|Soft Stuff ice cream with rainbow sprinkles|
Soft Stuff is now a cash-only ice cream takeout in a shopping center on Rte 40 across from the Enchanted Forest shopping center. Years ago, it was a classic haunt -- a wooden ice cream stand attached to a rundown motel in sight of Rte 40 in Ellicott City. In 2012, the old site was demolished to make way for the new construction.
Back then, I didn't think the new place would capture the magic. Soft Stuff had a specific vibe. Teenagers behind the counter. Customers basically loitering in a parking lot on hot summer nights. I loved it then, and I felt the same this summer as Lil' Chow negotiated his way into a waffle cone plus sprinkles, then licked, licked, licked ice cream overlooking the parking lots.
|River House Pizza Co. going down the row|
Definitely hit up Soft Stuff. It's worth a visit on its own. You order at the counter, then enjoy one of the few inside seats or the row of outdoor benches. It's pretty basic soft serve. But that's perfect for a warm summer night, doubly perfect if you get to watch a kid try to eat the entire cone before everything melts.
And keep Soft Stuff in mind when I write more about all the great restaurants in the neighborhood. The Enchanted Forest is headlined by White Oak Tavern. The Soft Stuff development has its own restaurants. And across the parking lots is a renovated shopping center with established Honey Pig and a new run of Thai, hot pot and tea. In many ways, Rte 40 is winning the restaurant competition around here, and I'll post more soon.