When Kelli Bell was a little girl, Friday nights were all about going with her grandparents to the Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop on Courthouse Road in Gulfport. When she grew up, she opened Scoop Du Jour in the same location.
Now, more than a decade later, Bell and her husband, Jason, have opened Chillville Creamery there, at 540 Courthouse. The ice cream shop opened May 24 in the midst of Courthouse Road's widening construction, but word-of-mouth and social media have helped get the word out.
Chillville offers 24 flavors of ice cream and sherbet, including one sugar-free flavor (currently vanilla). You can get sprinkles or other toppings as well as various syrups, and the ice cream is served in cups or regular cones, Belgian waffle cones made in-house (the scent of waffles hits your nose as soon as you hit the door) or the more unusual bubble cones.
These cones look like bubble wrap, but they're totally edible. Break off one section at a time and use it to scoop the ice cream.
"Traditionally, street vendors in Hong Kong offered them," Kelli Bell said. "Eventually, they made their way over here, to Chinatown and then to larger cities. They are still unusual around here. They're made to order for us."
Chillville's ice creams are mostly from Mayfield, which offers flavors such as Lemon Ice Box, Sea Salt Caramel and Smokey Mountain Fudge as well as classics such as vanilla, cookies and cream, birthday cake and chocolate.
"The Smokey Mountain Fudge is our most popular," Bell said; this is a chocolate ice cream swirled with fudge and chocolate sandwich cookie pieces. "People love the birthday cake, cookies and cream, and Lemon Ice Box Pie, which has little pieces of pie crust. The strawberry has chunks of strawberry, and the peach has bits of peaches. And people tell me the Strawberry Cheesecake is to die for."
Flavors, she said, will adjust seasonally with favorites staying available throughout the year.
Chillville also makes milkshakes and malts and their popular espresso milkshake.
But perhaps the most unusual blending at Chillville is just for adults.
"We've teamed up with Chandeleur Island Brewing Company and have two of their beers, H90, which used to be Surfside, and Freemason, on tap," she said. "You can get a beer, or we can make a beer float for you."
That's right, a beer float, made like a soda float but with suds; in this case, suds with less of a bitter taste, so they're more ice cream-friendly. Chandeleur's brewmaster, David Reese, has advised the shop on best pairings. So H90, a wheat beer with tropical influences, pairs with orange pineapple sherbet, and Freemason, a classic cream ale, pairs with salted caramel.
The two beers are lower in alcohol by volume, and each float contains about 3 ounces of beer, but Chillville still limits customers to two each, and you must be over 21 to order.
Where: 540 Courthouse Road, Gulfport
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday