Peanut-butter mud pie—creamy peanut-butter ice cream with crushed Oreo cookies and a swirl of chocolate fudge—is the best-selling ice cream at 3 Scoops in Brighton, Mass. “People like it because it’s peanut-butter ice cream, not vanilla,” says Evening MBA student Rayna Verbeck, who owns the ice cream shop.
A former teacher, Verbeck bought 3 Scoops in 2011 when she was looking for a change. “It was perfect for me, because I didn’t have to start from scratch,” she says. A contract already existed with a micro creamery just 10 minutes from the shop to make weekly small batches of ice cream for the shop, and the creamery has recipes for about 200 flavors. Not that Verbeck didn’t add her own touches. She provides the creamery with the ingredients for her frozen treats, and she uses fresh, local, and organic products whenever possible. She also offers what she calls “skinny dips,” which include frozen yogurt and several flavors of vegan ice cream from vegan chef and cookbook author Wheeler del Torro, who is an entrepreneur and mentor of sorts to Verbeck. Fresh-pressed juices and smoothies are now on the menu as well.
On any given day, visitors may choose from 18 flavors in the case. Verbeck keeps the local community in mind when deciding on flavors. She’ll make sure to include nostalgic offerings such as cookie dough and strawberry for traditionalists (“Kids like those, too,” she says), but with a diverse customer base she’ll also experiment with flavors such as green tea and blue-berry goat cheese.
Verbeck’s favorite? “It’s tough,” she says, “but if I go by what I’m most likely to steal a bit of out of the case, it’s mint cookies and OMFG.” That stands for oh-my-fudgy goodness. “Wheeler came up with it as part of his vegan line,” she says, “and we converted it to a dairy version.”
For toppings and sundae lovers, 3 Scoops offers five sauces and 20 toppings, from crushed Heath bar and Oreo cookies to granola and dried fruit to wasabi-covered peanuts and candied ginger. The most popular, though, is rainbow sprinkles. “I haven’t met a kid who doesn’t love rainbow-colored sprinkles,” says Verbeck.
Besides the perk of getting to eat ice cream whenever she wants, Verbeck loves owning an ice cream shop because people typically come in to celebrate an occasion or treat themselves. “It’s not like a coffee shop, where people are frazzled and stopping for a quick shot of caffeine on their way to work,” she says. “We get lots of first dates that are adorable. We get people out with their children, and people out walking their dogs. We get a lot of people who are celebrating. We get groups of women who are catching up on their lives with each other. People are remembering their childhood and enjoying a treat. It’s a really nice environment.”—Donna Coco