Eight scoops of ice cream, seven toppings, a banana, a warm brownie, whip cream and cherries. Called the Big Kahuna, the ice cream sundae serves four and is one of the most popular items on the menu at in Pawcatuck.
It’s also a familiar item. Because while Mel’s Downtown Creamery and owners Melanie and Dennis Goggin are new, the Big Kahuna is old. It was part of the menu when Mel’s was simply Downtown Creamery.
“When people heard we took over the place they begged us to keep the Big Kahuna,” Melanie said.
The Westerly couple brought the ice cream shop with the 1950s sweet shop feel earlier this year, reopening the store under the name Mel’s Downtown Creamery. Today, they will hold the shop’s official .
“Everything finally fell into place,” Melanie said. “It’s a cute place and ready to rock n’ roll."
For the past eight years while Melanie managed an ice cream shop in Cranston, R.I., her family kept pushing her to open up her own place.
“It was do 'I jump or not jump,'” Melanie said with laugh.
Her younger sister was friends with the daughter of Downtown Creamery’s owners and when they were looking to sell Melanie and her husband were ready to take the chance.
They opened the store in March. Melanie working 12 hour plus days and Dennis helping out after finishing his regular workday, as an active duty guardsman in the Connecticut Air National Guard.
They should be exhausted, but Melanie is all smiles full of excitement saying it’s different when you’re working for yourself.
“I love it,” Melanie said. “After three weeks it seems like home. I get to implement my ideas.”
One of those ideas is chocolate dipped frozen cheesecake, which has quickly become another menu favorite. Others include birthday parties and maybe soon a man vs. food contest featuring the Big Kahuna.
Already the shop takes a picture of everyone who orders the Big Kahuna and puts it on the Big Kahuna board. It is one of the things that gives the shop its community feel and Melanie is already quick to point out that they wouldn’t be where they are without locals rooting for them.
“The support from friends and family has been really touching,” Melanie said. “And Dennis is being very supportive. He has a lot of fun, he enjoys talking to people and he makes the best shaved ice, as good as you would get in Hawaii.”
The couple, both in their early 30s, married last June and have big plans for themselves, the store and the community. Melanie said they want to stay open year-round and will hire more people, as they get busier. And someday Melanie said they hope to raise a family here, although for now Melanie tells her mother to think of the store as her grandbaby.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Melanie said.
Mel’s Downtown Creamery, 37 W Broad St., Pawcatuck, Conn., holds their Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Tuesday, April 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Find them on Facebook at http://facebook.com/MelsDowntownCreamery and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MelsDTCreamery.