The quaint town square in downtown Carrollton feels like a place that time forgot.
A quilt store, candy shop, old-fashioned ice cream spot, an old American Legion Hall — it feels like wandering around dusty small-town Texas, despite being situated directly between I-35 and a DART rail line towering overhead. The mom-vibe wine bar, the decidedly un-craft coffee shop attached to a church, the hopelessly mediocre Mexican restaurant, the tiny movie theater frequently wishing the Beverlys of Carrollton a happy 85th birthday — "cool" isn't really the name of the game down here. But some restaurateurs are giving it a go.
Babe's Chicken Dinner House may be the biggest draw on the square, but Cane Rosso's Carrollton location has done well for itself, bringing owner Jay Jerrier's meme sense of humor, Star Wars kitsch and Neapolitan pizzas to a neighborhood in need of something that felt modern and fresh. Monkey King Noodle Co. tried to sling dan dan noodles from a quaint building next door, but the Deep Ellum upstart noodle shop recently threw in the towel after a few months.
After Monkey King's soup dumplings failed to entice Carrollton diners, Jerrier (who also owns Zoli's) swooped into the vacant space and opened a second DFW location of Cow Tipping Creamery, which Jerrier bought back when it was just a quirky Austin ice cream truck. After a brief stint in what is now Hello Dumpling in East Dallas, Jerrier originally operated CTC out of the old food truck on what used to be Monkey King's patio, but “now there is no danger of Cow Tipping Creamery rolling out of town in the night,” Jerrier said in a press release. “The stackers are here to stay in Carrollton.”
Cow Tipping Creamery is famous for its "stackers," over-the-top sundaes made with CTC's house-made soft serve. This is the soft serve spot's second DFW location; Jerrier opened a location at the Star in Frisco in summer 2017.
The new space feels appropriately Carrolton-quaint, but modern with a dog-friendly patio. And then there's the ice cream.
You can get CTC's soft serve in a large house-made waffle cone ($9.75), Hong Kong-style bubble waffle cone ($11) or as a "stacker" ($5.50, $7.75 and $8.75), an over-the-top sundae with a serious sugar rush.
The Reese’s Witha’spoon is made with your choice of soft serve (chocolate and vanilla were the only choices on our first visit, but look for weekly special features), peanut butter blondie bar chunks, brown sugar hot fudge, peanut butter sauce and peanut butter chips. It's ... a lot, but Jerrier's concepts have always been a little extra, as the internet kids say.
The Southern Charm comes topped with rummy caramel sauce, honey dusted pecans, Southern cracker candy and blue sugar crystals, while the It's Your Birthday is overflowing with funfetti cake chunks, rainbow sprinkles, birthday cake crumble and white chocolate sauce.
The stackers are fun, but on our next visit, we're likely to opt for straight soft serve with chocolate sauce and sprinkles in a fresh waffle cone. It's solid, straight-forward soft serve that hits the spot when you're craving a grown-up version of fast food soft serve.
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It's a little pricier than the old-fashioned scoops you'll find nearby at Beth Marie's, but it's a fun treat to snack on while strolling the square and contemplating that geode you've been eyeing at the Nature's Gallery, the "old fashioned full service rock shop."
And as it turns out, Jerrier might be onto something by doubling down on the Carrollton square — $1 million worth of grants are about to help transform an old grain warehouse into the new home of 3 Nations Brewing. Downtown Carrollton has a little cool in its not-so-distant future.
Cow Tipping Creamery, 1309 South Broadway St., Carrollton. Open 4-9 p.m. Thursday, noon-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Sunday.