Custard’s Last Stand: Scooter’s Takes Winter Break

By Patty Wetli | Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Black Friday indeed. Scooter's Frozen Custard closes up shop for the season. Photo by Patty Wetli.

What’s not to like about winter? Well, hat hair for starters. Here’s another item to add to the list: no more Scooter’s Frozen Custard until March 2011.

Last Friday was the final day of 2010 to enjoy one of the best desserts in town. This reporter stocked up on a quart of whiskey caramel and a pint of peppermint candy to help ease the pain, which in no way compares with the 30 quarts set aside in the freezer of uber-fan Mark Winchester.

“I’m in four to five times a week,” he said. With Scooter’s shuttered, he now has a huge hole in his schedule, which he’ll likely fill by fighting off friends angling for a scoop of burnt sugar or frozen banana.

Old-timers—Scooter’s dates back to 2003—may recall that the shop originally stayed open over the winter.

“Our very first year, we thought we’d be a year-round business,” said Mardi Moore, co-owner along with husband Denny. What changed their minds? A look at their finances showed they were barely breaking even once the weather turned cold and daylight became scarce.

The couple settled on the Friday after the Friday after Thanksgiving (still with me?) as their final day of the season; they reopen the first Friday in March.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Moores won’t be spending their hiatus sipping umbrella drinks on a beach in the Bahamas or any other point south. “We’re actually here a lot,” said Moore. They clean the shop, attend a trade show in January and start interviewing for new employees in February. They also supply a handful of wholesale customers with their creamy custard—if you’re desperate for a fix, these include Ina’s and Jerry’s.

As she wound down the final hours on Scooter’s final day, Moore, who epitomizes the term “hands-on owner,” was definitely ready for a break. “It’s our most stressful week,” she said. “All we do is pack pints and quarts. Everybody’s tired, not energized like over the summer.”

But she was already thinking ahead to March. The Celtic Concrete (vanilla custard, Irish mint, shot of hot fudge), created in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, bears a passing resemblance to the Dandy Candy Cane flying out the door during December. Noting the coincidence, Moore said, “We close on a mint and we open on a mint.”

Mark your calendars now for March 4, 2011.

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