Slowly, business has been picking up on Main Street. The once vacant buildings have been filled with pop up shops and new restaurants, breathing new life into the area. Some of the pop up shops have been given the opportunity to display their work rent-free to bring shoppers back to the area, the Expo Market has been permanently added to the strip with plenty of tasty options for any meal along with a wonderful dessert spot just down the street, Jerk’s Soda Fountain, bringing back the 50s with old fashion, housemade sodas!
I stopped down to check out Jerk’s after scoping out some of the new shops. On my visit I was greeted by friendly staff and a cute patio with overflowing flower pots, tables, chairs, and bright umbrellas. In addition, there’s a guilt-free sign outside that reads, “Tomorrow we can eat broccoli, but today is for ICE CREAM!” reminding you that if ever there were a time to splurge, it’s now. Can’t argue there.
Once inside, I read over the menu that listed quite the selection of handcrafted sodas, fountain treats, desserts, and ice cream sundaes. “When people come to Jerk’s Soda Fountain they should expect to be treated like they’re at a restaurant, not an ice cream stand,” explains John Volpe, one of the owners of Jerk’s Soda Fountain. “Our goal is excellent service, excellent product, unique flavors and a comfortable atmosphere, and so far it seems we’re achieving that,” John continues.
Of course, I had to see for myself, so we ordered the Jerk’s Soda Fountain signature sundae, the October Storm, which consists of vanilla ice cream, homemade sponge candy (!), Loganberry sauce (!!), maple syrup, and whipped cream and a root beer float made with Jerk’s soda and ice cream. They were the perfect treats for a hot and humid summer day in Buffalo. Pro tip: They have plans to stay open and accommodate the weather year round. “As winter approaches we will be ramping up the menu to coincide with winter treats like gourmet hot chocolates, hot cider, and desserts,” explains John.
“Jerks kind of came out of nowhere,” said John. He and his co-owner Don Warfe were in the process of opening Just Fries, a spin off of a previous endeavor you may remember called Just Pasta which took a lot longer than planned. Jerk’s Soda Fountain all began with a simple thought; downtown needs an ice cream spot. “While walking my dogs one night I had looked in the window and thought that would be a cool place for a little ice cream shop since there’s no place to get ice cream downtown,” John explains. And the rest was history.
How did the dynamic duo come up with the name Jerk’s? “We talked about different names and decided to bring back the old craft of making sodas from scratch and therefore picked the name Jerks to tie into the soda jerks of the old days,” John mentioned.
If you have yet to head down to the theater district to try their awesome treats and housemade soda, I suggest you do so before the line is out the door!
Jerk’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream
523 Main St in Buffalo
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:30am–9pm, Friday 11:30am–11pm, Saturday 1pm–11pm, and Sunday 1pm–8pm
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