Are you ready for ice cream that’s just a scoop above the ordinary? Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks? Wildberry Lavender? Pumpkin Cake Roll? Sweet Cream Biscuits and Peach Jam? Oh no they didn’t.
Oh yes they do, right here on King Street. It’s the venerable Jeni’s Ice Cream — handcrafted artisanal dessert that never met a synthetic flavoring, dye, or off-the-shelf mix. We asked Jeni to describe for us what makes her concoctions special. Here’s the dealio:
What is Jeni’s unique value proposition? What is the philosophy behind it?
We use a specific recipe that I’ve honed for more than 20 years and that lets us build our ice creams completely from scratch. We don’t use stabilizers so all the nuances of the beautiful ingredients that we go to the ends of the Earth to source come through brightly. We believe we should buy ingredients directly from the people who make, grow, and produce those ingredients. We value buying directly from people we know and have relationships with over simply buying local to say “it’s local.” We think that’s what makes us stronger, more interesting, more delicious. We’re super proud of everything in our ice creams. We call it The Fellowship Model.
We love Charleston. The city balances a beautiful connection to its history with a progressive outlook that has made it an exciting hub for independently owned businesses, and we feel right at home.
Why King Street?
King Street has an amazing energy and our scoop shop is in great company with many renowned restaurants, bars, bakeries and boutiques.
Why does Charleston need another ice cream place?
The more ice cream the better! At Jeni’s, we pioneered the artisanal ice cream movement, and we want to set the standard for artisan ice cream. From sourcing the highest quality ingredients to all of the supporting details that enhance the experience of eating the one-of-a-kind flavors, we focus on the science of ice cream. No one makes ice cream the way we do—and that’s what makes us stand out in a crowded freezer.
What is the consumer experience like at Jeni’s?
I believe that there is not a separation between internal and external in a company anymore. You either are what you say you are, or you are not. People know that we are a place that celebrates flavor—our uniqueness as people is what makes us great. We have a very open environment where everyone in the company feels free to express ideas. We all thrive off that energy—it’s true fellowship. It’s that dynamic that makes people feel like they can show up as themselves and that they truly are valued as the awesome individuals they are. Who we are behind the scenes becomes the magic you feel at our shops. The amazing people who scoop ice creams at Jeni’s believe in the work the company is doing and that fuels their pride for the work they do and conveying that to the people we serve. We all work for each other.
Tell us about the service at Jeni’s.
Our goal is always to make ice cream that brings people together. That’s our North Star — the driving force that moves our ship forward. Everything we do is in service to that mission. Making the best ice creams and creating community wherever we go. Everything we do— from ice cream flavors to art, sourcing and production, scooping and sticking freezers— is done from the perspective of service. It’s what we do.
Tell us about some of the interesting flavors that you have.
Our flavors range from Lemon & Blueberries Parfait to Goat Cheese with Red Cherries to Watermelon Taffy. Lately I can’t get enough of Brown Butter Almond Brittle. The flavor is inspired by Roald Dahl’s favorite ice cream as a kid.
Tell us about someone having a fabulous experience at a Jeni’s.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people post about their first time at Jeni’s comparing it to a first kiss, or more… Maybe that’s why we have so many engagements and even weddings right in our shops!
Around this time we stopped listening and headed for King Street…