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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, May 18, 2024

State St. ice cream joints dish it out

Three ice cream stores. Two blocks. One street. Who will reign supreme over the dairy domain known as State Street? 


Chocolate Coyote, 341 State St., Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co., 468 State St., and new kid on the block Coldstone Creamery, 427 State St., are all competing with one another for the hearts and stomachs of Madison. 


The best part is each one already thinks they are king of the block. 


\I'm the better ice cream store so I don't even give those guys a thought,"" said Rebecca Thompson, owner of the Chocolate Coyote. 


Not so, according to longtime Chocolate Shoppe employee Alan Greenwood, who has been working at the store on and off for three years. 


""We've been here the longest, everybody's friendly, the ice cream is good, its a good place to come,"" he said. ""I think Chocolate Coyote will go out of business first."" 


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Coldstone's unique idea of allowing the customer to choose from dozens of different mix-ins and ice cream allows individuals to create exactly what they want every time. The diversity of combinations is what makes the store superior to its competition, according to manager Kristy Kaiser, a UW-Madison junior. 


""We make our ice cream in the store here every day. You don't have to get a flavor that's already made,"" she said. ""Oh, and we sing for tips."" 


The music and words that emanate from the employee's mouths may not be the stuff of Grammy nominations though. A sample, sung to the tune of ""Row, row, row your boat"": 


""Choose, choose, choose, your cone / put your ice cream in / have a bite / we know you'll love Coldstone where ever you live."" 


While the freshman of the group may try to entice customers in off the street with charm and wit, the older institutions on the block know it's the stomach and taste buds that really matters. Both Chocolate Coyote and the Chocolate Shoppe offer food of more substance than ice cream. 


""I sell sandwiches and mac and cheese, sloppy joes, soup and baked potatoes,"" Thompson said. ""Then they stay for dessert-it's perfect."" 


And besides the common dessert fare of ice cream, frozen yogurt, shakes and floats, Coyote holds a trump card in its amazing fudge, which comes in an assortment of different flavors from amaretto to turtle. 


What the Chocolate Shoppe may lack in fudge and song, it makes up for in its bagels and ample seating, the latter something Chocolate Coyote and Coldstone both need. 


""The bagels we get are shipped from New York, so that draws a lot of the student population from around the area,"" Greenwood said. 


Another issue of contention is that Coldstone Creamery is a chain store that began in Tempe, Ariz., while both the Chocolate Coyote and Chocolate Shoppe produce their ice cream locally. 


""[The ice cream] is local, good ice cream made by people who work and live and pay taxes here,"" Thompson said. 


And the Chocolate Shoppe is just a ""Ma and Pa shop, run by a man whose 85 years, who's still running it,"" according to Green wood. ""In fact he's more active than we would like."" 


But, in the end it all comes down to personal taste. 


""[Coldstone] is just good,"" UW-Madison senior Justin Ugoretz said.

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