Boston ice cream shop Emack & Bolio's quietly opened up a Miami outpost in South Beach inside the Sunset Harbour Shops last week.
The Purdy Avenue storefront is colorful and vibrant; spaceships hanging from the ceiling; a talking moose mascot; ridiculous menu items like the midnight munchies sundae -- really everything you'd expect from a stoner's ice cream paradise.
Because that's what it is. And since 4/20 is tomorrow, the owners thought a stoner ice cream special was rather appropriate for its Miami debut.
Emack's ice cream is award-winning stuff. In addition to two other locations in Central Florida, the small franchise is currently in five states across the country. We went down to South Beach to see for ourselves what all the hooplah was about, and found that really is quality ice cream. It's been praised by Good Housekeeping Magazine and The New York Times. The force behind the greatness is making everything from scratch.
"We don't use powders or artificial-anything in our flavors," says owner Bob Rook, who is a prominent music attorney by day. "It's more of a cooking process in our kitchens; more chef-driven."
"If you order a scoop of peach, you're going to get cream, butter, sugar, and real, fresh peaches," he adds. "If you get a scoop of bananas foster, the bananas in it were actually flambéed. It's not just flavoring."
Emack will have about 20 flavors on any given day. Some as simple as vanilla and chocolate, others are as crazy as "deep purple" cow and chunk o' funk.
The great thing is that there's a constant rotation of about 5 new flavors every week -- so you're bound to find something you like (or even love, like we loved the bananas foster).
Ice cream, however, is just the beginning. Crazy waffle cones compliment the cool, sweet treat. The waffle cones are dipped in Cocoa Pebbles cereal, or Rice Krispies, or Fruit Loops, or even mini M&Ms. There are rows of selection to choose from.
And then, comes the chocolate part of E&B.
"We do chocolate for stoners," Rook says proudly, with a chuckle.
Handmade chocolates are made available for the munchiest of nights -- and that's also how they're sold and marketed. Midnight Munchies Chocolate Stash boxes are sold for $24.95 a box. Pick any combination of handmade chocolates and stuff your box until it can't fit any more. Then take it home, and when you get the munchies, you've got your stash readily available. The concept sounds insane to really be retailed this way, but it all goes back to Emack & Bolio's concept: a place where people can go to satisfy their midnight munchies.
All of E&B's products, including ice cream pizzas, which need to be seen to be believed, are delivered to the South Beach outpost from the small factory in Boston.
"We're a vertically-integrated company," says Rook. "We self-distribute, self-retail... there are no middle men. We get to do everything ourselves, which means we can control our quality and prices."
One scoop will run you $3.95. Two scoops, $4.85, and three scoops $5.60. It's not inexpensive, but it's also not half-ass product.
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As a tribute to cannabis lovers of Miami, Emack & Bolio will be offering special $4.20 two-scoop cups for anyone on 4/20.
For more health-conscious stoners, equally delicious live culture frozen yogurts are available, as are smoothies, and all are mixable with fresh fruits of your choice. Our recommendation is to try Liquid Yoga: Soy milk, homemade Chai, bananas, and non-fat vanilla frozen yogurt. Rook came up with it himself.
Follow Alex on Twitter @ARodWrites.