welcome to “my” neighborhood

Ok, it’s not really my neighborhood. But it might as well be. I grew up right around the corner from the Falls and my husband and I pretend to live there practically ever weekend – from taking Natalie to the park, to keeping Umami in business (you can find him there at least twice a week) and just strolling the quaint, Capra-esque town. We’re probably the kind of people the locals hate, but luckily for us, we’re there so much, they likely assume we’re one of them!

And now, we’re actively supporting the latest Ohio Jeni’s, which opened in mid April. But truthfully, regardless of where they would have opened, we’d be regulars there. Because the ice cream is just that good. It’s nice to finally experience the store first-hand, and not just take-home pints of goodness or at a handful of area restaurants.

The store, which is situated right next to Starbucks, is how I pictured it to be: clean, airy, simple and overall, nicely done. There’s a highly coveted window bar for people watching, several glass milk bottle lights dangling over the premium ice cream flavors, which are proudly displayed on the giant chalk board, good reuse of some materials, like the church pews for indoor seating, wood block tiles covering the sundae bar, which is overseen by the manager in her fun, retro uniform.

We’ve been there least a dozen times (I’m pregnant, don’t judge) and I’m quite partial to mixing the Meyer lemon and black coffee in the delicious homemade waffle cone. These two flavors together are simply fantastic.

I know there are some people who question the price tag ($10 per pint or $4 for the cone I just described). But there’s local goodness in every scoop – literally. You really are supporting Ohio farmers and Ohio purveyors with each purchase, and you’re getting an exceptionally good quality, tasting product for your money. I often tell people that you’d pay $10 for a glass of wine at dinner without thinking twice, so what’s the difference? For me personally, this is money well spent – and well worth it. I’d rather pay this than save a dollar or two for a mediocre product.

Sure, we’ll still visit the Popcorn Shop (or other like places) every now and then (but I’m still holding a grudge against them for taking away my beloved lemon yogurt several years back) because sometimes, I just want mint chocolate chip – still one of my all-time favorite ice cream flavors. But the majority of our ice cream treats will come from Jeni’s. She won me over with her goat cheese and cherry a few years back and have been devoted fans since.

24 Comments

  1. Jessica
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Jeni’s is a welcome addition and I for one don’t mind paying for it. It is a premium product and a little goes a long way. I have a feeling that when you pay a little more for a quality product, you are less likely to let any go to waste. We throw out so much food in this country.

  2. Posted May 18, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Jeni’s is perfect. I agree that it’s well worth it to pay a little extra for local, grass-fed milk and cream and interesting ingredients. Lemon + coffee ice creams sound great together.

  3. Posted May 18, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    We’re finally going to get out to Chagrin Falls this weekend (nice weather permitting) and get us some Jeni’s.

  4. Posted May 18, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Is it just me? When the PD did a feature on Jeni’s last week and published a few of the recipes, am I the only person who was startled to see high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient? Isn’t that the foodie equivalent of arsenic?
    And nary an egg yolk in a carefully cooked custard ice cream base, but cream cheese? Isn’t cream cheese a high fat processed food? Aren’t we good food enthusiasts supposed deplore processed foods and ingredients? Where are the pitchforks and blazing torches when you really need them?

    I wish Jeni’s well, but it’s a high-end, good tasting product not the Second Coming.

  5. Posted May 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    @Michelle: Thanks for the love! Been waiting a long time to get closer to our friends in northeast Ohio. Feeling right at home in Chagrin Falls.

    @Food Fairy: The recipes that were published in The Plain Dealer were from Jeni’s forthcoming cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. In our professional kitchen where we make the ice creams, sorbets, and frozen yogurts for our shops, there’s only one recipe that calls for corn syrup (and it’s not high fructose) and that’s for our Corn Syrup Custard with Whiskey & Pecans ice cream. (Simply put, corn syrup is the right ingredient for that recipe.) For our other flavors, we use tapioca syrup, in addition to regular sugar. The recipes in the cookbook call for corn syrup because it’s generally easier to find than tapioca syrup, though either will work. Both are sugars composed primarily of glucose, which has a moisture-attracting quality that sucrose (granulated sugar) does not have.

