About two months after opening its first brick-and-mortar store in north Raleigh, Two Roosters Ice Cream is reeling ice cream lovers in to try out their spin on classics like double fold vanilla and their takes on more unusual flavors, including red wine and chocolate and roasted black sesame.
Jared Plummer started the business a couple of years ago, drawing fans first to a food truck and now to Two Roosters' location at Greystone Village Shopping Center of Lead Mine Road. The former corporate accountant started making his own ice cream and bringing it to dinner parties a few years ago.
"It was a hobby that turned into an obsessions that turned into a business," said Plummer, who runs the business with his wife Kelsey. The two are expecting their first child in December.
Today, the shop features a slate of "regulars," including that double fold vanilla, which includes double the amount of vanilla, among other ingredients.
"It's over the top vanilla," Plummer said. "Even on the classics, we try to go all out."
There's also Girl Scout mint, roasted strawberry and honey, cookies and cream and three top sellers - coffee bourbon, blackberry hibiscus and butterscotch haystack, a take on a treat Plummer's mom used to make. It includes chow mein noodles and homemade butterscotch sauce and is absolutely creamy and delicious with just the right amount of sweetness.
And then there are "The Guests," special flavors that Plummer creates each month. This month, Plummer is paying homage to other shops in Greystone Village.
So, you'll find a margarita ice cream developed with input from Gonza Tacos y Tequila; that red wine and chocolate concoction, which was created with Bottle Rev 3; a non-dairy coffee ice cream, thanks to Sola Coffee; a roasted black sesame with KAI Sushi and Sake Bar; and a honey sriracha with fortune cookies in honor of Imperial Garden.
This isn't the first time Two Roosters has partnered with other local businesses on various flavors. It's part of an ongoing business strategy for Two Roosters. Plummer also has pulled ingredients and inspiration from Tin Roof Teas in Raleigh and Slingshot Coffee Co., among many others.
"It has a cult following," said Plummer of the blackberry hibiscus flavor that is helped from a tea blend from Tin Roof Teas. "People come to see us just for that flavor. It's so unique and it's supporting other local food people in our communty."
Two Roosters makes a perfect destination for families because ... ice cream, of course. The menu includes kid-sized cups, sprinkles and other kid favorites, including toppings like hot fudge and homemade whipped cream.
The space also is fun. Kids love hopping among the vinyl rooster feet on the floor. There's also a big mural on the back wall of a farm scene.
The spot has seating inside and outside. (Parents often get their kids some ice cream and then pick themselves up a beverage at Bottle Rev 3 to enjoy at the picnic tables, Plummer tells me.).
And, along with other spots in Greystone Village, it's easy to spend a morning or afternoon here. The shopping center also is home to North Raleigh Arts & Creative Theatre, which offers programs and shows for kids, and Mathnasium, which offers math tutoring and programs.
Plus, there is the city of Raleigh's fantastic Greystone Recreation Center, which is home to an indoor playground that is free and open to the public. (Hours to the general public change. It's best to check the website to find out when the playground is open before you go).
Plummer said he was thrilled when he learned that his ice cream shop was just steps away from a playground. Before signing the lease, Plummer said he'd been a long-time fan of Gonza and Sola and knew the center also was home to the theater.
"Then we discovered there's a hidden gem with an indoor playground," he said.
For now, Plummer is plugging away at plans for new flavors to roll out in October and November. Two Roosters' food truck also is still roaming the Triangle, often stopping at weddings, corporate events and festivals. And, Plummer said, he's always interested in possibly opening other locations.
"Right now, I enjoy my little corner of the world," he said. "But, I recognize that there's only one of me and I want people to enjoy Two Roosters wherever they are in the Triangle."
Wherever you are, I highly recommend a trip to Two Roosters, paired with playtime at Greystone Recreation Center. We loved the butterscotch haystack, Girl Scout mint and (a guest flavor in August) key lime and gingersnap flavors.
Two Roosters is at 7719 Lead Mine Rd., Raleigh. The shop is open Tuesday through Sunday.