Starkville’s new sweet treat factory is pure imagination

July 13, 2016 in Business, Uncategorized

In-house, handmade Oreo cookies are among the many treats available at the new Churn and Spoon: Magnificent Frozen Treats, due to open July 18. Facebook photo

In-house, handmade Oreo cookies are among the many treats available at the new Churn and Spoon: Magnificent Frozen Treats, due to open July 18.
Facebook photo

STARKVILLE, Mississippi (AP) — Shane Reed slips on deep, royal blue cotton gloves over his hands.

“Watch this,” he says with a smile and a wink. He takes a long hose out of a coupling and dangles it over a titanium mug. A twist of a valve sends a haunting, almost alien sound through a 5-foot, 600-pound shiny tank. The noise screeches, pumping hazy smoke out of the mouth of the hose into the mug.

Nitrogen. At 320 below zero, to be exact.

Amid the chrome and smoke, to a casual passerby, Reed might look a lot like Doc Brown working on the DeLorean from the “Back to the Future” film series. Reed smiles and giggles like a kid in an ice cream shop. Lucky for him, he is.

Stepping foot inside Starkville’s new sweet treat eatery, one feels transported back in time – both to the ice cream parlors of the past and one that recently closed in the same spot. When Reed opened Strange Brew Coffehouse at the corner of Spring Street and Highway 12 in Starkville in 2004, he divided a section of the building for a franchise ice cream establishment.

“We had a cool time running it – no pun intended,” Reed said. “Starkville really needed a great coffee shop and ice cream place and we were excited to bring it to them. We got into ‘local’ before it was a buzzword. We were always trying to buy local and bring in local ingredients. We always thought that made sense for ice cream, but you can’t do that in a franchise. When our agreement was up, we decided to create our own concept. We really wanted to be creative, be local and do stuff that’s never been done before.”

Reed and his wife Katelyn have set out to do just that with Churn and Spoon: Magnificent Frozen Treats.

I’ve got a golden ticket

More than a year ago, Shane and Katelyn started embarking on journeys across the U.S. to learn more about ice cream: how it’s made, what people like and what keeps them coming back for more. They brought their research back home to Oktibbeha County and decided to make a little magic.

“My wife is an amazing baker, and I’m an amazing eater,” Shane said. “We combined those skills.”

Listening to the menu of items the couple had been brainstorming was like listening to children coming up with imaginary names for food to be served at a tea party for dolls. But each one sounded a little more intricate and captivating than the last.

There’s the “Netflix and Chill,” which features hot, buttered popcorn. “The Breakup” offers chocolate-covered potato chips. “Kablam” gives kids a cotton candy taste with Pop Rocks hidden inside. And quite possibly the one they’re most proud of: “The Southern.” Molasses ice cream with fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits on top. Shane’s eyes began to roll back in his head as he spoke, craving some then and there.

“Doesn’t that sound good?” he laughed. “You want one right now, don’t you?”

While buttermilk biscuits weren’t on the menu at that time, the Reeds did prepare a few different concoctions for tasting using the liquid nitrogen, including warm apple pie and vegan, coconut, Earl Gray tea ice cream.

“It’s some of the smoothest, creamiest ice cream you can get,” Katelyn said, serving up a large order of the apple pie, the hazy smoke billowing off the dome of cream.

“It’s backed up by science,” Shane added. The nitrogen in the ice cream keeps the frozen elements from developing ice crystals, bringing the flavor to the forefront of the dessert.

But nitrogen isn’t the only magnificent frozen treat the Reeds have planned. It’s just one item on a very chilled list that should keep Starkville residents cool this summer.

“There’s four basic pillars,” Shane said. “You have the nitrogen, but we also have milkshakes, Popsicle and gourmet, hand-dipped ice cream. We want to go crazy with flavors and creations while still making stuff that tastes really good.”

The couple warns patrons that it’s not a “diet place.”

“We want everybody to feel welcome,” Shane said. “We have gluten-free options for waffle cones. Vegan ice cream. Sugar-free and non-fat options as well. It’s all going to taste good.”

By everybody, the Reeds really mean everybody.

“We’ve got dog ice cream, too,” Katelyn said. “‘Pawpuccinos,” Shane added. The two smile at each other, pleased with themselves. Eating the apple pie ice cream, one can see why. In addition to the myriad of other offerings they’re prepping before they open this week, the two also sat around discussing ideas for ice cream cakes and sandwiches.

I want it now

The Reeds have another project people have been talking about in Tupelo.

“Reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated,” Shane Reed said about Strange Brew Coffehouse’s sister store, Brewpelo, that was to open in Tupelo in February at the corner of West Jefferson Street and North Gloster.

Construction delays have kept the duo from opening the coffeehouse, but Shane said that it’s on track and hopes to see the business open at the start of September.

“We can’t wait to be there,” Shane said, “and some elements of Churn and Spoon will be coming with us.”

The Reeds plan to bring the hand-dipped ice cream, Popsicle and “pawpuccinos” of their new parlor along when the doors open for Tupelo residents.

“We just want a place where you can come in one of these places and anyone can get something that they want,” Shane said. “It’s the beauty of us being local and making stuff here. If you tell us what you want, we can make it. We don’t have to check with corporate or some guy in a suit that’s never been to Starkville or Tupelo just to create something for you.

If you want sweet potato ice cream, we’re going to stay up that night and figure out how to knock it out so you’ll come back for more.”