Cream & Sugar Ice Cream Cafe is twee as a mouse in a bowtie, with chalkboard menus, perky patterned diner chairs and a case full of sweets and treats from macaroons, danishes and scones to cinnamon rolls the size of a dinner plate.
Smiling baristas prepared fresh-roasted coffees as well as teas, specialty lattes and inventive creations like the chocolate-espresso-orange Matisse. The cafe's motto is "Life is a little sweeter with Cream & Sugar" and after sampling a selection of their wares, I'm inclined to agree.
One of the shop's most unique attractions is the Breakfast Biscuit ($4.25), a fresh T-Meadow Farms egg nestled inside a cheddar and chive biscuit, served with a side of hot sauce. That egg comes out perfectly hard-boiled with a deep yellow straight-off-the-farm yolk assuring its freshness. The biscuit is flaky and full of chive flavor, an herbal bite which offsets the creamy yolk and sharp cheddar beautifully. Dip that baby in hot sauce and you've got a portable savory breakfast.
For those with a sweet tooth, owner Jessica Dittly offers a selection of confections for every taste, from pure sweet tooth satisfactions to health-conscious breakfast seekers. The aforementioned cinnamon roll ($4) was called a favorite by several staffers, and once we bit into it, we understood why.
There should be a picture of this roll next to the encyclopedia entry, because it's got all the hallmarks of the classic American delight. There’s ooey-gooey frosting slathered on thick, ribbons of sugary cinnamon sticking to every crevice and a lightly sweet dough that's just this side of squishy. Grab a friend or two for this one, because it's big enough to share with the whole family. Too bad it’s only available Saturday.
Another a fan favorite was the 12-grain oatmeal, with seasonal toppings ($5.50). This autumn, it comes with flavor-bursting pomegranate seeds, local maple syrup, crisp chunks of local apples, a sprinkling of housemade granola and whipped cream, because this is a cafe, not a prison. All those flavors and textures come together to create a sweet and savory, crunchy and creamy, delicious and nutritious bowl that's filling enough to last all morning.
Additional baked goods on the morning of our visit were a creamy, not-too-sweet coconut macaroon, a fluffy baked orange-ginger donut with a tiny crumb, nutty blondie with chocolate chips and an apple Danish with diced local apples, a cinnamon streusel topping and perfect shattering pastry surrounding them. A cinnamon sugar scone had a Cinnamon Toast Crunch flavor with the buttery, crumbly insides that beg to dip into a cup of tea.
Dittly's banana bread was excellent, but not outstanding among the other options. I'd get two cinnamon-sugar scones, instead. Pastries (the above range from $1.50 to $2.75) vary based on what’s been baked that day.
On the more nutritious side is the fresh juice selection ($5 each), made with whole produce that's sourced locally when available. The Up Beet is a beet, ginger, lime, orange and apple creation that tastes like autumn itself, showcasing the characteristic earthy sweetness of its namesake with a little lime and ginger zing for balance. The Bright Eyes featured pineapple, lime, carrot and apples, with a bright, carrot-forward flavor that could wake up any slow starter.
Speaking of wake-ups, Cream & Sugar also offers a full espresso, hot and cold beverage menu in addition to its juices. One of the most interesting options was the Espresso Matisse, ($3.50) a double shot of espresso with a fresh orange twist, housemade hot fudge and whipped cream. It tasted like the break-apart chocolate oranges that appear in Christmas stockings, with a little coffee kick. It packs a caffeine punch, but for adults who grew up loving hot chocolate, this one's a treat.
Cream & Sugar also serves lunch, with a selection of house-made salads, sandwiches and soups. As its name suggests, the cafe’s ice cream selection is a point of pride. All ice creams are provided exclusive to Cream & Sugar by Udder Delights of Gasport. Cones, sundaes and tasting boards (from $3) as well as shakes and floats are all on the cold sweets menu. To take away, Dittly has turned what looks like an old closet into The Pantry, with bags of coffee beans, local honey, her own granola and teas for purchase.
Dittly has created a culinary haven in Lockport, perfect for a stop during a leaf-peeping excursion for Buffalo and Southtowns residents not lucky enough to live close by. Drive up for the biscuit, stay for a coffee and bring a few pastries home, to spread the gospel back home. Your taste buds won’t regret it.
Info: Cream & Sugar Ice Cream Cafe; 179 East Ave., Lockport; 622-2526.
Lizz Schumer writes about food, drink and whimsy for a variety of publications. She is the content manager at Resurgence Brewing Company and the author of “Buffalo Steel.” She can be found online @eschumer, facebook.com/authorlizzschumer and lizzschumer.com.