Ben and Jerry’s is returning to Tampa Bay.
The tie-dyed Vermont ice cream line will open a new “Scoop Shop” at Midtown Tampa, the developer announced on social media Monday.
While pints of Phish Food and Cherry Garcia abound in grocery freezers across Tampa Bay, it’s been years since the area had a scoop shop. There once was a shop at St. Petersburg’s old Baywalk complex (now Sundial), and another at the University of South Florida, but those closed about a decade ago. The closest existing Scoop Shop is in Sarasota.
Scoop Shops offer many of the same flavors you can get in stores, as well as occasional exclusive flavors, ice cream cakes, smoothies, milkshakes, merchandise, catering and more. The Tampa store will feature “state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor open air design, interactive games, (and a) custom art mural,” according to Midtown.
This won’t be the socially active brand’s first splash into the market in 2021. Just before Super Bowl 55, the company unveiled a mural and billboard in Tampa featuring Colin Kaepernick, who became a social activist by kneeling for the national anthem before games to protest racial injustice and police brutality. The quarterback and the company had paired up on a special flavor called Change the Whirled, with proceeds benefitting Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp charity.
Ben and Jerry’s is just the latest dessert-forward eatery to announce a new restaurant at Midtown, located just south of Interstate 275 and east of N Dale Mabry Highway. There’s also Tampa Bay’s first Shake Shack, scheduled to open in May, and a new boutique from renowned Belleair Bluffs chocolatier William Dean Chocolates.
Other restaurants in the mix for the $500 million development: New offerings from the teams behind celebrated Pinellas County restaurants BellaBrava and Cafe Ponte; Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux, whose partners include Drew Brees; and True Food Kitchen, a health-focused eatery backed by Oprah Winfrey.
Neither Midtown nor Ben and Jerry’s has put forth a timeline for opening.