    As far as the cream cheese goes for the home recipes, Jeni prefers Organic Valley cream cheese, because it’s a true cultured cheese and has a clean dairy flavor and minimal natural thickeners — but any full-fat cream cheese will work.

    (All of this is in the book.)

    But, yes — we’re all about butterfat, make no mistake. It’s a powerful carrier of flavor.

  6. michael
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    people need to get over seeing “(light) corn syrup” in recipes. it IS NOT the same as high fructose corn syrup.

    also let me mention i have been twice & had 5 scoops each time :)

  7. michael
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    also, the cream cheese has the natural needed stabilizers for ice cream. xantham gum & carageenen(sp?)… notice i said natural as opposed to what some places use for their ice cream.

    they dont use cream cheese in their commercial product, those are just recipes for the home kitchen. i still prefer egg based custard ice cream.

    your right, its not the second coming but its good ice cream.

  8. Posted May 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure I had goat cheese and cherry every day of my pregnancy last year (when I could “justify” it).

    We finally made it out the Falls 2 weeks ago for our 1st NEO Jeni’s visit. I love her shops! So friendly and clean.

    I LOVE Jeni’s – and 95% of the time if I’m going to indulge in ice cream calories it’s going to be at Jeni’s. But there’s still a time and place for other local faves like Mitchell’s and Honey Hut. However, I was kind of saddened to stop into the Beachwood Mitchell’s 3 weeks ago and it seems that Jeni’s has them running scared. Lots of similar flavors to Jeni’s (lavender/honey and a goat cheese one) and new decor that again, reflects the simple look of Jeni’s. And their small cone is now $3…yet people complain about Jeni’s $4 cone. I’m really happy to see Mitchell’s use some local ingredients but I’m not sure if they are following the Jeni’s trend or flat-out copying.

  9. Posted May 18, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Great post, and I think you are one of many that are thrilled Jeni’s opened in the area. Can’t wait to try more flavors, and get some more Brambleberry Crisp which is my current favorite!

  10. Posted May 18, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    PS. Our early summer flavors — Strawberry Buttermilk, Lemon & Blueberries, Backyard Mint, Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, Rhubarb & Lime Cardamom Yogurt, and Rockmill & Apricots — are in shops now!

  11. Martin
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    @kakaty I was shocked when I went into Mitchell’s last week. I like the old Mitchell’s better. Clearly, they are trying to jump on the premium bandwagon. Unfortunately, their premium flavors lack the flavor of Jeni’s while the price of their ice cream has gone up whether it’s sundaes or a scoop. They should stick with what they are great at – basic mainstream combinations. For now, it seems East Coast Custard will pick up more of my business just because I don’t like Mitchell’s blatant copying, which naturally, occurred just as Jeni’s opened their first area shop. I’ll still go to Mitchell’s, just not as often as I’m just sour on their apparent change of image.

  12. Posted May 19, 2011 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I’m not a huge fan of Mitchell’s. I’ve only been a few times, but wasn’t overly wowed. I do really enjoy the pumpkin custard from East Coast in the fall. Have not heard of Honey Hut – where’s that? My husband, being from Youngstown, likes Handles, but I have to say, wasn’t wowed by that either. While it’s not Cleveland, I also really enjoy Graeter’s.

  13. steve
    Posted May 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Another new place in Ohio City, Ohio City Ice Cream, replacing an old soft serve place. Pretty good. Jeni’s is great but Chagrin Falls for me is just a fantasy land type town, not really my type of place.

  14. Posted May 20, 2011 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I’ve been into Mitchell’s a few times in the last few months and thought the same thing about the lavender/honey one. (Although I didn’t care for it.) It’s right up the street from me but I’m also known to go to East Coast custard because I can walk and that justifies whatever I get.

