By Kevin Collison
The missing ingredient on the Delaware Street food scene menu, a great place for dessert, will be filled the last week of August with the opening of Betty Rae’s Ice Cream at 412 Delaware.
Betty Rae’s Founder David Friesen is delighted to open a second helping of the famed Waldo ice cream parlor along a stretch of Delaware in the River Market that’s seen several great food venues open in recent months.
“It’s amazing to see the amount of people and the community that’s happened here over the last three years, they’re putting up apartments like nobody’s business,” Friesen said.
“Having the streetcar rolling around and so many new businesses, there was one great missing piece, not place for dessert. This fills a void.”
Friesen was inside the new Betty Rae’s, which took over space formerly occupied by Cafe al Dente.
Workers were installing appliances, the new ice cream counter was being readied to receive its 25 flavors and his collection of ice cream-themed album covers was on the wall. There’s even a custom-built photo booth done by the Classic Photo Booth Co. of Kansas City.
The same vibe that has given the original Betty Rae’s at 7140 Wornall Rd. is expected in the new River Market location. The 21,000 square-foot space is roughly the same size although the high ceilings make it seem larger.
“Our thing in Waldo was that a lot of ice cream places were too kid or too adult,” Friesen said. “We wanted it to hit 50-50, a place where a five-year-old can have a blast or someone could have a boozy shake.”
Yes, you can get a buzz with your ice cream at Betty Rae’s. It serves alcohol-infused ice cream drinks as well as beer. Friesen said the demo at the Waldo site is about 60-40 with kids having a slight edge.
He expects that percentage to flip in the River Market with adults having a larger presence. To help slake those thirsts, Betty Rae’s will be serving beers from local brewers including Cinder Block, Torn Label, Boulevard, KC Bier and Tall Grass.
The new Betty Rae’s will feature a spacious outdoor patio featuring a colorful mural done by J.T. Daniels. Friesen discovered Daniels work on Troost Avenue and the artist also recently did a mural for the new Whole Foods by UMKC.
And outdoor ice cream lovers will be able to enjoy the ambience of that stretch of Delaware, which features arguably the city’s finest collection of late 19th Century commercial architecture.
And for a more modern vibe, the new streetcar passes by regularly.
“I gravitate toward older parts of any city,” Friesen said. “If you’re from Kansas City or visiting for a week, you should come down here to check it out.
“We’re continuing to use this historic space vs back in the 90s when nothing was going on. It’s nice to be a littler part of that.”
Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.