Ice cream is rarely bad. I mean, awful, can’t-take-another-bite, horribly bad. Regardless of the quality or novelty of ingredients used, generally ice cream is cold and sweet, and you can’t go wrong with that combination. But when you have top-shelf, rock-your-socks-off ice cream, you definitely know it. The right combination of creamy consistency, pure flavors, and inventiveness is pure pleasure.
So when we heard about Honey & Mackie’s, a new shop in Plymouth boasting about its homemade ice cream (and hand-cut french fries), expectations ran high. After all, we have some damn good ice cream in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and a newcomer that can meet or beat the standard set by Sebastian Joe’s, Grand Old Creamery, Izzy’s, or FrozBroz is one to seek out. But though we found some tasty flavors and generously sized scoops, Honey & Mackie’s doesn’t rise to that level of ice cream supremacy. While it’s a nice addition to the northwest part of the metro, it’s unlikely to draw a regular clientele from much beyond Plymouth’s borders.
Medina residents (and Jimmy John’s franchise owners) Amy and Josh Albert named Honey & Mackie’s after their two sons, Henry and Max, who go by those nicknames, and the shop is kid-friendly all the way. Flavors like bubble gum and M&M — and anything with chocolate chunks — appeal to young cone lovers (cones / cups start at $2.75), and for the most part, the ice cream offers enough chunky mix-ins to satisfy the pickiest customer. In fact, in most cases it’s the mix-in that carries the flavor.
The pieces of fruit in the mango habañero variety dominate each bite, while the level of heat fails to live up to its promise. Maple walnut and nutty fudge put the nuts in the forefront, with less concentration on the syrupy or fudgy half of the combination. Coffee chocolate chunk comes across as a better balance between java and chocolate, and of the several flavors sampled, s’mores was the only one in which the ice cream base flavor prevailed. Barely a graham cracker or marshmallow is to be found. Any flavor can be made into a shake or malt ($5), and the homemade waffle cones are a worthy upgrade.
Though the freezer case takes up prominent real estate in Honey & Mackie’s colorful shop, a few hot items round out the menu. Frito pie ($4.75), that crazy concoction of Frito chips, chili, and nacho cheese sauce, is a ooey, gooey, cheesy mess that is strangely addicting. A slightly meatier, chunkier chili would make it even better. The hot, medium-cut fries ($4 for a large) would benefit from additional seasoning, but the selection of dipping sauces ($1 each) offers some tasty options. Don’t skip the thick, tangy ranch — it may seem pedestrian, but this isn’t any bottled dressing. If you need spice, the sriracha mayo hits the spot.
If you need a sweet treat and are in the neighborhood (maybe having lunch at nearby Eat Shop), Honey & Mackie’s merits a stop. Though the cones are priced higher than those at typical soft-serve shops, anyone who is used to building their own dairy delight at a self-serve frozen yogurt place will find the prices on par. While it won’t be my regular ice cream destination because it’s a good 20 to 25 minutes away, northwest residents likely will enjoy a new option this summer… and winter. We are Minnesotans, after all.
Honey & Mackie’s
Ice cream and fries in Plymouth
16725 County Road 24
Plymouth, MN 55447
OWNERS: Amy and Josh Albert