The much-anticipated Fairway Creamery opened Memorial Day weekend in the former Pizza 51 location on Mission Road, and business has been as swift as the donuts sales, which have been selling out daily.
Christopher Elbow’s cheerful new creamery concept is serving coffee and donuts from 6am to 3pm. At that point, the team switches over and starts scooping up flavors of Glacé Artisan Ice Cream, in addition some fun new soft-serve ice cream flavors and hand-dipped cones. These are available until 9pm on weekdays and 10pm on weekends.
As summer nears, neighbors and families have been flocking to this new hot spot, with cars parking up and down the neighboring streets close to the shop when the parking lot is full.
“We are so grateful to all of our neighbors who have turned out to support us,” says Elbow. “We hope Fairway Creamery becomes a social hub for the community.”
Todd Schulte, director of operations for Fairway Creamery, says the team has been using these first weeks of business to figure out the volume of donuts that need to be made each day. The first employees start sliding donuts into the fryer at 2:30am to be ready when the first customer walks in at 6am, and guests should plan to come early for the best selection.
“We are no different than any other donut shop; we want to offer a nice selection of the freshest donuts while we are open, but the goal is to sell out each day,” says Schulte.
The top selling donuts, so far, have been the blueberry-filled, vanilla-glazed bismarks, the deliciously tart apple cider donuts and the sizable and moist apple fritters. Other selections on a recent weekday included a fresh raspberry-glazed vanilla cake donut, a vanilla-frosted cake donut with sprinkles, apricot- and apple-filled bismarks and lemon and vanilla old fashioned donuts. The perfectly simple vanilla glazed yeast donut is sure to be a hit with donut purists.
“These donuts have been a learning curve for both Todd and I,” says Elbow. “We have both made them before in a pot on a stove, but never to this scale. The hardest thing has been to learn how to make quality frostings and glazes from scratch that stick to the donuts themselves. It is a very scientific process, a form of sugar art, really.”
To that end, Elbow and Schulte did a deep dive on donut research before opening Fairway Creamery. The two traveled to Chicago and New York to eat donuts and figure out how to make quality donuts from scratch and develop their own flavors and shapes.
“We consulted with chef Wylie Dufresne, who has now opened Du’s Donuts & Coffee in New York,” explains Elbow. “He was so gracious and spent a lot of time with us, helping us understand the art and science of quality donut-making from scratch. In fact, I am still texting him daily with questions at this point; he has been a great resource for us.”
Dufresne helped the pair solve some of their most pressing donut glazing issues. To add a hint of tart green apple flavor to the apple cider donuts, for instance, he recommended they add just a touch of malic acid, found naturally in apples – a nod perhaps to the molecular gastronomy that made the acclaimed chef so famous at the now-shuttered wd-50 restaurant in New York.
“We bonded because we both want our donuts to have nothing artificial in terms of flavoring, just all-natural quality ingredients,” says Elbow.
After 3pm, the ice cream counter inside of Fairway Creamery buzzes to life, with employees ready to give samples or start dipping up scoops of Elbow’s sweet and dreamy Glacé ice cream flavors, along with a few new frozen treats.
“We are also making our own soft-serve ice cream and hand-dipped cones using quality chocolate,” says Elbow. “This, too, has been a process to get the chocolate to adhere to the soft serve ice cream; it takes just the right chemistry to dip a soft-serve cone in liquid and not lose the whole thing. Many times, we went to dip a cone and just came back with just a cone in our hands.”
In addition to serving vanilla bean and Valrhona chocolate soft serve, Fairway Creamery has also offered rotating flavors like cold-brew coffee and fresh strawberry. The shop offers more than just dark chocolate and milk chocolate dipped cones; look for flavors like cherry, orange, mint and more.
And what's an ice cream shop without ice cream sundaes? One of Fairway Creamery's recent creations has been a big hit. “Sundae at the K” was developed in honor of the Kansas City Royals and is made with vanilla bean soft serve, chopped peanuts, Cracker Jacks and butterscotch sauce. It's a decadent homage to all of the summertime treats found at the local ball park.
As Schulte starts settling in at Fairway Creamery overseeing the doling out of donuts and dipped cones, Elbow says he is looking forward to getting back to his first love: chocolate. “I am ready to get back to my office and start working on the rest of my business,” he says with a smile.
Fairway Creamery, 5938 Mission Road, Fairway, Kansas, 913.608.5515, instagram.com/fairwaycreamery