A locally made ice cream that captured the taste buds of its Dallas neighborhood now has the attention of one red-hot restaurant in Deep Ellum. Lake Highlands Creamery, which had been selling quarts online only, now makes ice cream bars for Luscher's Red Hots.
The company comes from ice cream aficionado Sean Brockette and his "ice cream scientist" neighbor Mike Middleton, who pride themselves on making high-quality ice cream and staying true to the sense of community in Lake Highlands.
"When I was in high school, I worked at both the Casa Linda Theater and Steve's Ice Cream," Brockette says. "My family is from Rhode Island, and there's a famous ice cream shop in the town that we used to vacation in called the Newport Creamery. We would go there as a family, and that would be the best experience ever."
"I mentioned to [Brian Luscher] in passing that I was going to step up the ice cream thing," says Lake Highlands Creamery's Sean Brockette. "He said, 'I need ice cream bars for my hot dog shop.'"
When Brockette and his young family moved to Lake Highlands in 2008, his interest in ice cream was rekindled.
"Mike and I used to 'food challenge' each other, and he brought over some homemade ice cream that he had made that was awful," Brockette says. "All those old memories started coming back, and I thought, 'Man, I bet I can still make good ice cream.'
"I made my first batch of chocolate peanut butter and brought it over to his house, and he was blown away by how it tasted, the texture and that you could make that kind of ice cream in just a Cuisinart frozen ice cream maker."
Through the years, Brockette continued making ice cream for family parties and neighborhood get-togethers. Each tasting garnered more appeals for him to start an actual business — which he did last year.
Since November 2014, Brockette has been selling quarts online at LakeHighlandsCreamery.com. People within a 5-mile radius of their home base off Audelia Road can choose between six to 10 flavors, priced at $9.99 per quart, and the company personally delivers the ice cream two days later.
Although Brockette and Middleton are always dreaming up new flavors, some current favorites include You're Bacon Me Crazy, maple ice cream with peppered bacon chunks; Red Velvet in Reverse, a cream cheese ice cream icing base with red velvet brownies mixed in; and the Dirty Belgian, salted caramel ice cream with Belgian chocolate and Belgian waffles.
As the popularity of the ice cream grows in Lake Highlands, Brockette is giving serious consideration to opening an actual storefront.
"Right now we're trying to get this off the ground," he says. "We've got a pretty good local presence; we've given stuff away at carnivals and farmers markets and other events, but we're trying to secure a space."
Brockette has received guidance from friend and local restaurateur Brian Luscher, owner of The Grape and recently opened Luscher's Red Hots.
"Brian has been influential to me in getting things up and running," Brockette says. "Just seeing all the setbacks that they've had and all the challenges, I've learned a lot. It's best to go slow and do everything right than go fast and get shut down."
Luscher has given him more than guidance, though; he's also provided him with a business opportunity.
"I mentioned to him in passing that I was going to step up the ice cream thing," Brockette says. "He said, 'I need ice cream bars for my hot dog shop.' I had never made one before, but I told him I'd see what I could do.
"So I spent three months trying to perfect those ice cream bars. We figured out the perfect process, so now he's the proud owner of the only Lake Highlands ice cream bars in town."
Among the ice cream bars on sale at Luscher's is one called the Mother Lode, featuring Sweet Nilla (bourbon vanilla bean) ice cream wrapped in a house-made chocolate shell and topped with pretzels, potato chips, sprinkles, pecans, peanuts and toffee.
If Brockette opens a storefront, it will join a pretty short list of local ice cream shops: Henry's Homemade Ice Cream in Plano, Sweet Firefly in Richardson and Carnival Barker's Ice Creams (which will soon have two locations in Dallas). There's also Paciugo Gelato, which is now a nationwide presence, but it started in Dallas.
While he tries to make further inroads toward opening up his first shop, Brockette will continue serving his neighborhood through school carnivals, special events and home delivery.