Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream
Grab summer by the horns with the help of Westport Ice Cream Bakery.
When 32-year-old Westport institution Murray’s Ice Creams & Cookies quietly shuttered its doors forever at the end of 2016, you could hear the howls of pain and sorrow echoing around the Kansas City metro. The void was quickly filled by a few enterprising, frozen treat-loving souls, though: Steve Engravalle, his brother Dan and sister-in-law Debra purchased much of Murray’s equipment at auction, and in May, Westport Ice Cream Bakery officially opened. Here’s what you need to know.
STEP RIGHT UP
You can’t miss Steve Engravalle. He’s a big, tall guy with the look of a former linebacker — except he’s actually a former school superintendent. He speaks with a kind of booming authority, too, so when you step into Westport Ice Cream Bakery and you get in what is likely a long and eager line for ice cream, Engravalle will loudly beckon you to the separate shalolly and sorbetto counter (which likely has no line) and will ply you with samples. Even when Engravalle is kindly offering you a third taste of something, there’s an authority behind his extended hand that says you’ll take that lemon ice shalolly, and you’ll like it, too.
There’s room for 16 different flavors of ice cream in the display freezer at Westport Ice Cream Bakery, and the Engravalles have around 168 flavors up their collective sleeves. Coffee is the most popular flavor, but you’ll want to sample malted milk ball; cannoli, which is made with real ricotta; and the Halloween green-tinted Frankenstein, which features cookies and crème de menthe. For your inner 5-year-old, there’s even a Unicorn flavor — a violet-purple explosion finished with multicolored sprinkles.
Seasonal flavors rotate weekly, and signage will inform you that you can get one scoop (a “junior”), two scoops (“small”) and three scoops (“medium”). But if you decide you need a pint (and after one bite of that smooth, nostalgia-spiked cherry cola, you very well might), no one is going to shut you down.
IT’S CALLED SHALOLLY
The Engravalles are Italian by way of New Jersey, and they aren’t afraid to show it. Case and point: the house specialty, shalolly (slang for Italian ice). Shalolly is similar to sorbet (which the Engravalles also serve) in that it is dairy-free, but the recipe tends to be slightly less complex, and at Westport Ice Cream Bakery, that translates to highly concentrated fruit flavors (think strawberry, watermelon and, of course, Jersey blueberry) that burst like fireworks on your tongue.
There’s a sign behind the shalolly counter proudly proclaiming the offerings to be “Vito’s Famous” after Engravalle’s grandfather, Vito. Engravalle says he grew up on his granddad’s Italian ice, and he takes great pleasure in introducing the recipe to a new generation.
YOU DEFINITELY NEED A COOKIE
It would be a dire mistake for you to skip the house-made cookies and brownies. Mary Braasch, the former baker at Lidia’s Kansas City, was enlisted to develop the baked goods recipes for the bakery side of Engravalles’ business. There are few things more satisfying than taking a fresh, fat brownie and topping it with a scoop of vanilla cupcake ice cream. Bottom line: When you enter Westport Ice Cream Bakery, let your inner 5-year-old — or even your actual 5-year-old — make all the decisions.
4120 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 14, Kansas City, Mo., (816) 214-8887, icecreamkc.com