day forty-two: sweet melissa’s

July 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

After three summers of work at the Dairy Queen near my high school, I was, after my senior year, given an ultimatum: Either take out the nose ring, take out the hair extensions, or find yourself another job. My look, they said, was not “family-friendly.”

I contemplated my choices for a day or so and figured, in those pre-recession days, that even with as a teenager with a tiny nose ring and none-too-tiny hair extensions, that I could probably be worth $5/hour to someone else out there. Though my parents were livid, it turned out I was correct: I found a goldmine of a job ($10/hour!) lifeguarding at a golf course’s private swimming pool. While there were plenty of people on the golf course, few ever seemed to make it any farther than the pool bar. For the next month or so, I got paid to read books, listen to music, and get as much of a tan as my pale ass could. It was pretty sweet.

Sweet Melissa’s, however, is even sweeter. I visited for the first time last week and was delighted to be greeted by a smiling man with two full sleeve tattoos. In Sweet Melissa’s courtyard hangs a sign that reminded customers to keep their language clean, as the ice-cream shop was a family-friendly environment.* The Sweet Melissa’s man seemed to me to be proof that, yes, ice cream and tattoos (or ice cream and piercings/hair extensions, if you will) can co-exist in a family-friendly environment. One that’s very similar, in fact, to Dairy Queen.

Yes, that’s right, Sweet Melissa’s (established 2009) serves something that Ithaca has desperately needed: Soft-serve ice cream. I haven’t had soft-serve in ages. The last time may have been at a Dairy Queen. Sweet Melissa’s soft-serve is nothing special, and, in that regard, is ever so special. I ordered two matching chocolate-vanilla twist cups for my partner and I, both with chocolate syrup, both with chocolate sprinkles. I sat J.’s cup on the seat of my car; I ate my entire cup on the drive from downtown to South Hill while his ever-so-slowly and slightly melted into a thick, cool concoction that childhood me used to call “ice cream soup.” Were I a child in a baseball uniform, I would have happily ordered Sweet Melissa’s twist in a cone and, subsequently, had it happily all over my face.

Sweet Melissa’s also serves flurries, shakes, banana splits, slushes, yogurt, sherbet,** homemade hard ice cream, and both soft and hard vegan ice cream. They’re in the same building as Shortstop Deli, so it’s a great place to go for dessert after you’ve finished your toasted sub and fear being kicked out of the Shortstop parking lot (15 minute maximum — NO HANGING OUT), you lawbreaking renegade reprobate rebel, you.

* Thus, were I narrating the paragraph above at Sweet Melissa’s, I would have substituted the word “bum” for “ass.”

** Which, spell-check tells me, does not have a second r, is not spelled “sherbert.” Who knew?

Price: I scream for ice cream! (< $5)
Hours: 1 – 10pm, every day
Location: 200 W. Seneca, in the same building as the ShortStop Deli
Website: Sweet Melissa’s

Sweet Melissa's Ice Cream Shop on Urbanspoon


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