McCool’s Ice Cream Parlor: A Madison Staple

4 mins read


Willy Nichter, Staff Writer

Madison is home to a variety of great restaurants, from 54 Main to Shanghai Jazz, and with Drew being less than two minutes away from the heart of town, it’s easy to find a place to eat if campus food doesn’t appeal. For those who want something sweet to come after their meal, McCool’s Ice Cream Parlour is the place to go.

Located a short walk from Sitterly House, McCool’s is a quaint little place, with several tables arrayed along the wall and their counter of flavors in full display. Behind the counter are boards listing all the different options for sizes, toppings, and products.

“We have Italian ice and sorbets,” said John McCarthy, one of the store’s managers. The 17-year-old has been working there for around four months. “I’ve worked my way up pretty quickly.” That night, McCarthy was working alongside main manager Ryan Eschenroeder. “He’s the oldest one here,” McCarthy said. “He keeps everything going.”

But when asked his position, Eschenroeder replied, “I’m just a scooper,” as he went back to serving up frozen treats.

On weekdays, the counter is usually run by two people, mostly high school and college students, with three or four workers at a time on the weekends. “Some nights the owner comes in,” McCarthy said.

As far as options go, in addition to the ice cream, Italian ices and sorbets, McCool’s also features yogurt blends, smoothies, and ice cream cakes. “Lots of varieties,” said McCarthy. In terms of number, McCool’s offers 50 different flavors of Hershey’s™ Ice Cream, ranging from classics like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, to Crazy Vanilla, Graham Central Station and Heavenly Hazelnut. When asked about their most popular flavors, Eschenroeder said, “Sales wise, chocolate, vanilla and mint.” But their other options do well as well. “A lot of people ask if we have sugar-free or dairy free,” said McCarthy, “and we have both.”

And, of course, Drew students already frequent the restaurant. “I see a lot of Drew students,” said McCarthy. “The other day the entire Drew Girls’ Volleyball team came in for team bonding.”

“They have really good milkshakes,” said Sarah Tully (’18). She went to the restaurant for the first time because her high school history teacher specifically recommended the milkshakes. “The price is decent for the size you get, and the soft serve is pretty good,” said Kat Brask (’18).

Overall, McCool’s Ice Cream Parlor is a wonderful taste experience, and a great place to go to relax after a day of hard class work. Asked to describe the restaurant in one sentence, McCarthy said, “Friendly servers with an amazing variety of flavors and a good community in Madison,” and it certainly lives up to that praise.

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