ST. PETERSBURG — A frozen treat that debuted in Coney Island almost 100 years ago, then became a mainstay in the Midwest, has made it here.
Rudolph's Custard Shop at 3922 Sixth St. S is serving up frozen custard made from the owner's old family recipe. Larry Rudolph, a financial adviser with Wells Fargo for 26 years, has always wanted to run a little custard shop. When he looked at a 300-square-foot space next to Munch's Restaurant, he decided the time was right.
"My father and mother started (a custard business) in Cleveland in the early '80s. They had a store and concession stands at hot-air balloon festivals and tractor pulls," said Rudolph, who lives in Seminole. He still works his day job downtown but makes the custard most mornings before work and has managers who run the store. "This market has been crazy. It's been a pleasure going into the custard place."
Frozen custard contains 1.4 percent egg yolk and little to no air is allowed in during the production process. The rich, dense, creamy consistency is far from a low calorie treat. It has to be made fresh daily. Rudolph's Custard Shop serves three flavors that all contain a little honey: chocolate, strawberry and honey custard, which is like vanilla. There are 18 toppings to add such as fruit, crushed Oreos and Reese's Pieces.
Along with capitalizing on the family recipe, Rudolph is making the most of the family name. The shop's decor plays off the Christmas story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. There are vintage Rudolph books and toys, an old wooden sled, holiday lights and more. Rudolph and his family culled eBay and garage sales for the artifacts.
"And we play Christmas music all day long," he said. "I've been so pleased with all the support from customers we've had. The area is happy to have an ice cream place close by."
Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8785.