As the weather heats up, Heritage Creamery is offering a delicious way to cool down. The homemade ice cream parlor will celebrate its grand opening at 11 a.m. Saturday at their new location on Eighth Street next to Common Grounds. But the sweetest part is that the first 50 people in line will win free ice cream for year.
Dustin Patterson, the general manager of Heritage Creamery, said he hopes customers are as excited as Heritage is for the grand opening.
“It’s been a long time coming for us,” Patterson said. “I think our first sign that we put up said ‘Opening Spring 2015,’ but here we are a year later. We hope there are people that have been waiting like we have.”
Heritage Creamery had a soft opening on Sunday and opened for limited hours Monday and Wednesday. The ice cream shop will open for limited hours between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday as well.
The long wait was the result of renovations taking longer than anticipated. As the Lariat reported in August (when the ice cream shop was projected to open in October), the main obstacle to opening Heritage was the addition of a kitchen where to make and store ice cream. Heritage also had to put in an ice cream counter and refurbish the flooring and walls of the former Harts N Crafts store.
However, after repeatedly pushing back the date since the creamery was announced in 2014, the day for the grand opening is finally concrete.
The name Heritage Creamery comes from a story about owner Blake Batson’s father. Batson’s dad had an incredible chocolate chip cookie recipe that became a big hit in the family’s town. After his dad died, Batson wanted to find some way to use that recipe commercially. The new ice cream shop was the perfect outlet.
“Aside from our ice cream being amazing, those cookies are just phenomenal,” Patterson said. “When people walk into our shop, front and center is our ice cream case, but also front and center on top of the ice cream case are those chocolate chip cookies.”
The cookies will also be used to make ice cream sandwiches. Alex Tolani, a Common Grounds employee, said the shop will also offer shakes, floats and ice cream cones. His personal favorite is a shake that is two scoops chocolate and one scoop mint stracciatella.
Heritage Creamery has an artistic and comfortable feel inside, reminiscent of Common Grounds. Wooden paneling on most of the walls is accented by a brick backdrop behind the ice cream counter. Any plaster walls are painted a dark indigo, giving the room a relaxed and textured feel. Small round tables and chairs and a heavy-looking wooden bar and bench give customers ample space to stay awhile and savor their sweet treats. The room is kept well lit by several windows, a chandelier and a row of bare bulbs studding the ceiling above the counter. There is also a back porch with tables and chairs with steps leading to the patio seating for the Milo Waco Food Truck.
Batson, who also owns Common Grounds, first considered opening another business when the building next door to his coffee shop was available for lease. Batson and Patterson sat down to brainstorm what they could do with the perfectly located building. They considered doing sandwiches, but Patterson recommended homemade ice cream.
“I said that we could source locally and make it from scratch,” Patterson said. “How hard could it be? But it turned out to be a lot harder than we thought it would be.”
Heritage Creamery began selling ice cream last March. The company’s employees hand-packaged 4-ounce cups of ice cream and sold them out of a cooler attached to a bike.
“We would hand-label them, each and every individual cup,” Patterson said. “It was a nightmare. But it was what we did for 10 or so months, and it worked. It got us through those 10 months. Luckily, we will probably never have to do that again.”
Patterson said although it was difficult, selling on such a small scale allowed Heritage to experiment more with flavors and the ice cream itself. What they wound up with was more than 10 flavors, including fan favorites brown butter and Texas pecan, salty vanilla bean and mint stracciatella.
Tolani said he is stoked for the opening this weekend.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Tolani said. “They’re introducing a lot of interesting new flavors like lavender and honey, all made from scratch.”
Heritage Creamery ice cream is made completely by hand and with locally sourced ingredients. Patterson said Heritage doesn’t use any nitrogen to freeze its product, and dairy is sourced from local farmers.
“We are making ice cream the way that people made ice cream a hundred years ago, and we think that’s the best way,” Patterson said.