Upon venturing to Treat Dreams, 22965 Woodward Ave., Ferndale (which is merely across the street from my office), I found I had made a life altering decision. For one, I couldn’t figure out why it took me approximately 10 months to get myself over there. Secondly, I realized it’s going to require some serious self-restraint to not skip on over there every week from here on out.
Scott Moloney, owner of Treat Dreams, is an ice cream aficionado. After working in finance for 17 years, he realized his work was lacking passion. Moloney decided to take a gamble: he quit his banking job and opened Treat Dreams in 2010.
“When I was trying to figure out what to do outside of banking, one of the requirements was that it had to be something fun. I’m fond of saying ‘When you give a kid an ice cream cone, they smile 100 percent of the time,’ and that has held very true,” Moloney said.
While frequenting a local soft serve shop with his two children, Moloney saw the opportunity for a viable business model, and the rest is history. Entirely self-taught, you’ll be hard pressed to find more unique flavors elsewhere.
While my personal favorite is the Salted Caramel Coffee, Maple Bacon Bourbon comes in at a close second. Just to clarify, it has little crispy bacon bits in there. I’ll give you a moment to absorb that information.
With such unusual flavor combinations, some concoctions have been more triumphant than others. According to Moloney, Lobster Bisque, Brown Sugar Ham, Macaroni and Cheese and Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Bacon were all success stories. On the other hand, Spaghetti, Pizza and Salt and Vinegar ice creams were the biggest disasters of the bunch.
Moloney’s personal favorite flavor is Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Curry with Toasted Coconut. Try saying that one five times fast.
If you’re wondering where one comes up with all these crazy combos, Moloney finds inspiration nearly everywhere: from cooking shows to conversations with customers—customers that are eating ice cream up like there’s no tomorrow.
“Salted Caramel is our most popular flavor, followed closely by Kooky Monster. Our Mexican Chocolate and Butterbeer flavors are both big sellers when we bring them back once a month, and our most passionate customer base is for ice creams made with either bacon or Nutella,” Moloney said.
On a typical day, you can expect to find 12 to 14 ice cream varieties in the case, in addition to three vegan flavors and up to two sorbets.
“Each flavor runs for a two week period on a staggered basis, and we change our flavor board every Sunday,” Moloney said. “There are four flavors—Salted Caramel, Kooky Monster, Vanilla Bean and Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip—that we always have on the board.”
Earlier in June, Michigan Salad ice cream was one of the featured flavors. With candied pecans, dried tart cherries and bleu cheese, it sounds more like something you’d eat with a fork than in a cone. However, I didn’t hate it.
Moloney estimates that over 90 percent of ingredients used in his ice cream are local. Beer Cheese with Brats ice cream is set to debut in July, and will be packed with local ingredients.
“We plan on using a Sharp Pinconning Cheddar along with another cheese from Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, bratwurst from Corridor Sausage of Eastern Market, beer from the Woodward Avenue Brewers, and a yet to be identified local mustard,” Moloney said.
Additional flavors that will be introduced this summer include Cherry Blossom, Rosemary Cherry, Bourbon Peach Gingersnap Toasted Pecans, Goat Cheese Bacon, and Vanilla with Bourbon-Soaked Cherries.
For this week’s list of flavors, visit Treat Dreams on Facebook.
Don’t walk; run, to Treat Dreams for an ice cream experience you will never forget. If I may, I’ll close by imparting a few words of wisdom: if you’re having a difficult time making up your mind flavor-wise, the kind folks behind the counter will provide you with a small taste of any flavor you’d like. Since I’m incredibly indecisive, I recommend going with a double scoop—that way you can settle on two flavors instead of one!