Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Sweet Firefly in Richardson brings joy and superb ice cream
Neighborhood spot has one-of-a-kind ice cream.
RICHARDSON Sweet Firefly is a sweets shop that opened last fall in the II Creeks shopping center in Richardson, serving one-of-a-kind ice cream to the area.
Owners Patti McCrary Otte and Angie Conard both live nearby and were eager to bring an ice cream stand to their neighborhood, Otte said.
"Angie is the director of events for the neighborhood, she puts on our Fourth of July celebration, and I helped found the Moms' Club," Otte said. "One night she said to me, 'I really want to open this ice cream shop, and I need a partner.' It was something I had already dreamed about doing."
With support and financing from their families, they took over an old office space, giving it a whimsical pastel decor that fulfilled their vision of a friendly, joyful place for families and kids. Fittings include old classroom desks, and there are story-time sessions every other Wednesday morning. A big part of Otte's motivation came from the processing of her grief after the untimely death in 2009 of her two-year-old daughter Kate. "She's the 'firefly'," Otte said.
"I taught school in Plano but I couldn't do that anymore or picture myself at a desk job, and the landlords wanted an ice cream shop," she said.
The location did not come with a grease trap -- meaning that they did not have the facilities to make ice cream themselves. Otte explored local vendors including Henry's and Milwaukee Joe's, but neither worked out as a supplier. But she found something even better: a venerable ice cream maker in Houston that had closed its retail store but was still making and selling ice cream wholesale. The ice cream is incredible: creamy and rich, but pure enough that it meets the "melt test" -- if you let it sit on a counter, it'll melt back to liquid form.
They stock at least 16 flavors, with some that rotate according to season. Flavors currently on the board include bourbon vanilla, cinnamon, tin roof sundae, strawberry cheesecake, rocky road, eggnog, peppermint, peanut butter chocolate, coffee toffee crunch, cookie dough, and a new flavor, salted caramel, that Otte hasn't been able to keep in supply.
They've also devised a new treat with their shaved ice machine, called a Sno-Ball, with shaved ice, a scoop of ice cream, more shaved ice, and condensed milk.
"It's a New Orleans and Hawaiian tradition -- we've had people from New Orleans coming in because they love it," Otte said.
They also stock gourmet candy such as toffee from Plano-based Toffee Treats, plus pistachio nuts and other treats. On Fat Tuesday, they'll be serving a special-order "king cake ice cream" and hosting an all-day Mardi Gras party.
"Our neighborhood is so unique," Otte said.
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