicious way to beat our summer heat. Everybody wants ice cream this time of year, and a newly opened shop in the Spokane Valley, the GREAT AMERICAN ICE CREAM SHOPPE, can scratch that itch.
"We're like an old-fashioned, neighborhood ice cream shop," says co-owner Roe McGrath.
McGrath and his partner Doug Nelson own the Subway sandwich shop near Albertson's at Highway 27. With their business expanding, McGrath and Nelson needed a bit more space, so they moved into the retail area next door. When they asked customers what sort of business they wanted adjacent to Subway, the overwhelming response was an ice cream shop. McGrath says they went out on a limb, but people were eager for the shop to open and it's become a popular spot.
Great American serves premium ice cream and frozen yogurt from Breyer's, Cascade Glacier and Umpqua. Breyer's, a standby in the Northeast, began making quality ice cream in 1866. Cascade Glacier features cream from the Willamette Valley blended with local fruits, nuts and berries to create 88 flavors of ice cream. Umpqua's award-winning ice cream is made in Oregon at a family-owned dairy.
McGrath says, "Our most popular flavors are huckleberry cheesecake, licorice, brownie mud pie, bubblegum, rainbow sherbet, mango sorbet, and Oreo cookies and cream."
Great American delivers the goods in hard-pack ice cream cones, milkshakes, sundaes, banana splits, smoothies and floats. Prices are hard to beat as well. A one-scoop cone is $1, two-scoop cone or dish is $2. A pint of ice cream goes for $4, and a half gallon is $5.
"We wanted to keep prices down so people can enjoy some ice cream and not break the bank," McGrath explains.
True to the name, the d & eacute;cor is rustic Americana. The patriotic red, blue and tan interior was designed by McGrath's wife, Cindy, who also created the shop's artwork and logo.
"It's neat to see a grandpa bring his granddaughters in for an ice cream treat at our shop," McGrath says.
-- SUSAN HAMILTON
The Great American Ice Cream Shoppe, 13411 E. 32nd Ave., Suite D, is open Mon-Sat 11 am-10 pm. Call 893-8856.
DISTILL-PUB See and Be Seen
The bar comes first at BARDENAY, a Boise-based distiller of rum, gin and vodka recently expanded to Coeur d'Alene's trendy Riverstone development. From floor to ceiling, the bar spans most of the 6,000-plus-square-foot space appointed in urban lodge stylings: stone, chrome, ductwork, dark wood and leather. Behind the bar, topshelf offerings include Bombay Sapphire and Lagavulin scotch. Wine -- 30 are available by the glass -- is served in what Bardenay's Website describes as "bouquet friendly" thin-lipped stemware to "enhance the experience." Order a red beer (for you novices, that's "cheap" beer and tomato juice) and you'll likely get Chimay Red Label, one of several dozen imports.
Bardenay is decidedly upscale with a matching clientele according to my dining companion, who pointed out the country club set, the mayor, etc. Ah, alcohol and money -- the perfect pair.
The drink menu reads like a travel brochure. The tropical Iguanabana has Bardenay rum, lime, Midori and guanabana nectar ($5). Pure fruit liqueurs offer a mini-European vacation in the apple martini with Berentzen apple liqueur, Bardenay vodka and cinnamon ($6.25). Classic martinis say urban sophisticate, with Bardenay gin (served frozen, so as not to dilute it) and Lillet Blanc (versus traditional vermouth), and such garnish choices as bleu cheese-stuffed olives and jalapeno-soaked garlic cloves.
The food menu is equally eclectic with Asian, Mexican, and Mediterrenean accents like the sashimi salad, red bean and chorizo stew, and appetizer plate of hummus, baba ghannouj and pita ($3-$13). Other prospects include the grilled Portobello mushroom sandwich ($8) and entr & eacute;e of Hagerman trout filet served with capers and a balsamic reduction ($12). Although my Bloody Mary was spicier than the chili and cumin spiced calamari ($7), the wasabi tartar had a nice kick.
As the nation's first combined restaurant and distillery, Bardenay -- which is sailor-speak for cocktail -- is a unique concept that the owner plans to expand beyond Idaho. It's something of a centerpiece in Riverstone as well, perched on the six-acre man-made lake of Coeur d'Alene's newest multi-million dollar community purported to accommodate 2,500 residents and 5,000 workers -- all within walking distance of Bardenay.
-- CARRIE SCOZZARO
Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery, 1710 Riverstone Dr., Coeur d'Alene, is open 11 am-close (varies from midnight to 2 am). Call (208) 765-1540 or visit www.bardenay.com. Grand opening July 19.