Guilty Pleasures

The Turtle “And The Hare” Showboat Sundae at Mary Coyle Ol’ Fashion Ice Cream

The Guilty Pleasure: The Turtle "And The Hare" Showboat Sundae
Where To Get It: Mary Coyle Ol’ Fashion Ice Cream
Price: $7.95-$8.95
What It Really Costs: The possibility of a well-earned toothache, thanks to the lavish amounts of caramel and melted hot fudge on this baby.

If you grew up in central Phoenix, Mary Coyle Ol’ Fashion Ice Cream is not just the name of another ice cream parlor. It's more likely the place where you first discovered the infinite pleasures of diving into a banana split, or maybe where you developed a fondness for burgundy cherry ice cream that lingers to this day.

With a long, rich history as a central Phoenix ice cream destination, you could practically hear the hearts breaking across the Valley when the old-fashioned parlor officially closed its doors after 63 years last October. But this story has a happy ending, thanks to owner Mike Stoffey, a local businessman who has helped keep the Mary Coyle brand alive since the original owners sold the business back in 2011.

After trying to reignite the brand for years, including a food truck operation that never quite panned out, last December, Stoffey announced the opening of a new Mary Coyle location at Seventh Street near Bethany Home Road. The Mary Coyle reboot, which opened at the tail end of 2015, is much smaller than its former Seventh Avenue location, with only a few booths and a handful of stools by the window. But the leaner operation stays remarkably true to its roots, and on a recent weekend night, there was never a shortage of ice cream lovers lining up to enjoy the parlor's signature premium ice cream. 

The menu has been streamlined — the parlor no longer offers food items — but the cotton candy pink decor scheme has been preserved, and you'll find many classic Mary Coyle specialties, including The Hill, a giant four-pound serving of ice cream topped with streamers of airy whipped cream and handfuls of cherries (you'll need a small team of dedicated ice cream-eaters to conquer The Hill). 

Even better, all the ice cream is still made in-house, using many of the original Mary Coyle ice cream recipes and flavors. If you're a long-time Mary Coyle fan, you are already well familiar with the parlor's premium 16 percent butterfat ice cream, which is enormously thick and buttery.

Of course, there are no bad options on the Mary Coyle ice cream menu — you can file pretty much everything here under the banner of "guilty pleasure." But if you're seeking a particularly indulgent treat, the staff may recommend the classic showboat sundae known as The Turtle "And The Hare." 

The specialty sundae is a play on the classic Turtle chocolate-and-caramel candies. It consists of butter pecan ice cream, layered with bands of sticky caramel, hot fudge and topped with crunchy pecans. You can request whipped cream and a cherry at no additional cost. 

The homemade ice cream, thick as mud, but sweet as any ambrosia, is the star of any Mary Coyle dish, and that's no different here. The butter pecan is enormously rich, sweet, and vaguely nutty. And then there's the combination of gooey caramel, smooth chocolate, and butter pecan ice cream, all of which, compounded, feels sweet enough to burn the enamel off your teeth. But the whole thing is so richly dense and so delightfully tasty, you may not even care or notice. 

Welcome back, Mary Coyle. 

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Patricia Escárcega was Phoenix New Times' food critic.