Old School Custard

Everything’s better the old-fashioned way. And when it comes to ice cream, Old School Custard couldn’t agree more.

With a recent new location opening at 704 North 34th Street in Fremont, this custard shop is serving up frozen treats reminiscent of your grandma’s hand-churned ice cream in a bright and engaging storefront. They’re open at 11:30am every day of the week, closing at 9pm Sunday-Thursday and at 10pm Friday-Saturday.

On the scale of frozen treats, custard is the most dairy-laden, and not to be confused with frozen yogurt or ice cream, has less fat and less air than either. It contains less butterfat and fewer calories than ice cream, and the added ingredient of pasteurized egg yolk adds a hint of tang to an already silky smooth spoonful.

Custard is traditionally an East Coast favorite, but the opening of Old School’s first location on Capitol Hill in 2007 is bringing the goodness out west. The shop churns out its custard daily with milk and cream from local grass-fed, antibiotic and rBST-free cows. Patrons can watch the magic happen through a window into the production site, with custard-production usually occurring on the hour.

Old School keeps it simple with both pure vanilla and chocolate custard available daily, but this is only the basis of the fun. A large toppings bar and menu allows you to create your own sundae concoction or choose from a list of time-tested favorites.

For the purists, the Homeroom Sundae is a must-try: two scoops of vanilla custard layered with freshly-made brownie and doused in hot fudge sauce ($5.50). If you’re feeling more adventurous, stick your spoon in the Recess: two scoops of vanilla riddled with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and oozing with ribbons of caramel and hot fudge sauce ($5.50).

It’s also possible to craft your own creations, substituting custard flavors and adding toppings such as Andes mints, Gummi worms, cookie dough, and a wide range of nuts and fruits. Perhaps the one bump in the Old School menu is the lack of fresh fruit, though this should improve come spring and the reappearance of local produce.

If sundaes aren’t quite your style, this shop serves up milkshakes and concretes as well. According to Old School, a concrete is the original blizzard: a blended concoction of frozen custard and your pick of toppings and syrups, spoons required.

And while simplicity’s the name of the game here, Old School has an eccentric side as well. In addition to staple flavors of vanilla and chocolate, each day features a funky flavor as well. Think Banana Cream Pie, Chocolate Raspberry Torte, Butterfinger Crunch, and Zoka Espresso. With a rotating schedule almost a month long, make sure to stop in when the sign out front strikes your fancy.

The options for custard-induced coma are virtually endless and also include fresh waffle cones ($1), a Zoka espresso double-shot affogatto pour-over ($5.65), gourmet root beer floats ($4.91), and fruit smoothies.

In an age, and a neighborhood, of competing ice cream shops, Old School is both elegantly smooth and delightfully innovative. Their custard achieves a fresh creaminess that practically makes you look for the cow out back and reminds us that there’s nothing as satisfying as hand-churned, old-fashioned goodness.

Published 6 March 2013 in The Falcon as “Custard now in Fremont”


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