A spoonful of sugar is your small dose into all things darling in DC: be it an ice cream parlor, a pet store, a flower shop,etc. We’re here to give you that refreshing little push to make the day just a little bit sweeter.
We kick off with SUMMER DELIGHTS, 6939 Laurel Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912-4420
all words: Mare Lewicki
all photos: Julia Benton
The moment we walked into Summer Delights, we felt warmth. The sweet smell of ice cream and a bubbly owner to boot make a great combination which is Summer Delights. The store was started in 1983 by Greg Moorin and his father. Now, the store is run and owned by Greg and his wife and daughter. Together, they make the sweetest, happiest ice creamery to visit in Tacoma Park, even on a wet, cold, and rainy day.
What made and your dad decide to start an ice cream shop?
My father had decided to retire. The landlord and I here are friends so he said bring your show on the road and we moved from Flower Ave and Piney Branch Road to here. We opened up with the same format of ice cream and sorbets and we had no vision at the time to do what I do now which is homemade ice creams. We also do baked goods, we make a lot of things from scratch, or we import from France and England. We have a few friends who set things up for me but I like to bake fresh all the time.
Where did you learn how to make ice cream? Did everyone in your family know how to make ice cream or did you just get up and make it yourself one day?
Nope! I just started expanding and the distributors were letting me down. After having been in the cleaning business for 40 years, I knew how to struggle and work hard. I converted a machine and started making coffee ice creams and test marketing. The folks liked it and it responded well. From there, I never looked back! I bought a machine which helped me make 5 gallons at a time and it’s been a neat ride so far.
You mentioned you were in the cleaning business?
My family has been in the food and dry-cleaning business since the 20’s. I’m the last male in the whole 9 yards.
So what is the meaning behind the name Summer Delights?
My dad, when he was thinking about it, he meant Summer Delights as in we’re only open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. We’re open all summer and what is more delightful than ice cream?
What’s your favorite part about summer?
My favorite part about summer? I think it’s the expression you get from the kids faces when you give them flavors that they enjoy. That’s the fun part.
What’s your most popular flavor?
Generally the basics, so vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. The espresso chip is also pretty popular.
What’s your take on the whole frozen yogurt hype?
When your product is top of the heat, made all the way back from Egyptian times, everybody is looking for a way into the rewards of being an ice cream maker. And as you have seen, the yougurts will come and go. On our national ice cream organization, they were dropped from the organization because they couldn’t hold their place. Gelato folks don’t understand what gelato is! It is given the name gelato because it’s not ice cream and a lot of folks think they are having Italian ice cream but that’s not the case. The word gelato is given carte blanche over any frozen dessert. It uses milk, water, eggs, etc. [Back on to frozen yogurt] eventually, it’ll die down some. I think people will get tired of paying a premium price for not such a premium product meaning that it does not have the same recipes and creams that we use in making premium ice cream. I think that in the end, they’ll get tired of it. Nobody ever gets tired of real ice cream.
Do you consider Summer Delights just an Ice Cream shop or an ice creamery?
We are definitely an ice creamer. Ice cream stores generally can be folks that, say from Hershey’s or have a 31 flavor motif going but they don’t make their own product. Most of the people behind the counter can’t tell you how old it is. I can give you within 10 minutes how old my product is, but then again, that’s because I make it. And that’s what you want! You want super premium homemade ice cream. You want the history and you want to know where its at. Generally, there is two parts to ice cream- the ice cream maker and the ice cream servers. We are an ice cream maker.