Now, that Grandpa, Grandma, Pee Pop, Grammie, Mommy, Daddy, Auntie and even your weird Gen X uncle who always tells you about The Continental “back in the day” can all get their COVID shots – it’s time to get back to quality time with the family, for better or worse.
Right now, there’s probably no better place in Western New York to reconnect with fully-vaccinated family than Rosie’s Handcrafted Ice Cream, located on Main Street in East Aurora.
Co-owners Deacon and Cassie Tasker told us a love of all things ice cream inspired them to open Rosie’s as a modern ice cream shop. Located right next to The Roycroft Campus and across from a middle school, Rosie’s also gives off strong family-friendly vibes that sadly feel all too foreign right now.
As with every other business owner around the world, the Taskers had to come up with a new game plan when COVID hit, pushing back their opening date about a year.
“The biggest thing that changed for us was our timeline, which we actually think is going to be okay,” Deacon told us. “I think there’s pent up demand for people to be out and sitting on patios in the sunshine.”
The massive, elevated patio in front of the shop is the perfect place to enjoy one of Rosie’s traditional flavors, or one of their modern riffs, including ice creams with lavender extract or cuttlefish ink. Tasker said he thinks most people will probably opt for tradition over modern novelty.
“When people come out for ice cream, they’re not coming out for cuttlefish ice cream,” he said. “They’re coming in for chocolate, vanilla, mint chip and cookies ‘n’ cream. We have those and we have our own little twist on them. For example, our vanilla ice cream uses a Madagascar bourbon vanilla that’s double folded (meaning twice as much vanilla). So, we will hit every base of the classics that people want to come for, and then, as they see fit, they can come in and try something that’s a little bit different.”
On our visit, we found the Honeylou (lavender and honey) to be floral and sweet, while happily restrained. At first, the lavender was center stage on the palate, but about halfway through the first scoop; floral notes faded to harmonize against the melody of sweet iced cream. That Waffle Dough (malted chocolate ice cream, chocolate chip peanut butter cookie dough and chocolate-covered waffle pieces) offered a range of different textures set against a smooth and complex chocolatey backdrop. Our chocolate scoop ate somewhat as expected, but extremely thiiiiiiccc. Prices for standard cones were: $4.50 single scoop, $5.50 double scoop, $6.50 triple scoop.
The couple said they aren’t just chucking stuff into an ice cream maker and hoping for the best. They’ve gone through multiple formal training sessions on proper ice cream technique, including a program at Penn State’s food science department. They also have visited some of the best ice cream spots in the country, all in the name of research of course.
“It isn’t just ice cream that we get inspiration from,” Cassie Tasker told us. “We’re thinking: What can we turn into ice cream or what might be a new flavor that we’d like to see in cream? For example, we’re experimenting with a barbecue ice cream that we’re just excited to throw into the test kitchen and see what we come up with.”
If you somehow aren’t a fan of hard ice cream, soft serve and milkshakes are available. Ice cream novelties include cookie, brownie and cinnamon pinwheel sandwiches. Rosie’s also offers handcrafted waffle cones and plant-based options, which are gentler to those of us with lactose issues.
“We’re pretty excited about being able to bring what we think is probably the best product, both in terms of flavor selection and ingredient quality, into Western New York,” Deacon said.
In keeping with outside-the-box takes on ice cream, Rosie’s more modern scoop shop than traditional ice cream parlor. Dramatic renovations to what was once a modest building included ripping off the roof, vaulting the ceilings, placing in additional beams and adding more windows. While there’s some seating and plenty of natural light inside, prime seating is on the elevated front patio, which sits atop dais-style stairs. Wheelchair access is available in the rear for those who want it.
As anyone knows, however, some of the best seating at any ice cream spot is around the shop itself. During the soft opening, we saw people perched on the stone wall in front of Rosie’s and just chilling at their cars – both of which are perfect low-risk options for our current conditions.
All of it adds up to the ideal spot for slowly transitioning out of a year-long hibernation for you and your family. Whether or not you want to go there with your family, or use it as a decadent escape from said family, is up to you.
Rosie’s Handcrafted Ice Cream
431 Main St., East Aurora
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 12 p.m. – 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 12 p.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. – 9 p.m., Monday CLOSED