  15. dwirth
    Posted May 20, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    Jeni’s is great. We have the great (mis)fortune of living about 1000 feet down Main Street from the shop – a 5ish minute walk perhaps – and have averaged a visit about every other night since they opened about a month ago – so maybe 15 times – enough to try most flavors, most sundaes and most macaroons – their ice cream sandwiches (though technically, I believe these meringuey cookies are “macarons” not “macaroons”).

    Jeni’s has been very poplular in town – still a line out the door frequently (including 10:30 tonight) – despite the recent rain and cold – and sometimes spilling past Starbucks onto the bridge over the falls…

    3 quick gripes (1 about Jeni’s and 2 about customers) 1) Customers: Have heard several passersby say, “oh that’s that WEIRD ice cream” or “that expensive ice cream”… – get over it folks… go eat your $1 cones at the Popcorn Shop… 2) Customers: Have seen a more than is acceptable # of patrons endlessly try the free samples – sometimes 5-10 different flavors before making a decision – maybe 5 minutes worth. Ridiculous 3) Jeni’s: As of yesterday you’ve had Buttermilk Strawberry in stock for a week – but you’ve forgotten to put it on the menu board!!! Folks won’t know this great flavor’s there if you don’t put it on the board…

    Already tired of 2 things though (not Jeni’s fault)

  16. dwirth
    Posted May 21, 2011 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    As a follow-up to the comment above – the Jeni’s blog gives a lame excuse about the misnaming and mispronunciation of their cookies… – as “macaroons” – rather than the correct, but Frenchy “macarons” (which can easily be said without the accent, folks… give your patrons some credit.. I think that’s just assuming your generally well-to-do, educated patrons are dumb, lazy and unworldly…)

    Gnocchi is not “nocky” and croissants are not “croysahnts” any more than your macaRONS should be “macaROONS”…

    (I do draw the line at my wife calling endive “ahn-deeve” here in the States, however… People really don’t get that one…)

  17. Marty
    Posted May 22, 2011 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Michelle, Honey Hut has several locations. For eastsiders, there’s a location on State on the way to the zoo. Thats the original. There’s also ones in Parma, Brecksville and Strongsville. I’d also recommend Weber’s which has locations in Parma and Fairview Park. I also like Scooters in downtown Willoughby which is an old fashioned soda fountain. It’s been there forever and is an icon in the town.

  18. kakaty
    Posted May 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Marty beat me to it but yes Honey Hut is mostly west(ish) side. There’s one at Huntington Beach in Bay and I have friends to rave about it. I stopped at the one by the zoo last year and it was quite good….fresh and homemade. But not something I’d drive for.

    Mitchell’s is our go-to when the girl wants ice cream. I will say they have a wicked-good peanut butter milkshake. But when the grown-ups want ice cream it’s either Jeni’s or Sweet Moses.

  19. April
    Posted May 23, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I’ve been eating Jeni’s ice cream for about 3 years now (my sister purchased me a pint of Gravel Road in Columbus and I’ve been hooked ever since). The only place I could find Jeni’s in the Cleveland area was Miles Market and then Heinens and WFoods. I personally love Jeni’s and although it’s not the “second-coming” (actually nothing on Earth is for that matter). I believe it’s worth every penny. I thought I was the only that thought Mitchells was “copying” Jeni’s (and I use to like Mitchells but I’m not a fan of their new flavors/style).

  20. Colleen
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    I am in love with some of Mitchell’s new flavors. I have pistachio with strawberry in a cup and it is like the best pseudo-spumoni.

  21. Hallie
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    A couple of comments:

    - As a Chagrin local, we love people coming and supporting our village. At least I do. The more the merrier!

    - I think there is absolutely room in Chagrin for both the Popcorn Shop and Jeni’s. The kid loves the Popcorn Shop, we love Jeni’s. And Jeni’s is not THAT expensive considering it is so satisfying and filling. At least IMO.

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