What’s your carbon footprint? According to Wikipedia, a “carbon footprint” is the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event, product, or person. Researchers suggest that the most effective way to decrease a carbon footprint is to either reduce the amount of energy needed for production or to limit the dependence on carbon-emitting fuels.
Some townies are doing just this as they choose to buy their products locally as opposed to purchasing from afar. This idea not only helps save on transportation costs, but it also helps encourage sustainability. What’s more, a sense of business comraderie is born, spawning valuable connections.
“We’re no longer driving around town to so many places to get our products,” says James Dowless, owner and chef of The Fort Grill located in Fortville. Recently, The Fort Grill has started serving homemade ice cream and South American coffee from Sundae’s, located at 79th and Fall Creek. Sundae’s is known for delicious slow-churned ice cream, freshly roasted coffee beans, and the delivery of products to its clients.
“We’re trying to build some of our desserts around Sundae’s ice cream flavors,” says Michele Dowless, co-owner of The Fort Grill and wife to James. She continues, “Many of our Facebook followers admit, ‘Now, we can enjoy our two favorite things in one place!’”
After reading a recent article about this fun family-owned business establishment, James and Michele decided to taste Sundae’s homemade ice cream and knew instantly they had to have it in their restaurant. Now, they serve five different flavors that inspire new recipes.
“Our customers say the ice cream is over the top,” says Michele. “You can’t find graham-cracker-flavored ice cream (Sundae’s unique recipe)at the store.” Michele and James are proud to serve original desserts in their restaurant. They work hard to bring a special quality to every meal, providing dishes with flavor and technique that most customers wouldn’t attempt to make at home either because they don’t know how, or they don’t have the time.
They offer the Raspberry Sorbet Sundae with fresh strawberries and blueberries. Another dessert is the Blondie Sundae that begins with a warm blonde brownie followed by Rainforest Crunch ice cream, a drizzling of homemade caramel sauce, toasted pecans, and whipped cream.
Then, there’s the specialty most raved about: S’Mores Cake, invented by Michele. This heavenly concoction begins with dark chocolate cake, chocolate ganache frosting, topped with toasted marshmallows, and completed with graham cracker ice cream and homemade fudge sauce.
James declares, “We believe in using only fresh ingredients. We either make everything here, or we purchase it locally from others who can produce it.” In maintaining this philosophy, The Fort Grill buys sweet corn from Jacobi Farms in McCordsville. James sautés the corn for their signature crab cakes dinner and spicy barbeque chicken salad with chipotle ranch dressing.
The Positive Effect
Since The Fort Grill has been selling Sundae’s ice cream, positive energy has been swirling around town.
“There’s a definite impact because the dollars are staying here, and together we’re generating business back and forth,” says Steve Buckner, owner of Sundae’s. “All the people I sell ice cream to want to know where else they can get it. I then refer them to The Fort Grill or to another business that we supply to, within their area.”
As a matter of fact, Sundae’s distributes ice cream and coffee all around Indy, as far east as New Castle and as far south as Jasper. Steve chuckles and says, “I’m sending guests to them and they’re sending guests back to me.”
“With The Fort Grill now selling our ice cream, it benefits us because it prompts customers to come in and try a larger selection,” says David Buckner, co-owner of Sundae’s and brother to Steve. “We use word-of-mouth advertising between both businesses which is most effective.”
Sundae’s offers 32-40 flavors every day, rotating different varieties weekly, including over 120 recipes for ice cream flavors. Here are some of the favorites:
- Caramel Rainforest Crunch – most popular year round, made up of caramel-based ice cream with chocolate chips, toffee pieces, and nut crunch
- Nutter Butter – consisting of a peanut butter base, with graham cracker and Nutter-Butter swirl
- Key Lime Pie – popular in summer, made with key lime juice and graham cracker crunch
- Pumpkin- a Fall favorite, made with pumpkin puree’, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg (available end of August/early September)
Sundae’s can create distinctive flavors for your specific business. They recently invented the Strawberry Merlot Chip exclusively for Eddie Merlot’s Restaurant.
David says encouragingly, “Come see us at Sundae’s and discover what some of the top chefs in Indy are supplying to their guests. Besides making connections, buying locally helps keep your carbon footprint smaller.”