Bites with Beca: The Parlor, Sturgis

I recently read an article that claimed Americans are falling out of love with ice cream. Apparently the rise of prohibition went hand in hand with the national ice cream boom, and these days Americans are now more health-conscious with “evolved” taste buds, thus choosing other dessert options over the classic frozen treat. Like any good reporter, I decided to take it upon myself to do some extremely difficult research and I headed to Sturgis’ brand new ice cream shop, The Parlor. 

The Parlor (located at 62160 M-66, Sturgis) held its grand opening on July 11, and has quickly become a favorite spot for locals. Owners Gabe and Rita Taylor built the ice cream shop on the same dairy farm land where Rita was raised. Many foods and beverages on the menu are named after special cow breeds, and some treats are specifically named for Rita’s father’s dairy cows. 

My date and I stopped by The Parlor on a clear-skied, sunny Saturday evening and joined the bustling crowd of folks eager to cool off with a frozen dessert. The inside of the shop was rustic-yet-modern, and reminded me of the Joanna Gaines/Magnolia/farmhouse-chic movement that has been a popular design choice over the years. We grabbed our place in line with our fellow hungry diners, and began the agonizing decision of what to order.

The Parlor not only dishes up 32 different flavors of Ashby’s hard scoop ice cream, but they also offer sundaes, pup cups, acai bowls, lattes, and brewed coffee. A few of the caffeinated treats that caught my eye were the affagato (two scoops of ice cream with a shot of espresso pour on top, $6.25), The Dexter (espresso, steamed milk, vanilla and caramel flavoring with whipped cream, $4.90 for a 12 oz.), and The Parlor’s signature drink: Holy Cow (a blend of vanilla ice cream, milk, and espresso, $7.50). 

Unfortunately, I have reached the age where I can no longer drink coffee past 2 p.m. without disrupting my sleep patterns for the next month, so when it was my turn to order I selected a scoop of ice cream in a waffle cone. Ashby’s ice cream is famous for a whole multitude of unique flavors, but I had to go with my all-time favorite: Michigan Pot Hole ($3.75). This flavor is filled with a thick, black-tar fudge in chocolate ice cream, and is packed with chunks of chocolate “asphalt.”

Decadent and luxurious, it is guaranteed to never damage your car rims or puncture your tires. 

Ashby’s Sterling ice cream flavor Michigan Pot Hole. (Beca Welty|Watershed Voice)

My date was similarly interested in the coffee selections, and he is a special breed of human who can consume caffeine at any hour of the day and still find his way to a REM cycle by the end of the night. I was relieved, however, when he chose to get his coffee fix in ice cream form and chose a scoop of Rush Hour ($3.75) in a waffle cone. This flavor is a robust coffee ice cream, swirled with ribbons of caramel, and dotted with chocolate-coffee candy chips. Each bite was divine, rich, and the bursts of caramel gave the perfect punch of sweetness. 

Ashby’s Sterling ice cream flavor Rush Hour. (Beca Welty|Watershed Voice)

We took our cones out to the back patio of The Parlor and found seats beneath the strings of twinkling lights. We happily devoured our dessert as the sun began to set, the crickets began to chirp, and the heat of the day began to lift. With each lick, I confirmed what I believe I already knew in my heart the whole time: Americans might have fallen out of love with ice cream — but I absolutely have not. 

Beca Welty is a staff writer and columnist for Watershed Voice.