Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Foo's Frozen Custard is now 25 years old...and still fattening

Foo's Fabulous Frozen Custard celebrates 25 years

Posted By on Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Foos Frozen Custard is a Brookside institution.
  • Foo's Fabulous Frozen Custard is a Brookside institution.

Foo's Fabulous Frozen Custard, the shop at 6235 Brookside Plaza opened by Joe "Foo" Bremser in 1988, officially turned 25 years old last month, but the current owner, Joe's sister Betty Bremser (she purchased the business from her brother in 1996), decided to wait until this month to celebrate the occasion.

"I had too much going on in June," says Bremser, who has been a schoolteacher for much of her career - she currently teaches French at Kansas City Academy - so she pushed the celebration to this month. Because at least two generations of teenagers started their careers by scooping frozen custard and making concretes at Foo's, Bremser has watched the kids she taught at school grow old enough to work for her, then go off to college, marriage and to have children of their own.

"I'm having the alumni of Foo's employees come back and work behind the counter on Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20," says Bremser, who calls it "a reunion of the old gang." But before that, she'll create chaos in Brookside by offering - on Monday, July 15, only - 25-cent scoops of frozen custard from 5 to 9 p.m. The deal will be available only at the original store in Brookside and not the Leawood location that opened six years ago.

"I haven't even told my current employees about it yet," Bremser says.

Bremser bought the frozen-custard business from her brother thinking it was a great job to have during the summer months when she wasn't teaching. "I didn't realize that May, October - and even November, if the weather isn't too bad - can be just as busy as June, July and August."

Bremser said this year's unexpected snowfall in May put a damper on one of her busiest weekends: "The

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Brookside Art Fair is like Christmas to me. But for the first time in years, the opening day was shut down because of snow. It was terrible for business."

After Betty took over the business, she made a few changes, adding sorbets, fruit smoothies, candy and cookie dough. But no coffee drinks. "I thought it would be ridiculous to try that with the Roasterie Cafe right across the street," she says. The Leawood Foo's store, at 9421 Mission, does serve coffee drinks as well as sandwiches and Christopher Elbow chocolates.

Frozen custard should never be confused with ice cream or, heaven forbid, the air-filled concoction known as Soft Serve. First served as a cold treat in Coney Island in 1919, frozen custard is much more rich and dense (and fattening, unfortunately) than ice cream, thanks to the addition of eggs and a higher butterfat count. Frozen custard contains at least ten percent butterfat and 1.4 percent egg yolks. Sherbet, on the other hand, usually has less than 2 percent butterfat and soft serve ice cream has less than 5 percent butterfat and no eggs. Premium ice cream is the most fattening of all: typically about 16 percent butterfat. A mere spoonful can ruin a diet.

But few dieters make frequent appearances at Foo's. Still, Bremser says her Brookside clientele is very loyal. "Fiercely loyal," she says. "I used to teach closer to Brookside, at Academie Lafayette, and many of my middle school students, when they were older, came to me and wanted a job. I had to be strict with them: 'Only if you're doing your homework.' It seemed to be effective."

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