Savin Hill brings its own nice splash of character to Dorchester, with a much-beloved funky brunch destination (McKenna's Café) and an elegant specialty-ood shop (Savin Hill Supply); but until November, if you wanted to sit and relax with an iced coffee with cream or a coffee ice cream, you were out of luck. Now Savin Scoop comes to the rescue, promising "local ice cream [and] local gossip," along with frozen yogurt, smoothies, coffees, and cappuccinos.
On a recent visit to the airy storefront (where melty droplets of teal paint dribble down the walls from high, gleaming-white ceilings), I ask James behind the counter what ice cream he recommends. "Try a taste of the Graham Central Station; 99.9 percent of people just love it," he says. And the other .1 percent? "It's not my favorite," he confesses. After more offers for free samples than I really deserve, I opt for some Moose Tracks (a satisfyingly large small for $3.50) and a chai latte ($3.75). All the ice cream is from Bliss Bros., a dairy farm in Attleboro, James explains, before stepping outside to coax an indecisive couple in frrom the sidewalk.
The Moose Tracks comes packed with mini peanut-butter cups, satisfyingly dense and crunchy. The chai order prompts some debate between James and his boss as to the proper roles of tea and milk in the drink, resulting in the foamiest latte I've ever seen. Later, I ask for their finest smoothie. For $4.95, the Red Line proves to be a hearty and satisfying mix of raspberries, strawberries, cranberry juice, and frozen yogurt, with just enough seeds to remind me I'm eating actual fruit.
Savin Scoop delivers tasty regional ice cream with casual style — but whether it can deliver on the local gossip remains to be seen. Most times I've stopped by, it's done a slow but steady to-go business, while its polished tables and counters sat largely empty, with nary a laptop on its free Wi-Fi.
Granted, I'm visiting an ice-cream shop late on December evenings. But Savin Scoop serves plenty of hot drinks — and it has a long winter to endure before any summertime swelter inspires customers to duck inside for some rocky-road relief. With its rather disparate mix of grown-up fare (espresso and biscotti) and kids' stuff (penny candy and ice-cream pizza), it's not clear how this place will shake out as a neighborhood hangout. Still, whatever market Savin Scoop settles down with, it's ready and eager to serve.
Savin Scoop, located at 107 Savin Hill Ave in Dorchester, is open Monday-Friday, 7 am-8 pm, and Saturday-Sunday, 10 am-7 pm. Call 617.288.3200, or visit www.savinscoop.com