Cheap Eats: Sarah's Creamery in Dover serves homemade and Penn State ice cream
Peachy Paterno. Death by Chocolate. Peanut Butter Swirl. The flavors worth waiting for in a line as long as a football field in State College — are now in Dover.
Sarah's Creamery sells a dozen of Penn State's Berkey Creamery flavors in addition to more than a dozen other handmade flavors, plus gourmet ices, baked goods and novelty ice-cream treats.
It's hard to not be drawn to the oasis on South Main Street with its hues of bright blue, purple and soft lime-green, accented by fanciful white lanterns attached to the building. Inside, the same calming color scheme lines the walls with vintage signs and a chic chandelier in one of two dining areas.
Jerry and Ellen Shaffer opened the eatery named after their daughter, Sarah, on April 22. Sarah is a manager at the shop, and she credits her dad for wanting to start a creamery years ago.
As I stood in line on a recent Sunday afternoon, I was 1) thankful the line was shorter than a couple yards and 2) checking out all of the items in a display case. To-go cups of ice cream are priced individually in the case, next to ice-cream sandwiches, ice-cream cookies and ice-cream cakes. You can even get ice-cream sandwiches covered in rainbow sprinkles. And if you don't see the SpongeBob SquarePants cake your 3-year-old is pining for, a book on top of the case showcases custom options.
As I made my way closer to the scooping station, a chalkboard listed pricing options. Bowls are weighed by the ounce — 47 cents per ounce. Cones are fixed prices, ranging from $1.75 for a baby (half scoop) to $5 for a large, only available in a waffle cone. You can upgrade from a cake cone to a dipped waffle cone, pretzel cone, sugar cone or plain waffle cone for various extra fees.
Since I've been wowed by Penn State ice cream before, I wanted to try one of the handmade flavors – opting for Chocolate Hazelnut. Ellen Shaffer said Salted Caramel is a favorite of the handmade options, and Peanut Butter Swirl is a favorite from Penn State. The Facebook site lists flavors are subject to change, but currently some of the most interesting options include: Maple Walnut, Chocolate Raspberry Cup and Apple Cinnamon Pie.
No-sugar-added ice creams are also available, plus gourmet ices, such as mango, watermelon and blue raspberry, which I'd be curious to try on a sweltering day.
OK, I had my cone, I was making my way to the cash register — and then I was distracted. Sarah's Creamery features two topping bars — one with items that might contain peanuts and one without. From candy to gummies to sauces and hot fudge – it's a full spread. Now I know why bowls are weighed by the ounce.
If you're not in the mood for ice cream, the creamery sells pies, in addition to cookies and brownies (99 cents each). Want coffee with your cookie? That's on the menu, too. Bottled sodas, lemonades and juices are sold in a case. Of course, you can also order milkshakes, malted milkshakes and floats.
My chocolate hazelnut ice cream was rich and creamy – the hazelnut wasn't overbearing but just set a deeper tone to the chocolate. My only regret – the ice cream ending up on my pants instead of in my mouth. If anyone knows how to master eating a waffle cone, by all means tell me. I am open to suggestions. So are my light-blue jeans.
You can sit in the creamery, or mosey outside to the large front porch, also equipped with tables and chairs. On a sunny afternoon, it's the ideal spot to sit still, chill with a cold treat and watch cars zoom by – much more relaxing than standing in that State College line.
If you go
Location: 121 S. Main St., Dover
Jess' pick: Chocolate hazelnut ice cream (medium) in a waffle cone coated with chocolate and coconut, $5
Hours: Noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 to 9 p.m. Sunday
Price range: Ice cream, including toppings, in a bowl is weighed at 47 cents per ounce; $5.25 for malted milkshake. Ice cream cakes start at $19.99.
Accepts: Cash and credit
Kid's menu: Not applicable
Details: Visit Sarah's Creamery on Facebook or call 717-292-1400