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Purple Door, Yo Factory serve up sweet summertime treats

Photo by James Price / ames.price@marquette.edu

Photo by James Price / ames.price@marquette.edu

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Only one confection solves every problem on a hot, sticky, sweltering day: ice cream. Whether you’re a chocolate, vanilla or Neapolitan kind of person, ice cream is one treat that never disappoints, especially in the Dairy State. If you are more of a frozen yogurt connoisseur, Milwaukee still has you covered. Purple Door Ice Cream and the Yo Factory are two local joints providing people a chance to cool down when things start to heat up in the summer.

Purple Door Ice Cream, located in Walker’s Point at 205 S. 2nd St., a few blocks from the Third Ward, is a tidy little shop that offers ice cream every day from noon until 9 p.m. This place is a reasonable option for students because of its close proximity to campus. You can take Bus 23, the Blue Line or even a bike. Like most ice cream shops, there is limited seating. During the summer, that isn’t much of an issue with outside seats available in front of the shop.

Similar to Kopp’s or Leon’s, Purple Door serves flavors of the day including malted vanilla and green tea, along with mainstay options like chocolate and vanilla. The service at Purple Door is extremely fast, and their servers are noticeably gregarious and make your stay worthwhile. The setting of Purple Door blends modern aesthetics with an old school feel, donning shades of purple on the walls and silver reflective tables with checkers that look like they belong on the set of “Back to the Future.” The pricing is not their strongest attribute, starting at $3 for a single scoop and $7 for waffle cone with a double scoop of ice cream. Make no mistake about it though- the portions Purple Door gives are more than enough for customers to feel satisfied.

Caramel cashew and salted caramel were the two flavors that ended up in my waffle cone, and ordering two caramel-based ice cream scoops was a smart choice. After finishing the salted caramel, which reminded me a lot of Kopp’s caramel salted option, the caramel cashew came next and simply put my taste buds over the top. The saltiness of the cashew blended nicely with the caramel and vanilla mixture. Purple Door not only opened my eyes to the great service they offer, but appealed to my taste buds and busy schedule with its convenient location, three factors that will certainly bring me back during the coming summer months.

The Yo Factory, located at 2203 N. Farwell Ave., is another dairy staple within the Milwaukee area, near the east side on UWM’s campus. Albeit a farther trip than Purple Door, the Yo Factory gives students a chance to get away from campus and explore more of Milwaukee. What better time for exploration than summer? Although frozen yogurt is not technically ice cream, it is a fantastic alternative and still has a similar taste for those not looking to stray away from traditional ice cream.

One advantage Yo Factory has over Purple Door is the late hours, staying open until 11 p.m. compared to Purple Door’s 9 p.m. closing time. Another advantage lies in the toppings. At Purple Door, there are not many toppings available to add to your treat, which is somewhat disappointing. Yo Factory allows you to choose from cheesecake bites, gummy worms, sprinkles, chocolate bits and other sugary accessories. It is nice that Yo Factory provides an opportunity to enhance your dessert. By the same token, Purple Door is confident enough in their products that toppings are not vital to their ice cream’s success.

The ambiance of Yo Factory reminds me of a warm cozy home, with bricks and a touch of dark red paint splashed on the wall. The only downfall of frozen yogurt, something Yo Factory cannot escape, is how fast it melts after coming from the machine. In the summer, there is nothing worse than ice cream turning to soup, and that is one area where ice cream seems to trump frozen yogurt, its cousin. If I have to choose which one is better, my gut tells me Purple Door is the winner—and that I ate too much in one sitting.

Purple Door’s location and premium homemade taste give it a slight nod over the Yo Factory, but with summer coming and tons of time to explore Milwaukee, experimenting for yourself might be the best way to ace this taste test.

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