Without an evening ice cream run this season, summer hadn’t yet felt official. So as the sun was sinking on a beautiful day, we biked across the treacherous Hennepin/Lyndale split and stopped at the charming ice cream shop that marks the start of Uptown neighborhoods. Around the corner of the street-facing windows, we found we weren’t the only ones with the idea of a cool treat.
Sebastian Joe’s isn’t tiny, though the narrow hallway connecting the small seating areas made for some close quarters as we waited our turn. But the staff was friendly and swift, moving customers past the tasting counter and to the cash register in a matter of minutes. The chalkboard above the ice cream buffet listed the daily flavors – some weekly specials and others long-time favorites – that had us salivating as we waited. Luckily, the servers don’t hesitate handing a sample spoon to someone asking, “What’s that one like?” and the fervent cone dippers are knowledgeable about the details of each flavor. My sample of Coco Loco will bring me back for a scoop of the real thing: coconut, berry and enough cayenne pepper to give a hot lingering effect.
Jim ordered two small scoops (the 6 oz option) on a homemade waffle cone. Cappuccino Heath had a nice coffee flavor, but nothing about it stood out – just a standard scoop available at most ice cream parlors. But the Raspberry Chocolate Chip was reason itself to visit Sebastian Joe’s. Real raspberries throughout, the mix featured the right balance of chocolate pieces to guarantee an ideal bite each time. He declared this one worthy of a repeat order, even among all the flavors we have yet to try.
My scoops were also plopped atop the crispy homemade cone. Pavarotti – a banana, caramel and chocolate chip combination – is touted as the top seller, and it’s easy to see why. The caramel flavor didn’t overpower the banana taste, and each bite had just enough chocolate to complete the well-made match. Big Bark was just as good. The white-chocolate cream hid chunks of walnuts, offering a fun texture combination. Needless to say, we didn’t leave unsatisfied.
Sebastian Joe’s knows how to create the right ice-cream-eating environment. Multiple patio tables offer outdoor seating to large crowds where kids, pets, and groups of friends can all feel comfortable. And with multiple bike posts, it was easy to lock up our two wheels and head inside. Though just off of bustling Hennepin, it’s tucked back enough to have the friendly, neighborhood vibe locals have come to love. I think we just found a delicious summer treasure that won’t be unfamiliar to us for long.
RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠
Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠♠
COMPLETE EXPERIENCE: ♠♠♠♠
Total bill: $10.50