Creamy, a plethora of options, great service, fun — these are the words and phrases that immediately came to mind when I was thinking of ways to describe my experience on a recent evening visit to Bruster’s Real Ice Cream.
The walk-up window ice cream shop opened just last month in Provo near the Walmart Neighborhood Market. Did the area need another ice cream place? Probably not. It’ll have tough competition with the BYU Creamery, Rockwell’s and Brooker’s Founding Flavors, which all have similar menus. But is it another fun option to add into the mix? Definitely.
When I and my group walked up to the ordering window, we had to take a few moments to examine the huge menu of options. Bruster’s offers about 25 ice cream flavor options, but that’s not where the decision-making ends. Do you want it in a cone? What kind of cone? How many scoops? What about a cup? Or throw it in a shake. Or choose from five customizable sundaes. Or how about a blast — vanilla ice cream whipped up with your favorite candy and toppings? Or skip the ice cream and go for an Italian ice, sorbet or sherbet!
Needless to say, it took a while to decide.
But luckily, the workers who helped us out were genuinely friendly and patient with us, offering sample after sample to help us decide and answering all our questions with a smile. And then once we finally finalized our order, or ice creams were out to us in no time.
Out of all the different flavors we tried, my personal favorite was the New York Cheesecake, which had a deliciously rich cream cheese base with beautiful large swirls of crunchy graham cracker crust.
Other group favorites included Southern Banana Puddin’ (I’m more of a chunky ice cream fan and this one was just smooth, but the strong banana flavor was good), Mudslide (richly chocolate with a marshmallow ribbon), Cotton Candy Explosion (this was probably the most fun of the flavors we tried, with brightly colored cotton candy ice cream mixed with Pop Rocks), and Peanut Butter Crunch w/ Butterfinger (perfect for me with my love of PB and crunchy toppings mixed in).
Ice cream flavors that our group wasn’t as enthusiastic about included Cookie Craze (we were a bit thrown off by the bright blue color, which was reminiscent of sugar cookie frosting in taste, and filled with different processed-tasting cookie chunks), and Almond Chocolate Coconut (which didn’t have anything particularly bad or off-putting about it, but it was just nothing to write home about).
The two sundaes we tried out — Hot Fudge Brownie and Banana Split — were decked out in a multitude of toppings. We were also able to make some substitutions, like switching out ice cream flavors and changing a topping or two, which was a nice option, because there were just so many different things we wanted to try.
These sundaes are not for the faint of heart; they’re pretty big and full of so many different things, I’d be surprised and impressed (and a little grossed out) if one person finished one off on their own. According to the menu, the two we ordered rounded out to 1,000 calories or more.
The consensus on the Hot Fudge Brownie? Meh. Of course, the ice cream was great and all, but the brownie tasted more like a piece of disappointing cake, and the rest of the toppings were nothing special.
The Banana Split, on the other hand, was all around solid. We substituted the vanilla ice cream scoop it comes with for a scoop of Southern Banana Puddin’ to enhance the overall banana flavor, and it turned out great. We also opted to substitute out the pineapple topping — I could imagine the overpowering, tart flavor wouldn’t be a great mix with the rest, but that’s just my personal preference.
We also ordered a shake made out of the Peanut Butter Crunch w/ Butterfinger ice cream, and it turned out great. For me, it was the perfect consistency: thick, but not too thick where I couldn’t use a straw. (Personally, I’m not a fan of the super thick “shakes” that seem popular around here; to me, it’s not a shake if it’s so thick you have to eat it with a spoon, because then it’s about the same consistency of ice cream anyway).
The waffle cones we ordered were classic. Also, Bruster’s is the type of place where a small isn’t really that small — the small waffle cone we ordered came with two large scoops, and the large we ordered towered four scoops high.
When it comes to pricing, expect to spend around $4 to $6 per adult. Kiddie menu items are in the $3 range, and if your kid is shorter than 40 inches, they can get a free Baby Cone.