By Kevin Collison
Betty Rae’s Ice Cream, an instant success when it opened in Waldo in March 2016, is opening a second location in the River Market this summer.
The neighborhood ice cream parlor with a national reputation plans to take the space formerly occupied by Cafe al Dente restaurant at 412 Delaware St.
It will join a growing menu of food places along a charming, historic stretch of Delaware Street.
“We really wanted to be mindful about where we were in the city and there was a small list of neighborhoods we’d like to be,” said David Friesen, the founder of Betty Rae’s. “The City Market is an older part of town and historic..we love the vibe.”
Friesen said he hopes to open by mid-summer.
The new space is about the same size as his Waldo operation at 7140 Wornall Road, and ice cream fans should expect the same experience.
“Whatever we’ve done in Waldo people like it and we want to give people what they want,” he said. “We don’t want to mess with the formula.”
There may be a few more “boozy” float offerings though in keeping with the River Market’s more adult scene. Part of the Betty Rae menu offers alcohol flavored concoctions.
The River Market parlor however, will be as welcoming to all demographics as Waldo.
“It’s a place where you want anybody at all to go and feel comfortable,” he said. “We want a two-year-old to find something they like and a 95-year-old.”
Friesen added he’s delighted to join the unique blend of food and beverage places that’s been assembled by Craig Slawson on that stretch of Delaware.
Slawson, a Denver developer who purchased 10 historic buildings last year along the west side of Delaware from Third Street to Independence, said he originally wanted to entice Betty Rae’s into an old streetcar that he relocated to the corner of Fifth and Delaware.
But Betty Rae’s decided to go instead for the larger restaurant space, which was vacated last September.
“We’ll do something else with the streetcar, perhaps food truck-style food like breakfast burritos or grab and go sandwiches,” Slawson said.
Betty Rae’s reputation has soared since its opening in Waldo a little over two years ago.
It’s received national recognition by TripAdvisor as the “Top Ice Cream Shops Worth Traveling For” in Missouri; Bloomberg’s “Best New Ice Cream Shops in the U.S.” for 2016, and in a classic goof, best ice cream in Kansas by MSN.com.
Local recognition also has come from the KCUR public radio food critics and The Pitch.
According to the Betty Rae website, its named after Friesen’s maternal grandmother, “a great lady and phenomenal cook who had a taste for the sweeter side of life.”
With the streetcar passing in front of his planned shop, a big adjoining patio and great sidewalk ambience, Betty Rae’s will fit right in on Delaware, Friesen said.
“We would have liked to be there even if nothing else was going on, but I can’t believe seeing all these shops and restaurants opening and they all look really good,” he said.
“A year from now, when all these places are open, it’s going to be amazing.”
The hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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