I’m from Canton, Ohio–the meat-and-potatoes center of the nation. A city most well-known for being residence to the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame and plenty of cream soup–primarily based casseroles. It’s the type of Midwestern place the place the meals is ample and uncomplicated, typically forgettable and infrequently elegant. The Canton-born Bittner, a 90-year-old ice cream sundae, falls into the latter class and stays among the best desserts I’ve ever eaten, beating out my new favorites like Milk Bar’s cereal milk ice cream and my previous standbys like Nestle Drumsticks.
The Bittner is a sundae created by Taggart’s Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant, an old school ice cream parlor that opened its doorways in 1926. Taggart’s appears to be like practically the identical virtually 100 years later—blue and white tile flooring, sticky picket cubicles, and a marble bar—and it’s nonetheless serving the identical type of meals it was serving throughout the roaring 20s: overflowing sloppy joes, thick malts, tuna melts on white bread, and tangy phosphates from the soda fountain. The entire place is a visit again in time, however the factor individuals get most nostalgic for is the Bittner, a frozen delight that’s type of like a sundae, type of like a milkshake, and just a little bit like a Wendy’s Frosty®.
A full three-quarter pound of home made exhausting ice cream is delivered in a tall, clear glass. Most locations measure their ice cream in scoops, however in Canton, you get it in kilos. Some time in the past, the house owners purchased glasses sized to suit precisely three-quarter kilos of packed ice cream. Scoopers weigh it out by filling the glass to the brim, no scales required. That hunk of ice cream is mixed with “two beneficiant pumps” of chocolate syrup till it is simply mixed. The result’s thick, creamy ice cream, like a milkshake with out the milk, and proper on the verge of melting. It comes topped with tremendous salty roasted pecan halves from Georgia and a crown of whipped cream. A protracted silver spoon caught within the facet of the glass ensures that every chew options silky ice cream, a jumble of crunchy pecans, and whipped cream.
The take a look at to see if it was thick sufficient? Bunny stood on a chair and dropped a protracted silver soda spoon into the glass. If the spoon landed upright smack in the midst of the ice cream, the feel was excellent.
Like all good hometown-famous meals, the Bittner has a much-debated origin story. I’ve heard totally different variations on it my entire life, most lately by Jimmy, a nephew of Ernie Schott, the man who’s owned Taggart’s for the previous 30 years. He claims that two boys with the final identify Bittner preferred to play baseball across the nook from the store and would are available afterwards asking for an extra-thick milkshake. Formally, I’ll go along with the story that has had a spot on Taggart’s brochures since its eightieth birthday.
Legend has it that within the Thirties, the proprietor of Bittner’s Grocery Retailer, a neighborhood market, sponsored just a little league staff that had a candy tooth. After the video games, the Bittner’s supply truck driver, Bunny Artman, would chauffeur the gamers residence, stopping first at Taggart’s for a frozen deal with with the staff. At Bunny’s request, the Taggart’s fountain man would make him an ultra-thick milkshake lined in pecans. The take a look at to see if it was thick sufficient? Bunny stood on a chair and dropped a protracted silver soda spoon into the glass. If the spoon landed upright smack in the midst of the ice cream, the feel was excellent.
And thus, the Bittner was born, and shortly began showing on the menu. Although Bunny and his staff are lengthy gone, the Taggart’s crew has refined and perfected the Bittner, giving it a spot of honor on the very prime of the menu.
Although it’s at all times been part of my life, I didn’t at all times order the Bittner. After I was youthful I wished one thing sweeter, richer, like a sizzling fudge sundae with two scoops of ice cream lined in sprinkles. However as I acquired older, I understood the magic of salty, buttery roasted pecans and the just-beginning-to-melt ice cream. Now I crave Bittners much more than I did once I lived down the highway from Taggart’s.
The one factor that retains me from being desperately homesick for it’s that you could recreate a Bittner (or a minimum of a model of it) at residence: Roast 1 cup of pecan halves with 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter and a couple of teaspoons of effective sea salt within the oven. As soon as roasted, mix 4 scoops (about 8oz) of your favourite vanilla ice cream with 2 tablespoons Hershey’s chocolate syrup, and serve it in your tallest glass. A sprig of canned whipped cream or a dollop of home made, and also you’re set.
Each time I attempt to recreate a Bittner in my faraway Texas kitchen, I really feel nostalgic for my household. In spite of everything, I’m not the primary member of the Rice household to take pleasure in a Bittner. With every chew of salt-flecked ice cream, I consider my grandma going to Taggart’s after soccer video games when she was in highschool. She was a majorette within the marching band–so I image her carrying her white tasseled boots and a gold-and-blue skirt. I consider her and my grandpa taking his prized crimson Corvette out for an early date earlier than they married in 1964, stopping for a cheeseburger and a Bittner at Taggart’s.
Canton has modified—the downtown scene is much less bustling than it as soon as was, and hardly anybody beneath 65 is out at Taggart’s for date night time—however the Bittner stays true. The final time I used to be residence visiting household in the midst of the summer time, we stopped by. The waitress got here by with a pad of paper, and the seven of us ordered Bittners with out hesitation.
Calling all Buckeyes: have you ever tried the Bittner sundae from Taggart’s? Tell us within the feedback beneath!