Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Business

April 20, 2014

An old-fashioned custard stand

Kokomo Frozen Custard nearing 30 years in town

Frozen custard, according to Mike Hinkle, is pretty much ice cream with egg yolks mixed in.

“It has 1.4 percent pasteurized egg solids,” said Hinkle, the longtime owner of Kokomo Frozen Custard, 3107 S. Webster St. “It’s basically the same thing as French vanilla ice cream.”

For more than a generation, Hinkle’s ice cream stand has grown a reputation as a local institution. Open from the start of spring to the end of fall, seven days a week, the store has been in the same spot, serving soft, hand-dipped ice cream made in the same SaniServ E-Z Way machine.

“It’s just an old-fashioned custard place. We’re an old-fashioned corner stand, that’s our mentality,” Hinkle said.

This is the 29th year of operation for Kokomo Frozen Custard, where they serve vanilla, chocolate and butter pecan every day, along with a fourth “flavor of the day.” They have lemon Sunday, strawberry Saturday and wedding cake Friday.

Every year, a bunch of high school kids work there. Hinkle now has second-generation employees working there, the teenage children of kids who once worked there.

A farm kid from Cass County, Hinkle said he turned to the restaurant business when the farming business “turned south” in the early 1980s.

“The price of land declined, and the balance sheet looked terrible,” he recalled. He was going to open a pizza business, because his family owned Bruno’s Pizza in Logansport, but then he met the man who sold him the E-Z Way machine.

“It’s a big barrel machine; a lot of the smaller machines whip the ice cream a lot harder, and put a lot of air in it. Mine’s a very low-air product,” he notes. In ice cream, air is needed to keep the product from freezing hard as ice, but too much air makes it fluffy and insubstantial.

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