There is something about Janarty’s Ice Cream that reminds me of my old friend Dan Whittle. Whittle has always had a taste for really “good eatin’,” as he calls it, letting his southern Missouri roots shine bright. But, he has no time for anything less than the best of the best, be it steak or chitlins. That is what you will get at Janarty’s. Simply the best ice cream in the county.
I say it is the best as a connoisseur of ice cream. While I can give up any other sweets, I can never give up this flavorful treat. I have had many variations from gelato in Italy to sorbet in France. I have had ice milk soft serve to high milk fat concoctions that have been blended with everything from champagne to moonshine and bacon. Janarty’s is the best I have had locally. And their customers know it.
Unpretentious in appearance on Front Street in Smyrna, owners Marty Schiff and Janelle Alice know what they want, to make the best ice cream. After Schiff retired from the road as a musician in 2013, the two of them spent four months straight pretty much eating ice cream. They have even spent time traveling to renown ice cream establishments all over the country to research what they wanted to make.
“We want to do one thing great,” said Schiff, “not a lot of things okay.”
And doing one thing great is just what they have done. Their loyal customers and new converts gush with delight.
“This is like heaven on earth,” said one new customer. “I haven’t had a waffle cone [due to gluten intolerance] in years. We’ll be back.”
Part of that greatness is creating gluten-free ice cream and waffle cones. Schiff states that they work hard to keep from error on cross contamination. Himself a sufferer of celiac disease, he is conscious of what it would mean to those suffering from the chronic disease. His care allows his customers freedom to enjoy many delights they have had to forgo for a long time.
“Yes, it’s about making a living,” added Schiff, “and mainly it is about making people happy.”
They do not do any strange combination just to be au currant, but they do take suggestions from their customers for flavor ideas. When asked about their most popular flavors, Schiff said that it is always changing. Sometimes the newest flavor is the most popular, sometimes it is the basics. The options change daily. Some of the options are double chocolate, salted caramel, Andes mint, peanut butter, and coffee.
“One thing unique to us is that we make our coffee ice cream from coffee made by Carpe Café,” said Schiff. “We want to support the community, and their mission to teach kids about the arts.
Speaking of kids, kids’ favorite flavors have more to do with color than taste, so Marty and Janelle have created colored cones.
“Kids like anything that is blue, green or pink,” Schiff said, pointing to a photo of his own child indulging in cotton candy ice cream on a blue cone.
While kids like colors, adults like quality. That is why Schiff gets his ingredients from the best sources, like Belgian chocolate.
He tries to use as many local providers as possible. He really wanted to get his milk and cream from local dairies, but many can’t provide the quantity he needs. For example, he wanted to use MTSU milk and cream, but they just couldn’t supply the amount of cream necessary to make his ice cream.
“We want this to become the place to come for ice cream,” said Schiff. “At this location. We want to keep tight control on quality. We want to be the best.”
Janarty’s Ice Cream
111 Front Street
Smyrna, TN 37167
Facebook: Janarty’s Homemade Ice Cream
Cost: $2 to $8
Hours: Monday, Wednesday – Thursday 11:30 am until 9:00 pm
Friday and Saturday 11:30 am until 10:00 pm
Type of Food: Ice Cream
Baked goods are not gluten-free.