Make us your home page

Cool weather doesn't deter ice cream lovers at Twistee Treat opening

SPRING HILL — Opening on a sunny but decidedly chilly Monday, Twistee Treat director of operations Jonathan Carroll shrugged off the weather.

"We can eat ice cream in Florida all year round," Carroll declared.

Customers digging into frosty treats at flashy, circus-hued picnic tables in the parking lot at Mariner Square on Cortez Boulevard bore him out.

Brianne Swann of Spring Hill, dipping into a strawberry sundae, said the cool temperatures early last week inhibited her choice "not at all." Her little bundled-up cousin, 2-year-old Lakyn Lewis, smiled as she tidily scooped multicolored sprinkles from atop a dish of soft-churned vanilla.

Nearby, John Snizek, 80, spooning into a strawberry sundae heaped with whipped cream and dusted with nuts, said, "Never too cold for ice cream."

These and many of the other consumers had been shopping at Mariner Square, unaware that they were helping to launch the eighth Twistee Treat site in Florida since the company revitalized and set up headquarters in Orlando three years ago.

The 20- by 20-foot ice cream cone-shaped fiberglass structure — vanilla with chocolate topping — drew plenty of shoppers.

Their presence confirmed the choice to locate in a plaza parking lot, not the first time the company had chosen such a site, Carroll said.

With ice cream stands in Tampa, Orlando, Kissimmee and Davenport, Carroll said the company selected Spring Hill because "the demographics on it worked."

What's special about Twistee Treat?

"We serve real ice cream," Carroll said.

Ice cream is decidedly creamier, richer and more palate pleasing than "the others," he said.

The former Twistee Treat chain made only the triumvirate flavors: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. The new chain churns up 25 tastes.

"Customer were telling us they wanted more flavors," Carroll said.

Think German chocolate cake, piña colada, mocha cappuccino, cheesecake, blue goo and more. The same flavors are offered in remarkably silky nonfat and sugarless treats.

"The sugar-free is amazing," Carroll maintained.

A skeptical taster nodded in agreement.

The most popular flavor at each Twistee Treat outlet depends on customer demographics, Carroll said. Watching orders filled for cones, dishes and sundaes, he added: "I couldn't even guess (what flavor) it'll be here."

In addition to the variety of flavors, there are 20 to 25 toppings — Snickers, Oreos, KitKats, Thin Mints, coconut, among others — resulting in "thousands of combinations you can have," the operations director added.

Standouts on the menu are an ice cream waffle taco and a cookie ice cream sandwich, the waffles and cookies baked on the premises daily.

With a nod to protein, Twistee Treat offers one hot item: a Nathan's hot dog slider.

As for prices, Carroll urged inquiring customers to read the menu board and compare with soft-serve competitors.

"For the value, you can't touch it," he said.

Twistee Treat expects to build and open 15 to 20 stands next year. An opening in Tarpon Springs is planned within a month.

Beth Gray can be reached at

>>fast facts

Twistee Treat

The shop serves 25 flavors of soft-serve ice cream in cones and cups, and various frozen desserts at an outdoor counter and with drive-through service. Opens at 11:30 a.m. daily; closing time to be determined. Mariner Square, 13200 Cortez Blvd., Spring Hill. Visit their Facebook page, Twistee Treat USA.

Cool weather doesn't deter ice cream lovers at Twistee Treat opening 12/20/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 20, 2013 4:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trigaux: Florida's jobless rate looks great — but 25 other state rates look even better

    Economic Development

    No debate here: Florida's unemployment rate continues to drop — even as more people move to Florida and enter the workforce. What's not to like?

    Who remembers the remarkable lines of hundreds of people looking for construction work in Tampa back in March of 2010 at a job fair at the Encore construction site near downtown Tampa? Now the construction industry is struggling to find skilled workers to meet building demand. [
  2. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies


    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  3. Miami woman, 74, admits to voter fraud. Does jail await, or will she go free?

    State Roundup

    MIAMI — A 74-year-old woman pleaded guilty Monday to filling out other people's mail-in ballots while working at Miami-Dade's elections department.

    Gladys Coego
  4. Bigger ships carry Georgia ports to record cargo volumes

    Economic Development

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Bigger ships arriving through an expanded Panama Canal pushed cargo volumes at Georgia's seaports to record levels in fiscal 2017, the Georgia Ports Authority announced Monday.

    The Port of Savannah moved a record 3.85 million container units in fiscal 2017, the state said, benefiting from the larger ships that can now pass through an expanded Panama Canal.
  5. Dragon ride in Harry Potter section of Universal closing for new themed ride


    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019 — sending wizard fans into a guessing game with hopes for a Floo Powder Network or the maze from the Triwizard Tournament.

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge on Sept. 5 for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019. The ride, originally the Dueling Dragons roller coaster, was renamed and incorporated into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when the hugely popular area opened in 2010.