With things in a real state of flux, no one is really sure how long Brigham’s stores will stay open. So after our first attempt at eating ice cream was squashed due to the fact the place wasn’t open on Monday, we figured this might be a good time to hit Brigham’s and see what was up. I opted for a Peppermint Stick cone and Ivy went for rainbow-jimmy coated Cookie Dough.
Brigham’s has been an institution in Massachusetts. The company has been making ice cream for 94 years and has had shops all across New England. The shops are not limited to ice cream, they have a full array of sandwiches and act more like a chain of diners like Howard Johnson’s used to be. Except that their ice cream is what makes it all matter. Most grocery chains in the area have half gallons in their freezer cases as well.
Last week all of that changed. On June 26, they announced that the ice cream assets of the company (name, recipes, etc) were sold to local rival H.P. Hood, while the Maryland-based Deal Metrics was taking over the stores. Deal Metrics seems to be a venture capital group that sells off assets and their real estate, so odds are good that the 18 Brigham’s stores that dot the local landscape will all soon be replaced – by something.
When it comes to the ice cream itself, there’s a reason that Brigham’s has been around so long. This may not be the most spectacular cream, but as the local community standard, there’s a reason why all of the stuff around here is of such quality, if you want to be part of the conversation, you’ve got to top this.
My Peppermint Stick cone had a great ribbon of peppermint running though a peppermint ice cream. The flavors are fresh and minty without ever seeming medicinal, but the sweet and the mint overtake the cream taste. The cream is relegated to the texture, but given the unknown nature of the company, I wasn’t too shocked to find some refrozen ice crystals in the midst of some bites. The two negatives that I had were relatively minor – a) the Peppermint Stick had no actual pieces of peppermint stick and b) the paper wrapping around the cone was glued to the cone and a big piece stuck despite my best efforts.
As a place to gather and eat ice cream, Brigham’s has always been a spot where folks in most communities can gather and sit. With classic-style diner benches and outdoor tables, the Belmont location appeals to those just looking for a cone and those that want to gather to spread local gossip. When we were inside, there were a lot of white-hairs that were affably chatting with others seated at tables around them… it’s like a watering hole for those that don’t drink any longer.
Cone – small $3.50 regular $3.90 large $4.40
Sundae – regular $4.50 large $5.50 mungo $8.95
Frappe $4.50 extra thick $6.25
Brigham’s Ice Cream
Open year round
Monday-Saturday 10a-10p, Sunday 11a-10p