Everywhere you look, someone is peddling healthy eats. We're bombarded with gluten free, no added sugar, low calorie crap. And yeah, we know we should try to eat right and all that. But sometimes, both body and soul need to screw the calorie-counting and opt to indulge. On days like those, there's Quarterman's Ice Cream Parlor.
The newest addition to downtown's dessert lineup, the spot is a 1930s throwback, manned by owner Madai Girard and her family. This is old school ice cream. Think little George Bailey serving up chocolate ice cream and coconut flakes to curly-haired Mary. (Cue the awwwws.)
The Girard family is all about keeping customers happy. You can see it in their wide smiles and unfettered enthusiasm -- and by the fact that the three-week old shop already has a slew of regulars.
Girard and her son man the scoops full time, and they're joined part-time by her daughter-in-law, other son and even grandkids on the weekends. She and her husband also own an aviation company, but when they saw a need for an old-fashioned ice cream shop to serve the people of downtown, they went for it.
"If they're not happy when they walk in, they're very happy when they leave. Our samples are free and we don't pressure anyone," Madai says.
The store serves up premium ice cream in unique flavors like Mexican hot chocolate (thick chocolate with marshmallows, cayenne pepper and cinnamon); banana cream pie (rich banana with a milky sweetness and ripe chunks); salty caramel peanut (sweet and salty with nutty bits), guava cream cheese (heavily fruity and creamy cool) and the insanely popular dulce de leche (caramel swirls and a super sweet cream base).
There are plenty of other varieties, too, and they switch up the offerings on the regular. Their recipes, made with a whopping 14 percent cream (regular brands run around 9 percent), come from an award-winning ice cream purveyor out of Palm Beach. Girard said the first taste was true love.
A single scoop runs $3.75. Pints and quarts are available to take home, and they'll make custom combos for customers who come in or call ahead. At $6.50 per pint, it's just a tad pricier than Ben & Jerry's - and undoubtedly an upgrade. They also make shakes, old fashioned floats and hand-dip cones in house.
The pale pink interior, candy-striped walls and vintage logo font add to the parlor appeal. There are a couple of tables outside, too, for those who want to sit with their sweets and watch the world go by.
The name is a little piece of Miami history in and of itself. Quarterman's refers to Eva Quarterman, one-time business partner to William Burdine. The shop sits right behind the original Burdine's (now Macy's) in downtown -- so the name is particularly apt. And it's a tribute to one of Miami's first female investors, says Girard.
"We thought we'd bring an old bit of downtown history back here. This is Avenue D!" Girard laughs. "We just want to try and be good neighbors, help the revitalization that's going on downtown."
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