Jones’s An Ice Cream Institution
By Charles Chandler
How do you approach an Institution that has been serving Michiganders ice cream for 75 years? If you love ice cream or are a patron of Jones’s Ice Cream Parlor in Baldwin, MI it is always with reverence.
Standing across the street the tall two-story solid white building with dramatic black lettering and a red striped awning reminds me of one our Lake Michigan lighthouses. That red and white awning guides us in from the summer heat to safe harbor at one of those old fashion counters with the classic round seats or a cozy table in the corner.
Speaking of safety one should not jaywalk across Baldwin’s wide streets during busy Troutarama especially if one has a bad knee.
Once inside of Jones’s it is a bit distracting because it is sort of a combo museum and ice cream parlor. It is suggested that you place your order first and then wander around and enjoy the collections of photographs and other stuff. On the back wall, you will find a special photo surrounded by memorabilia of Mr. Marcus Jones the original store owner. Mr. Jones operated the establishment for 25 years and current proprietor Terri Jamieson and family have been making and serving their delicious ice cream for 31 years. Don’t be bashful about looking at the photos and memorabilia as this is a Jones’s tradition, everyone does it, and the patrons don’t mind because everyone does it.
It is this N3 contributor’s opinion that enjoying summertime ice cream should be a total experience. This includes but is not limited to observing the space you are in, reading the handmade signs and menus, chatting with other patrons about their favorites, and watching the staff work. I always give points to an ice cream shop if the counter is managed by a gang of teenagers. And bonus points if they are wearing ill-fitting logo hats or shirts or when their smile reveals a grill of expensive braces. It has been said that people are at their best when they are eating ice-cream and what a better place to begin your working career than a summer stint in an ice cream parlor.
I ordered the butter pecan malt and as it was being created by trainee Derrick (his first malt) had a chance to chat with owner Terri Jamieson. When asked how she liked managing a 75-year-old institution the answer was quick and with a smile.
“We like it; we work very hard to maintain the shop and serve the patrons those traditional favorites and occasionally offer some new menu items. We make our own ice cream in about 14 flavors, have eight different toppings, and also make our delicious hand-dipped waffle cones. We serve all the other favorites like malts, shakes, smoothies, sundaes, and flurries. We also have delicious light lunches including wraps, sandwiches, and hotdogs.”
Jones’s earned four stars for uniqueness because even though they are a 75-year-old ice cream institution they are right in step with the farm to table movement.
Terrie has a small but thriving kitchen garden at her back door. She pointed out that they use the fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce for the sandwiches and wraps. And, the Jalapenos peppers for their special Raspberry and Jalapeno smoothies. She stressed that they never ever put pesticides on their kitchen garden. Match that Baskin Robbins.
Trainee Derrick delivered my butter pecan malt with a smile and demanded pay for same. I took a sip and walked outside admire the massive mural on the south side of the building and to inspect Terrie’s kitchen garden in back. The garden was as described. The malt was what you would expect from a 75-year-old institution, thick but smooth in the straw, not too cold and with that rich buttery pecan flavor, perfect. Well done Derrick.
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