Handel’s Ice Cream Comes to Las Vegas
Until now, Las Vegas had been missing a few things. One of these voids was the perfect spot to venture for fresh homemade ice cream. Well, the search is now over. Handel’s has arrived.
Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream is a family-owned creamery originally from Youngstown, Ohio. The first store opened up in 1945. Handel’s began expanding a few years ago and now has 37 franchises. It’s consistently ranked as one of the top-quality ice creams in the United States. And now, the very first Las Vegas location has opened up, on the far west side of town off of Tropicana, in Summerlin.
First the good: As amazing as it sounds, all 31 flavors (is this number just an odd coincidence?) are made fresh daily inside each store location. Nothing is made, then frozen, then shipped, then stored. No freezer burns here. All the conventional flavors are available. However, Handel’s also offers some uniquely original recipes which I found way too tempting to pass up. Eating one’s way through the entire menu would take at least three dozen visits, and would consume an entire summer. I have every intention of accepting the challenge.
Consider my first visit to Handel’s just a few weeks ago. As a vanilla lover, the simplest of flavors is often misunderstood. It’s as though “vanilla” is somehow too plain, lacking the essence of gourmet taste. Well, I beg to differ. The glaring contrast in a fresh Handel’s ice cream versus something you might scoop out of a carton from the grocery store is the difference between choking down a Lite Beer versus savoring an IPA. Tastefulness is magnified in the simplicity of vanilla, the unmasked building block of all frozen creation. In other words, it’s easy to fool the taste buds with gimmicks like caramel, chunks of chocolate, and fruit. However, Vanilla doesn’t lie.
As I said, I intend to accept my role as the unpaid quality control manager in the months to come. Two particular favorites I’ve enjoyed are caramel with sea salt (sounds interesting, doesn’t it?) and a cherry jubilee. Thank goodness Handel’s is located a few miles away from my house. If this place was next door, I might as well starting ordering pants with a 42 waist again.
The Bad: Handel’s needs a few things, which I presume will be settled once the establishment gains a steady clientele. First, there’s no indoor seating at the moment. It operates as a sort of street corner ice cream stand in a strip mall next to a grocery store. Some outdoor tables and chairs would be nice. Again, I presume these things will come. But just be aware Handel’s is a take-out only place at the moment.
Second, the website advertises other delicacies including cakes and pies. On my visits, I didn’t see anything like this. Let’s hope these desserts will be coming soon since they’re likely to be just as delicious. Then again, that makes picking out a favorite even more difficult.
If you’re in Las Vegas, give Handel’s a try. I’m not getting anything for the positive review, other than trying to help businesses and ensure they’re successful. I’m hoping Handel’s not only makes it big here but changes the ice cream eating habits of everyone on the west side.
True to its name, Handel’s is a symphony of quality and great taste.
Note: Several hours after this was posted, someone from Handel’s contacted me by e-mail. She wrote the following:
I just saw your piece on Handel’s – what a great review! I wanted to let you know that Handel’s is thanking the Las Vegas community for their warm welcoming with a “Two Buck Tuesday” special for a limited time only. Every Tuesday throughout the month of February, ice cream lovers can stop by and get a single scoop of Handel’s homemade ice cream for only $2. Handel’s has 150 different flavors of homemade ice cream in rotation, serving up nearly 50 of those flavors on a daily basis. The ice cream is made fresh, by hand, one batch at a time, using only the highest-quality ingredients and the brand’s proprietary recipes
that have been passed down for generations.
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