The Dallas ice cream scene suffered a devastating blow last week when Stephen Smith, owner of Betty Ringer Ice Cream at Sylvan Thirty, posted to Instagram announcing that the shop had closed.
“So I had to say goodnight to my lovely shop today. We lasted a solid 15 months in this location. I want to thank everyone who supported us and helped us through everything. This was the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life, and I enjoyed every second of it. I’ll be back again, somewhere, sometime,” wrote Smith.
Betty Ringer was unique in the offerings it produced. The menu changed weekly and Smith was known to take risks with his flavors, developing bold combinations that set the shop apart from other more traditional ice cream ventures in the city. Personally, I was always excited to visit Betty Ringer and sample through their weekly selection, and I remember being pleasantly surprised on more than one occasion by how well some of the more unusual flavors worked. There was the dark chocolate and black licorice, the Oaxacan spiced chocolate, ube (purple yam) with Edam cheese, grapefruit and candied ginger, and goat cheese with cherry jam, just to name a few. It was fascinating to witness Smith’s ideas come to fruition in ice cream form. The shop was small, unassuming, and not particularly flashy, but in the end it simply didn’t draw the crowds it needed to survive.
“Sylvan Thirty has a lot of potential, but we just didn’t get the foot traffic we were hoping for,” says Smith. “What I will miss the most are all the customers who came in and stepped out of their ice cream comfort zone and tried new and interesting flavors.”
When asked about his future, Smith says, “I’m not sure what’s next. But I would love to open up another ice cream shop. I’ve learned so much from this go around. The next incarnation will have the same approach to ice cream making, flavors, and service.”
Smith trained as a chocolatier in Paris, and also spent time at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery in Las Vegas. Expect to see him resurface in the near future in some capacity. He’s got too much talent to stay quiet for long.