Tuesday, December 07, 2004

What Gives with Maggie Moo?

Smartmom doesn't "get" the new Maggie Moo's Ice Cream and Treatery on Seventh Avenue. Does Park Slope really need one more ice cream store on the cusp of winter?

For those of you reading in Stuttgart, London or Manhattan, Maggie Moo's is the latest ice cream shop on Seventh Avenue. Strategically positioned across from PS 321 (and next door to Pino's Pizza), the shop is poised to make a killing on the sweet teeth of Park Slope children and parents alike.

There are now six ice cream stores between Union and Ninth Street. There's Haggen Daz, Uncle Louie's with 2 shops, Carvel, Fratelli, and now Ms. Moo. There's also Mr. Softee who parks daily on Second Street, the ices cart, which rolls up to PS 321 on a regular basis, and at least 4 pizza stores that sell Italian ices. Yeesh. Dats a lot of ice cream. Only real estate offices outnumber ice cream shops at this point.

Smartmom and family are loyal to Carvel because of the attached Mojo Cafe, which has become an extension of their living room. Smartmom never has the ice cream, which she detests. OSFO, however, loves a child's size soft vanilla with rainbow sprinkles. Smartmom has been known to enjoy a glazed Krispy Kreme donut every now and again. She also likes their coffee because they serve it with steamed milk. The Carvel/Mojo day staff are friendly, good to the kids, helpful and fast.

The morning crowd at the Mojo is heavy on PS 321 parents including the Women Who Rule Park Slope, who meet every morning to plot world domination and the next step in the battle to rid the world of Republicans.

After 3:00, the Mojo is a busy crush of school age children and parents lining up for their afterschool snack. It is unlegislated insanity for a half hour or so and then it settles down to become a nice place to do homework or chat.

So who needs Maggie Moo?

For Smartmom's ice cream needs, a pint of chocolate Haggen Daz from the Food Coop does the trick. Yet, this blogger from Brooklyn is always interested in the latest consumer developments on Seventh Avenue. Especially those entrepreneurs, like Maggie Moo, brave enough to build in doomed locations.

Yup. you heard me. Maggie Moo took over one of the most famous doomed restaurant spots on Seventh Avenue. For years this one storefront has been the site of one terrible restaurant after the other -- the names of which are thankfully forgotten. Terrible food, rotten service, ugly decor, bad ventilation -- you name it. Every restaurant that's gone in there was a disaster.

It is, however, possible to break the spell of a doomed restaurant spot. It's been done: look at Yamoto, the post-modern Japanese place -- they managed to break the spell of numerous prior debacles. But it ain't easy. Slopers are fairly discriminating when it comes to restaurants and shops on Seventh Avenue. Watch out nasty shopkeepers and shoddy restaurateurs: Slopers are TOUGH consumers!

Smartmom is curious if Maggie Moo can do it. Can she break the curse of her doomed restaurant location?

Fortunately, the shop looks completely different from its last few incarnations. Ms. Moo did a major rehab of the space painting it bright pink and orange with spots on the ceiling. Clearly, it was a big money rehab and it has the sniff of a national chain, which it is. It took weeks and weeks for the store to finally open and for a few days it looked open but they were just doing training sessions for the employees.

On opening day, an employee in a rather elaborate upright cow costume gave out flyers in front of the store. Said cow was wearing a polka dotted Minnie Mouse-style dress and was doing a little dance. Smartmom thought: It is nearly winter and these people are opening an ice cream store. What kind of overconfidence is that? With a cow no less. The first couple of days saw a steady crowd -- people are always curious when something new opens in the Slope.

OSFO was dying to go and was completely captivated by the dancing cow. Teen Spirt thought the whole thing was idiotic and he refused to step even one foot in the door. But OSFO was determined. So Smartmom and OSFO went...

Well?

Turns out Maggie Moo is modeled on the Cold Stone Ice Cream concept. That's a chain that started, like everything else, in California where the servers mash treats of your choice into the ice cream on a slab of marble or stone. There are M&Ms, marshmallows, gummy bears, nuts, Reeses, Heath Bar, KitKat, dried fruit -- take your pick. They make a bit of a production out of the mashing process. At Cold Stone, the employees sing Hip Hop style if you tip them. Maggie Moo does no such thing but other than that they're the same.

On OSFO's first trip she wanted vanilla ice cream with a KitKat bar mashed in. She watched in awe as the server diced the candy and vigorously smeared it into her ice cream using two silver spoons. The production cost close to $3.00 but Smartmom was okay with that as OSFO's pleasure is always foremost in her mind (how do you spell spoiled?) After a few bites, OSFO gave her culinary review: "Toooo Sweeeet," she said and she didn't much like the crunchy texture of the KitKat in there. Smartmom took a bite and agreed that the vanilla ice cream was putrid.

Curiosity satisfied, Smartmom figured: been there, done that. She didn't have a very glowing prognosis for this new addition to Seventh Avenue.

But OSFO was up for second visit yesterday -- a rainy Monday night. Nothing like ice cream on a cold, rainy night. But Smartmom okayed the plan if OSFO would finish her homework there. When they entered the empty shop, they were greeted with an extremely warm, "Welcome to Maggie Moo!" followed by, "Have you ever been to a Maggie Moo before? " They said, "yes," and OSFO proceeded to taste and then order the bright turquoise cotton candy ice cream with gummy bears mashed in.

Ugh.

The verdict: "Yummy, yummy, yummy in my tummy," OSFO said as she rubbed her belly. Her tongue turned bright blue and stayed blue until bedtime. She did her homework quickly and easily sitting at a round table with ice cream parlor chairs. They watched as three or four people trudged in from the rain and proceeded to hem and haw over what flavor, what topping to have mashed in.

Later, OSFO did say, "I think that ice cream made me not very sleepy." But luckily she seemed to have no trouble falling asleep just one hour after her trip to Maggie Moo.

The owner of Carvel is not nervous about the incursion of Maggie Moo into the Park Slope ice cream landscape. He is confident that he won't be losing his afterschool one dollar ice cream crowd. "Maggie Moo is a special treat, an event. $22 for a family of four to have ice cream. That's pricey. It's crazy," he declared.

Will Maggie Moo break the curse of its doomed restaurant location? Will Park Slopers choose to spend top dollar on too sweet ice cream? Smartmom will keep you posted. For now, she and OSFO will walk on the other side of the street to avoid the lure of the dancing cow, the bright pink interior, and turquoise ice cream with gummy bears.

2 Comments:

At 5:57 PM, Blogger mamainwaiting said...

Quite the expose on the ice cream situation in Park Slope. A very thoughtful piece. Doesn't sound like SM was too impressed withy MM, but OSFO seems to have fallen under it's spell. look forward to visiting MM with you and famille. MIW

 
At 7:39 AM, Blogger ssarhanna said...

I am ever shocked by the elitist attitude of upper east side/ohio/seattle/Long Island transplants that wish to make it difficult for hard working people to make a living. I am sure the people at MM just want to feed their kids.

Obviously SM does not have a job or her opinion would not be so strong. Alas, she is quite bored, so she blogs
Get a life/job/hobby/some volunteer work&last but not least some compassion. Or you buy all of the real estate in Park Slope&beyond&only allow people who resemble you to open businesses of YOUR CHOOSING! O wait that would mean they wouldn't work. Lol

 

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