Angela Cruz was not at all certain that Milky Ways Ice Cream & Cereal Bar would make it through the pandemic. The Coram shop opened last August and was still getting its sea legs when COVID-19 hit. “We thought that no one would come in,” she said, “but it turns out I didn’t realize that ice cream is very essential.”
And it’s not as if Milky Ways is selling straight-up half-gallons. The bright, white-tiled shop is devoted to that singularly millennial mashup of ice cream, breakfast cereal and over-the-top add-ins and drizzle-ons.
Placing an order here requires a number of decisions. Do you want your “swirlz” in a cup ($7) or a cone ($8)? If it’s the latter, which artisanal Brooklyn Konery cone — pink vanilla, red velvet, midnight black velvet or birthday cake — would you like? Your ice cream (vanilla, chocolate or strawberry) will be scooped into a churning contraption along with one of 18 breakfast cereals (among them, Apple Jacks, Cap’n Crunch, Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, Honey Bunches of Oats and Reese’s Puffs) and then one of the friendly crew will pump it out, soft-serve-style, into your chosen receptacle. At which point it’s time to choose your toppings (various fruits, nuts and candies) and drizzles (chocolate, grape, caramel, strawberry, honey, marshmallow and peanut butter).
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can just order one of the “specials,” such as the “Meet the Flintstones”: vanilla ice cream blended with Fruity Pebbles topped with cookie dough and drizzled with chocolate and marshmallow.
Milky Ways can also whiz milk into your swirlz for a milkshake ($8) or even give you a traditional bowl of cereal with milk and a spoon. (At $6.50, however, this option seems designed to identify customers who have never actually bought a box of cereal at the supermarket.)
Cruz, a former nurse, and her partner, Lendel Bellamy, had first seen ice cream-breakfast cereal parlors in New York City and were considering bringing the format to Suffolk County when they happened upon a restaurant that was going out of business and selling its barely used equipment. “Those machines are no joke,” Cruz noted. “When we saw them it was like Milky Ways was spoken into existence.”
Cruz herself had long given up starting her day with breakfast cereal, but she found that ice cream makes a better partner for it than does milk. “With ice cream, it stays crunchy.” She believes that the process works better ‘with the cereals that are bright and colorful,” but conservative customers can avail themselves of Frosted Flakes, Trix or even Rice Krispies.
There are even customers who order a scoop of ice cream “neat,” but if Cruz is in the store she’ll often make them a deal: “Let me make you something with cereal and if you don’t like it, I’ll take it back and make you a plain ice cream and it’ll be on me.”
Milky Ways is at 2229 Rte. 112 (in Pond Plaza), Coram, 631-846-8868.