When I read an article on Axios Tampa Bay (Axios.com) about how inflation and supply chain issues have adversely affected ice cream shops across the Tampa Bay-area, all I could think of was Joe Schembri, the owner of the Ice Dreammm Shops off S.R. 54 in Lutz and at The Grove in Wesley Chapel.
I got in touch with Joe and he said that yes, the cost of dairy products, stabilizers and other ingredients for his amazing homemade ice cream had increased significantly, but that his bigger problem was that the supply chain for spoons, cups and even Oreo cookies had been so inconsistent that he has had to buy some of those items in bulk whenever he was actually able to find them.
“It’s been a nightmare the past several months,” Joe says, adding, “thankfully, though, I haven’t had to raise prices yet to our customers. We’ve absorbed some of the losses caused by increased costs and lack of availability, but we have really great customers who continue to support us even when we haven’t always had the right-sized cups for our ice cream and milk shakes.”
So, What’s New?
Schembri, who is an avowed ice cream lover who left his IT job to open the Ice Dreammm Shop in Lutz, even though he somehow keeps himself in great shape, is always coming up with new ice cream flavors. I recently sampled his new bourbon ice cream flavor, which is infused with “a ton,” according to Joe, of smooth bourbon in every batch. It’s creamy, delicious and can definitely give you a buzz if you eat enough of it. (Note-I felt fine after my small-size scoop).
But, with favorites like smooth chocolate velvet, locally roasted coffee, cookies & dreammm, cookie dough, my favorite fluffernutter and more always rotating on and off the board, plus alcohol-infused favorites like salted caramel latté and rum haven, plus sugar-free and vegan varieties, there are few ice cream shops anywhere that can match the Ice Dreammm shop for variety of flavors — or deliciousness of flavors.
When we last wrote about the new Ice Dreammm Shop location at The Grove last year, Joe was only serving his awesomely gooey, chewy chocolate chip cookies freshly baked in-store. But now, Joe’s selection of fresh-baked goods include double chocolate and peanut butter chocolate brownies, peanut butter nutella cookies, “brookies” (half-brownies, half-cookies), cookie butter cookies, blondies, snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and more.
“People seem to really love our baked goods, especially with their ice cream,” Joe says. “If you ask for something we don’t already make, we might just end up making them in the future.”
In addition, Joe also offers a tremendous number of toppings (at least 20) to go with your favorite ice cream flavors, from hot fudge, caramel, marshmallow, whipped cream and peanut butter to sprinkles, crumbled Oreo cookies and so many more. The waffle cones are made fresh in-house and are hard to resist when you walk in and smell them cooking.
The Ice Dreammm Shop also offers amazing ice cream pies with your favorite flavors and toppings, hand-spun milkshakes and malts, ice cream floats and even coffee drinks like affogato (a scoop of ice cream drowned in espresso), cold brew coffee and cold brew floats and even locally roasted hemp coffee.
And, the fun doesn’t stop there, as Joe allows every customer to spin his wheel as long as you have 12 “stars” (customers earn one star with each $5 spent at Ice Dreammm), and you can win anything from one free scoop of ice cream, a milk shake, ice cream “nachos” to free ice cream for a year.
Even the one marker on the wheel where you don’t win something to eat or drink is pretty cool — a free high five from Joe. And, even though only one spot on the wheel offers the free ice cream for a year, Joe says more than 100 customers at the Wesley Chapel location have landed on the big win since it opened last summer.
The Ice Dreammm Shop is located at 6013 Wesley Grove Blvd., Suite 101. For more information, call (727) 495-6730. The Lutz location is at 23912 S.R. 54, Suite 2. For more information, call (813) 586-3767. Visit IceDreammmShop.com to order online from either location. Both locations are open every day.