Operating out of the historic soda fountain corner of the Green Corner Store on 15th and Main, the
newly-opened Loblolly Creamery serves locally made ice cream, sweets and sodas. Inspiration for the business, co-owner Sally Mengle explained, came from the building itself, former home to the C.H. Dawson Drugstore 1905 to 1967. Both she and co-owner Rachel Boswell are passionate about making sweets and ice cream and wanted to honor the building’s rich history.
The business idea “fell in our laps,” Mengle said. “We got to fit the business around the location.”
They debuted samples at the first annual Arkansas Cornbread Festival last month, where they captured an award for their caramel polenta cake. Last night they hosted their second event, a cream and soda tasting with pints of ice cream on sale for $4.
UPDATE: Loblolly won’t officially open until 2012, likely in the spring, though there will be at least one other event between now and then. Once the business opens, pints will go for $5.
Taking place during the Holiday Tree Lighting and Craft Market at the Bernice Garden in the SoMa neighborhood, the fountain area of the Green Corner Store was packed with folks lined up to sample the sweet treats. Nearly everyone who sampled the ice cream left with a pint or two in their hands. Four flavors were available: chocolate sorbet, cinnamon vanilla custard, all-organic scotch pecan and my personal favorite, the tart and punchy citrus sherbet. All flavors are made with Coleman Milk, but they’re seeking out a source for Arkansas pastured milk.
Having been an ice-cream addict for at least two decades now, I consider myself something of an aficionado. Trust me, these flavors won’t disappoint. The ice cream is smooth and the texture a nice halfway point between home-churned and store bought. The flavors are subtle, allowing the texture and milky flavor to shine. Let’s just say that after returning home that evening, I ate nearly an entire pint of citrus sherbet.
Four soda flavors were also available for tasting: a tart cranberry, a smooth and refreshing peppermint green tea, a slightly spicy ginger, and their signature loblolly pine used in root beer floats.
The flavors, Engle said, are inspired by the seasons, and whenever possible local ingredients are used, including honey from Little Rock’s Dunbar Garden and pecans from Indian Bayou Milling Company. All the soda flavors are made by hand, and soon they’ll also be offering from-scratch waffle cones and a variety of candies and baked goods for toppings. All sodas and ice cream will be available for wholesale or catering.
Readers will probably recognize the name Loblolly as our state tree, the Loblolly Pine.
“We want to associate ourselves with Arkansas made, Arkansas natural,” Engle said. “And when you say the word, it kind sounds “like you have ice cream in your mouth,” she adds, laughing.