Here’s the Scoop on ‘brown dog ice cream’

Kids scream for ice cream at Saturday’s grand opening of brown dog.

Cape Charles Wave

June 30, 2012

Record-breaking heat is usually not good for business, but there’s an exception to every rule. If you could choose the weather for the grand opening of your ice cream shop, wouldn’t 96 degrees seem about right?

And so the weather gods smiled on Miriam Elton today, as she finally opened her doors at noon for “brown dog ice cream,” (all lowercase letters, please) on Mason Avenue. The weather couldn’t have been better!

Cape Charles locals have been waiting for months for the shop to open. brown dog didn’t manage to be ready in time for Tall Ships weekend, but it’s made it for the 4th of July. And by the 4th, the staff should have had plenty of experience scooping cones – in fact, by tomorrow they should be pros.

Personal service with a smile!

Grand opening was a “wild success,” with lines of customers “from the dipping cabinet to the door,” reported a staff member. The five regular employees weren’t nearly enough to serve the crowd, and Elton’s friends and family members found themselves pressed into service. One couple stopped in to wish her well, only to find themselves in the kitchen for hours, washing up.

Amid the festivities, the owner was nowhere to be seen. Elton spent the whole day in the kitchen, because only a few hours after opening, the shop was in danger of running out of ice cream, so she literally had to churn out more.

That’s right – brown dog ice cream is handmade. No commercial product here. It’s a family recipe, with only the finest ingredients (like real vanilla).

So, with the owner too busy for an interview, the Cape Charles Wave had to go into “Citizen Kane” mode – piecing together the puzzle of how “brown dog ice cream” came to be. But unlike Citizen Kane’s “Rosebud,” the key to “brown dog” quickly became known: Foster.

Miriam Elton’s “Rosebud” — Foster, the brown dog.

Foster is the brown dog – Elton’s dog, and “a family member,” according to her nephew, Sam. And without Foster, there would be no brown dog ice cream shop. That’s because Elton originally planned to operate a bakery out of her home on Madison Avenue. But state health regulations put the kibosh on that idea, because commercial food is not allowed to be prepared in a residence occupied by a dog.

So – out went the bakery idea, and in its place came the brown dog.

Thanks Foster! You (and your family) are going to make a lot of folks happy!



3 Responses to “Here’s the Scoop on ‘brown dog ice cream’”

  1. Mike Elton on July 2nd, 2012 9:13 am

    Congratulations on the Grand Opening, Best of Luck and Lots Of Success.

  2. Nancy Proto on July 3rd, 2012 9:03 am

    Way to go, Miriam!!!

  3. Roger L. Munz on July 3rd, 2012 10:06 am

    Opening of the Brown Dog, Irene and I went Sunday noontime to have an ice cream lunch. It was GREAT! Irene had the rum raisin, while I tried the cherry chocolate. They were rich and smooth with great flavors. The portions were generous, and my wife and I had an enjoyable time. I urge all readers to try, and enjoy, this Cape Charles treasure.