By Danielle C. Malka

Arizona Summer Wildcat

It's a cool, creamy, creative escape from the oven outside, and oven-dwellers from all over town just can't stay away from Cold Stone Creamery.

Located just minutes from campus on the northeast corner of East Speedway Boulevard and North Campbell Avenue, Cold Stone Creamery offers an exciting alternative to the more traditional dairy treats.

Whether you're craving a gooey double dutch chocolate ice cream cone oozing with hot fudge, homemade brownies or a light snack of nonfat sweet cream yogurt with fresh raspberries, you can find it at Cold Stone Creamery.

"We used to be big fans of Baskin-Robbins, but this stuff tastes homemade," said Barbara Bullock, who said she regularly drives from the far east side simply to enjoy a Cold Stone Creamery ice cream cone.

The creations begin with one of about five base flavors of ice cream or yogurt, including sweet cream, French vanilla, chocolate and cheesecake.

After choosing a base flavor, one or more of about 50 different "mix-ins" are added to create a final product that is truly an individual masterpiece.

The concoctions are mixed not in a blender or machine, but by hand on a refrigerated marble slab similar to the sandwich boards used in many delicatessens.

"There's a place called 'Steve's' in Boston that basically started it," said Don Sutherland, creator of Cold Stone Creamery. "From what I hear, it all began when one day a customer said that it sure would taste good to have M&M's mixed into his ice cream. So the employee just plopped the ice cream down on the counter and mixed in the M&Ms."

Since the first store opened in Tempe, six more Cold Stone Creameries have gone up around the state, and quite a few more are underway, Sutherland said.

The Tucson store, which opened March 31, has had tremendous success so far, he said. After the first week, it was the number two store in volume, second only to the Tempe store, which had a five-year head start.

"The lines were literally out the door that first week," said Brenda Beling, an undeclared UA sophomore, "but we still just kept going back."

Part of the problem with having so many loyal customers is that the small store has very limited space, Sutherland said. The maximum occupancy is 40 people.

"It wasn't our decision to have such a small seating area," he said, "but it's as big as we can have it by law. The parking is inadequate for it to be any larger."

But the customers don't seem to mind as long as they can continue creating and consuming the homemade ice cream and yogurt.

"We were here last night for the first time and we decided we just had to come back this afternoon so we could try new flavors," said Mary Smith, who was in town from El Paso. Read Next Article