Two years into its tenure in Waldo, it’s still not unusual to see a line of customers stretching down Wornall Road, all waiting for scoops from Betty Rae’s Ice Cream.
So it’s no surprise that there was a fair amount of excitement when owners David Friesen and Mary Nguyen announced plans for a second shop in the River Market in a prominent location at Fifth and Delaware Streets, right on Kansas City’s streetcar line.
Open for a few weeks now, it’s safe to say that the new Betty Rae’s repeated and quite possibly expanded upon the magic that makes its Waldo store so popular. Outside the new shop, facing the much-loved vintage streetcar parked on Fifth Street, a vivid mural in bright blues, oranges, green and pink adorns Betty Rae’s outdoor patio, and a bright neon sign hangs in the front window.
The attention to detail continues inside the store, which is modern and playful. Each available ice-cream flavor is listed on its own hand-decorated slate, all of which are hung on the wall like colorful tiles. The original exposed brick walls of the century-old building sit in contrast to vivid wallpaper depicting a thick jungle of flowers. Venting and pipes are painted bright colors to match the wallpaper, and vintage vinyl-album art also lines the walls.
Betty Rae’s in the River Market seats approximately 40 guests, with seating indoors at a natural-wood bar that looks out on to Delaware Street, at small tables against the south wall or on the patio furniture outside under big canvas umbrellas. It's approximately twice as large as the Waldo store.
While the menus at the two stores will not be identical from day to day, the same range of flavors will be available at both. Classic staples including vanilla, chocolate and cookies and cream find their home alongside flame-roasted Hatch chile-chocolate, goat cheese with apricots and walnuts, lavender-honey, cereal milk, Thou Mayest coffee and many more.
Sundaes, shakes and floats are also available (boozy floats will also be available after 5pm at this location “very soon,”). Customers can also order cold brew coffee or an affogato (coffee poured over vanilla ice cream) made with Thou Mayest coffee.
With this new addition, Betty Rae’s, along with Freestyle Poke, Our Daily Nada and the soon-to-open Local Pig/Pigwich marks a new chapter in food and drink for the River Market, entrenching itself more and more as one of Kansas City’s premier dining destinations.
Betty Rae's is open Sunday through Thursday from 11am to 9pm, and Friday and Saturday from 11am to 10pm.
Betty Rae’s Ice Cream, 412 Delaware St., River Market, Kansas City, Missouri, 816.237.1168, bettyraes.com