Jeni’s Ice Creams opened not too long ago in Chagrin Falls, and, despite the commute from the Heights, I seem to find myself there every other week.
Jeni’s is based out of Columbus, and this is their first Cleveland location. They specialize in local ingredients and unique flavors.
The shop itself is simultaneously homey and stylish. The brick walls and flavors on the chalkboard are balanced by a sharp design and shiny metal counter tops.
Considering the uniqueness of their flavors, reviewing each seems to make the most sense:
Bangkok Peanut — The initial aroma and flavor is peanuts, followed by curry, then coconut (which adds a nice texture) and finally an intense spicy heat.
Black Coffee — Somehow tastes blacker and stronger than coffee with milk despite being cream based. Rich, dark, subtly bitter flavor gives way to subtle sweetness.
Cherry Lambic — Intense sweet / sour cherry flavor and subtle yeast and malt from the beer. I haven’t had this in a couple years, but a friend who tried it lately said the flavor stuck in her memory for over a week.
Dark Chocolate - Fudgy, dark, and rich, but still familiar enough to be enjoyed by our seven year-old son.
Gravel Road — Combination of salty caramel and smoked almonds. Savory and satisfying.
Queen City Cayenne — Very dark chocolate followed by a big hit of heat and cinnamon.
Riesling Poached Pear — The counter person’s description as “biting into a ripe pear” is very accurate.
Ugandan Vanilla Bean — Has a distinctive floral aroma, but familiar and sweet enough that Jonathan really liked it.
Milkiest Chocolate in the World — Milk chocolate gives a velvety flavor / texture that is, like the vanilla, very kid-friendly.
Rockmills & Apricots — Belgian beer clearly comes through and pairs perfectly with the tanginess of the apricots. One of my favorites.
Brambleberry Crisp — Excellent flavor / texture combination with raspberries, blackberries, honey, vanilla and chewy oat streusel. Tastes like berry crisp with ice cream but far better than you’d likely make yourself.
Sarah also tried the salty caramel ice cream sandwich with smoked almond cookie, which was very good, and we’re excited to try the sundaes as well.
There’s been some controversy over Jeni’s locating themselves only a few storefronts away from the Popcorn Shop, a longtime ice cream fixture in Chagrin Falls. As Sarah’s family ran a Dairy Queen right next to an East Coast Custard for most of her life, she was initially perturbed at the apparent cutthroat nature of this move. However, considering the vast difference between these two places–large scoops of familiar, comforting ice cream vs. small scoops of premium, modern flavors–they can probably successfully coexist. I also had less sympathy for the Popcorn Shop when I found out from Sarah’s mom that the owner once vowed to put their Dairy Queen out of business by opening near them.
We’re very much looking forward to more visits and trying other flavors. Hopefully Jeni’s will consider opening another shop closer to Cleveland, maybe on Lee Rd. or on Coventry.