BY CARMEN SIERING
When Jeff Grossnickle bought The Chocolate Moose in 2009, he knew he was buying more than an ice cream stand. The business at 401 S. Walnut has been a part of Bloomington since the 1930s.
Like many local residents, Steve Schroeder, the new co-owner and “director of ice cream development,” had his first ice cream cone there as a child.
“The Moose is a part of Bloomington history,” says Grossnickle. “That gives us even more incentive to make it a special place.”
Keeping an eye on the past but looking to the future, the owners are working to balance tradition with innovation.
“Right now we’re in a tricky spot,” says Schroeder. “We want to keep the older flavors true to their creation, so we aren’t changing the recipes. But with new flavors, we’re using all natural ingredients and as many local ingredients as possible.”
Among the new products is a line of vegan ice creams made with coconut milk, meaning they are all dairy-, soy-, and gluten-free.
Some things that have stayed pretty much the same are the Moose’s popular sandwiches and sides. One longtime favorite is the Spanish Burger, a seasoned hamburger baked in tomato sauce.
“The recipe hasn’t changed,” says Grossnickle. “We’ve just bumped up the size of the burger and the meat is now 90 percent ground sirloin from The Butcher’s Block.”
The new owners have also taken The Chocolate Moose beyond its South Walnut location. Their ice cream can be found in the freezer cases at Bloomingfoods, Short Stop Food Mart, and Lakeside IGA.
New ice cream pies—think banana ice cream topped with sliced bananas and real whipped cream in a graham cracker crust, for example—are being launched just in time for summer. They are available at The Owlery, Bloomington Brew Pub, and Eagle Pointe Golf Resort, as are Chocolate Moose ice creams.
The Chocolate Moose is open 11 am to 11 pm Monday to Saturday and noon to 10 pm Sunday. Visit its website for more information.