Will this week’s ice cream be Honey Lavender or Hot Jalapeno? Oo – or maybe PB&J, Lobster Bisque or Sunday Breakfast – complete with bacon? One thing’s sure with Treat Dreams ice cream shops in Ferndale and Midtown Detroit: There’s always something to please kids and parents. And it’s never the same menu twice.
At this wildly creative shop – whose goal is to “serve the most original and innovative homemade ice cream in Michigan” – the tastes are always a surprise. And it certainly earns its spot among independent ice cream shops in metro Detroit.
And families have made a habit of checking the Treat Dreams Facebook page each Sunday at noon (or lining up at the store around then) to see what the latest Flavor Board will hold.
The man behind the curtain
So who’s the Willy Wonka-esque mixologist whipping up these funky blends? His name is Scott Moloney. And, until starting up Treat Dreams in 2010, this Birmingham dad of two was – wait for it – in the finance business. A pretty far cry from the ice cream industry.
“I felt like I was someone else trapped in a banker’s body for 13 years,” he quips. Moloney quit the money business for a more creative venture in late 2009. He officially opened during August and, since that was the end of the summer ice-cream season, winter gave him time to experiment with different flavors and get feedback from locals.
The community, he says, has embraced him and his business. And vice versa: You’ll often find the store crew at local events, running fundraisers or mixing special blends on behalf of special causes.
“Ferndale has got such a great vibe and different buzz,” he says – a city that’s perfect for a guy who serves up ice cream concoctions like chicken-and-waffles and macaroni-and-cheese. And, since 2015, it’s found a following in the city of Detroit proper, too.
Zany flavors and personal touch
At Treat Dreams ice cream shops, inspiration comes from all corners. For instance, after hearing that a customer’s pregnant friend was craving mint chocolate shakes (think McDonald’s Shamrock Shake), Moloney made her an entire tub of mint chocolate ice cream (the tub was in the cooler with her name on it).
It’s that rapport with patrons – from knowing their first names and favorite flavors to taking special requests – that keeps people coming back, despite the ever-changing flavors.
Moloney offers 12-14 hard ice creams per day, along with one or two lactose-free sorbets and a homemade vegan ice cream.
“Our two most popular are Kooky Monster (made of blue vanilla ice cream, chocolate cookie dough and Oreos),” he says, “and salted caramel.” Moloney makes the caramel from scratch and, while the process can be tedious, the end result is delicious.
Other flavors served daily include dark chocolate chip, vanilla, chocolate and Mound Road, featuring coconut and chocolate. And, again, there are vegan picks too, like a version of Mound Round sporting dairy-free chocolate chips.
Not all of his flavor combos have been hits. Notable flops? Salt-and-vinegar, along with a butterscotch ice cream – and a caramel corn and Oreo mash-up. “The candy corn froze like rocks,” he laughs.
Beyond ice cream
Hits and misses aside, fans keep flocking back. And Moloney continues to experiment with flavors – north of 1,000 total flavors and counting, as of 2018. Treat Dreams also offers other items – like cookies, cupcakes, cupcake pops (bite size cupcakes on a stick) and cakes.
There’s also a variety of ice cream flavors in store freezers for purchase in larger quantities. So folks who love red velvet, for example – a flavor not available by the scoop every day – can purchase it as a pint.
“It’s all seat of the pants,” he says. That may well be the secret to Treat Dreams ice cream’s success.
Visit Treat Dreams
Treat Dreams’s flagship store is located at 22965 Woodward Ave. in Ferndale, and the phone number there is 248-544-4330. Its Midtown location is at 4160 Cass Ave., Suite A in Detroit; reach that location at 313-818-0084
Hours at both spots are noon-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and noon-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Photo from Treat Dreams’ website.
This post was originally published in 2011 and is updated regularly.