Pride and Joy
Moojo's artisan ice cream sandwiches
Every area of the country has its favorite frozen treat. Philadelphians love water ice, and folks in New Orleans go for snowballs or Creole cream cheese ice cream. New Englanders swear by Ben & Jerry's while ice cream fanatics in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Missouri crave the eclectic flavors of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. Shops adding a dizzying array of "mix-ins" to scoops of small-batch ice cream started in the Boston area before Amy Simmons brought that concept to Austin more than 30 years ago. More recently, however, ice cream sandwiches have become all the rage. Now, a group of four young entrepreneurs have decided that laid-back, quirky Austin is just the right spot to bring that trend to life.
Managing partners Matt Petersen and Matt Weldon, along with partners Nick and Allison Gaynor, wanted their brand name to evoke all the positive aspects of making and sharing ice cream, so they chose to focus on the phrase "moments of joy," and Moojo was born. In early 2015, Weldon began developing the corporate catering element of the new business before the brick-and-mortar outlet opened in the historic Varsity Building on the Drag in June with Petersen as managing partner. The space on the Drag is comfortable and airy with a playful vibe created by swing seats suspended from the ceiling, plank seats coming out of the wall, and banquette benches with tiny round tables facing box stools painted to look like ice cream cones. Community tables with tall stools fill out the room. A blackboard menu describes daily specials, and bright neon signs proclaim the creed – "Moments of Joy." The mouthwatering aroma of cookies baking stimulates the appetite and draws customers inside.
In order to create their menu of ice cream sandwiches, the Moojo team looked to work with small, family-owned purveyors that shared their ideas about all-natural, quality ingredients. For the 12 varieties of all-butter cookie doughs, they've partnered with Lockhart Fine Foods who prepare the doughs to Moojo's specifications and deliver them frozen in portions, to ensure consistency. Their ice cream of choice is McConnell's Fine Ice Cream, a highly esteemed all-natural dairy and ice cream maker in Santa Barbara, Calif., that recently began distributing its product in the Austin market. Moojo sources their vegan option from Austin's own NadaMoo! Rounding out the menu, the brownies, Belgian waffles, some toppings, and the vanilla ice cream used in the milkshakes are all made in-house.
What emerges from the combination of the joyful mission statement and the stellar ingredients is a very appealing lineup of cookie varieties and ice cream flavors. The house offers suggestions, of course, such as sandwiches like Strawberry Fields Forever – strawberry ice cream between butter sugar cookies – or Chip off the Rock – Rocky Road cookies filled with mint chip ice cream – but guests are encouraged to mix and match to create their own favorite frozen treat. If you are not in the mood for a sandwich, how about a brownie or Belgian waffle crowned with ice cream and some toppings? They will fix you right up. Moojo is open daily 'til midnight, and Petersen reports that they are already developing after-dinner and late-night crowds – creating those moments of joy almost anytime.
Moojo Ice Cream2322 Guadalupe, 512/473-8759
Daily, noon to 12mid