For hundreds of central Ohioans, Thursday consisted of tumbling out of bed and stumbling to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams to try the shop’s “extremely limited edition” collaboration with country star Dolly Parton.
Lines began to form before Jeni’s scoop shops opened and stretched out the doors throughout the day.
Demand was so intense for the Strawberry Pretzel Bar flavor that Jeni’s website crashed two minutes after the noon release, according to social media from the company. Proceeds benefit Parton’s Imagination Library, a program launched in 1995 that mails books to children from birth to age five no matter family income.
Jeni’s celebration of Dolly, announced a few weeks ago, consists of cream cheese ice cream, pretzel “gravel” and strawberry sauce, a tribute to “the triple-decker classic of the potlucks of our youths” (known by many as “strawberry pretzel salad”), according to the shop.
The scoop shop’s website had 50 times the number of users it sees on average, Jeni’s said in a statement just before 7 p.m. Thursday, and the flavor did not come back online. Pints were available in shops and online, but were limited to two pints per purchase, and were not available for pick up via the Jeni’s app or delivery, the company said.
In a post on its website, Jeni’s apologized for the shortage of the ice cream and the website crash.
“We realize this release was disappointing and we’re so sorry it’s been a frustrating experience,” the company said.
Those still looking to snag a pint will be given 48-hour notice on social media and email before the flavor is re-released, the statement reads.
A representative for Jeni’s said as far as they can tell, the shops are sold out for scoops as well as pints to go.
Those who braved the lines said it was worth the wait. Scott Robinson, 59, of the West Side, said he got in line at Jeni’s Grandview location at 11:45 a.m. Thursday and left the shop with two pints and a scoop just before 12:30. The line wasn’t boring either — one patron even dressed up like Parton, he said.
“I enjoyed the experience of watching everybody and all the variety of folks that were there yesterday standing in line to get some,” Robinson said. “It was kind of fun. I think it was a good thing.”
Robinson said he was inspired by the cause and is a self-proclaimed “ice cream nut.” He said the flavor stirred memories of eating the “salad” while growing up in western Pennsylvania in the 1970s.
“At every family gathering and summer picnic, that was big — that was just always there and always one of my favorite things to have,” he said.
Robinson said the flavor captured the elements of the dish and is his favorite of Jeni’s recent releases.
“I thought the translation they did to an ice cream was phenomenal as far as catching all the flavors and even the cream cheese and the flavors of the actual salad,” he said. “I thought they did a bang up job of getting that translated to an ice cream.”