If you ask Taj Handal why she opened an ice cream shop in the middle of a pandemic, she'll tell you it was an accident. A paralegal by day, Handal dreamed for years of the day she'd open the doors to La Glace Miami. But after signing a lease on a space in Coral Gables in 2018, construction delays pushed back her shop's debut more than a year. The space was finally ready to open, when the coronavirus pandemic shut down commerce in Miami.
"This was literally the last thing I ever thought would happen," Handal tells New Times. "I thought I had gotten through it all, and then the opening happened during coronavirus. You really can't make this up."
A ban on indoor dining has not prevented Handal from scooping ice cream and serving milkshakes and brioche ice cream sandwiches.
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"We decided to move forward because we wanted to provide a sense of normalcy in abnormal times," she explains. "Summer in Miami is when people want to spend time with family and friends, but under current circumstances, we’re all rethinking what that means. Opening our doors under CDC guidelines is our way of expressing to our community that familiarities still exist and we are all going to be okay.”
The two dozen ice cream flavors on La Glace's menu (the majority of them kosher) include black cherry, mango, almond-pistachio, coffee, and New York cheesecake. There are vegan flavors, too, including blueberry, salted caramel, peanut-butter fudge, and pineapple soft serve. Prices start at $5.
"Miami is a land of mom-and-pop restaurants," she says. "Honestly, since I was a kid, I remember this ice cream shop driving by my neighborhood in Westchester every day. Anyone who knows me is well aware I love sweets, so I wouldn't consider opening an ice cream shop as a surprise."
La Glace Miami. 256 Giralda Ave., Coral Gables; 786-542-9115; instagram.com. Call for hours.