The Smash cools down Stewart Square

The Smash cools down Stewart Square

By Molly Fleming & Marieke McClendon, Staff Writers

Molly’s take:

Troy Tucker and Troy Stromblad have owned The Smash ice cream stand since May 26, located in Stewart Square outside Kryptonite. Offering a rotational array of flavors, as well as coffee, tea, root beer floats and cookies, the stand is a great place to visit after nabbing a hot dog at Sammy’s stand across the way. We visited The Smash last Wednesday afternoon, which if you remember, was overcast and cool. But Tucker persevered through the unpredictable weather to serve up a vanilla waffle cone with a chocolate-dipped cherry, and a much-needed hazelnut coffee. The sign on their counter described the flavors available for the day: vanilla, chocolate and Rocky Road. Beneath the entrees it said: “It won’t melt today!”

Business was slow Wednesday, but that may be due to the fact that not many people realize there is an ice cream stand downtown. We did get a chance to witness a few customers patronize The Smash, however. Gabe Shappel of Power Communications dropped by to order a vanilla waffle cone. “It’s got a unique flavor, …definitely worth coming downtown for,” he commented as he licked the cream off his cherry.

Tucker added that the location is “an excellent surrounding for a day with kids, what with the library down the street.” With their boom box playing non-aggressive music (at least when I was there), a brightly colored umbrella, and a friendly guy dishing out extremely generous servings of creamy goodness, Tucker’s observation holds true. The Smash supports the downtown by opening a different kind of business in Stewart Square. The two Troys have worked in the same restaurants together for the past 10 years, and both are employed in the evenings at Little Italy (Deli Italia) on E. State Street, adding to their involvement to the downtown area.

The mere fact that I could grab a dark Colombian brew at 2 p.m. and enjoy it outside for only $1.25 is reason enough to visit The Smash. Maybe I was excited because I was extremely tired, or maybe I was just elated that I wasn’t about to spend $3 for a measly cup of Joe. Or maybe it was the care that Tucker took to please the customer—he offered to brew me a fresh pot after it had been sitting around for only an hour. The Smash really adds more charm to the downtown district and to Stewart Square, which is one of Rockford’s most scenic “hang-out” areas.

The Troys don’t charge a whole lot to brighten your day. A waffle cone only costs $3, and it’s an incredibly large serving. A bowl of ice cream is only $2.75, although the difference in size is not noticeable. Root beer floats are $3.50, coffee is $1.25 (with Torano syrup, $1.50), tea is $1, and although I didn’t see any, cookies are 50 cents.

The Smash is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. As the summer progresses, they will offer donuts and coffee in the morning, as well as melon halves with yogurt and granola for people seeking a quick breakfast on their way to work. Also, in the near future, The Smash will be serving its own creations in ice cream, by mixing flavors and different ingredients into the store-ordered product—sort of like Culver’s, except better. They will expand their menu to approximately six flavors of ice cream a day, depending on what customers request.

Marieke’s take:

The Smash, downtown Rockford’s sweet spot, is a charming little ice cream stand definitely worth visiting. There are few things to do in Rockford that are more pleasant than wandering around downtown on a sunny day. Unless, of course, you are eating a delicious ice cream while doing so. Actually, Tucker and Stromblad will be happy to serve you, even if it’s not a sunny day; The Smash is open rain or shine. The next time you feel the urge to treat yourself to some yummy ice cream, I insist you head downtown and support The Smash.

On my first trip, I decided to go classic and order vanilla. Tucker was manning the ice cream scoop that day. He presented me with my cone, and I honestly gasped with delight when I saw how appetizing it looked. First of all, they give you a heaping amount; then they’ll either scoop it into a bowl for you or pack it deep into a crispy, sweet waffle cone. The best part is the chocolate covered cherry that is carefully fixed on top with a toothpick. It truly makes a simple cone of vanilla ice cream pretty to eat. When I took my first bite, I was glad I did. The flavor was mild, smooth and not overly sweet or sugary, which was refreshing. The texture accented the mellow taste and aroma of the vanilla, and the tiny flecks of vanilla bean floating in the pale, yellow cream assured me that the quality was good.

The Smash has a lot to offer downtown, including a friendly staff of two, and delicious treats. It is also an ideal place to stop by for a date, day with the family, or just a stroll by yourself. There is truly no ice cream shop in town like it, and its location near so many attractions downtown makes it certainly worth visiting.

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