CREAM Fresno will open with a bang Saturday, Aug. 22, by giving away an estimated 3,000 free ice cream sandwiches.
People have been watching and waiting for this one, a Berkeley-based chain of ice cream sandwich shops that is opening its first location in the San Joaquin Valley at 1760 E. Barstow Ave., at Cedar Avenue, behind the Bulldog Shop.
CREAM is short for “cookies rule everything around me.”
CREAM Fresno specializes in ice cream sandwiches made with fresh-baked cookies.
We got a sneak peek at the business earlier this week. The first thing you notice about the place is that there’s a party going on inside. Music is loud and employees are encouraged to dance and sing along.
Customers choose the cookies they want first – chocolate chip, cookies studded with M&Ms, and more – or a brownie that is cut in half to make their sandwich.
The shop has more than 20 flavors of ice cream to choose from, from Rocky Road to green tea. The sandwiches can be rolled in toppings such as M&Ms and crushed Oreos. One little girl walked out from the sneak preview with gummy bears sticking to the ice cream in her sandwich.
Although the $2.99 ice cream sandwiches make up about 90% of the sales typically, says franchise owner David Barhum, waffle tacos are popular too. That’s essentially a waffle cone in the shape of a taco with three scoops of ice cream in it. (And they’re $1 cheaper on Taco Tuesdays.)
Both the waffle and the cones come in red velvet flavors and are made on site. The cookies are made there too.
Every time they come out of the oven, the cookie baker yells “Hot cookies!” and the employees echo his shout.
The shop also sells dishes of ice cream, milkshakes, malts, floats and sundaes.
People with special dietary requirements, fear not. CREAM Fresno has gluten-free and vegan cookies and a couple of flavors of soy ice cream.
A sampling of ice cream flavors: Chocoholic Cup of joe Blueberry cheesecake Soy mint chocolate chip Peanut butter twist Green tea
CREAM Fresno will be giving away free ice cream sandwiches from noon to midnight Saturday. If crowds aren’t your thing, the shop will be open regular hours after that, from noon to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights and noon to midnight the rest of the week.
They don’t serve alcohol, but they really do expect to get customers that late, Barhum says.
“People are out eating ice cream sandwiches after partying, after movies,” he says.