Joco Diversions

Sylas & Maddy’s serves up sweet tradition in Olathe

Updated: 2013-10-01T21:07:56Z

By SARAH GISH

The Kansas City Star

Every year in October, Sylas & Maddy’s Homemade Ice Cream rolls out three seasonal pumpkin flavors.

Pumpkin Pie is loaded with real pieces of pie, complete with graham cracker crust. Prairie Pumpkin Nut gets its sweet crunch from candied pecans, or pralines. And Pumpkin Cheesecake gets its creaminess from hunks of cheesecake — an entire cake goes into every tub.

The fall flavors have become so popular that customers start asking for them in summer.

“People started calling both stores in August,” says Cindy England, who co-owns Sylas & Maddy’s with her husband Jim. Switching up flavors with the seasons is just one way to keep customers craving ice cream year-round.

The Englands opened the first Sylas & Maddy’s in downtown Lawrence in 1997. Three years later, they added a second location closer to home in Olathe. Back then, the area surrounding 119th Street and Strang Line Road was still developing. The AMC Studio 30 movie theater was new. Target and a handful of restaurants had opened — but the area wasn’t the restaurant and retail epicenter that it is now.

But there aren’t many locally owned businesses in the area around Sylas & Maddy’s, which makes the tucked-away ice cream shop stand out. “I feel like people appreciate us more,” says Sarah England, Jim and Cindy’s daughter, who now runs the Lawrence location.

“We keep it in the family,” Sarah says. “My son will work here when he gets into high school.”

The family-owned business doesn’t do a lot of advertising, so it relies on word of mouth, Sarah England says. Keeping prices reasonable, maintaining friendly customer service and — of course — making top-quality ice cream goes a long way.

Sylas & Maddy’s ice cream is made in-house every other day. Cindy makes the ice cream for the Olathe location; her daughter handles Lawrence. The waffle cones are made daily so they’re crisp, not stale, and they crumble delicately when you bite into them.

Sylas & Maddy’s serves classic flavors such as Strawberry, Mint Chip and Cookies & Cream alongside decadent bestsellers such as Peanut Butter Freak (peanut butter ice cream with Reese’s and a fudge swirl) and Maddy’s Mud (coffee ice cream with Oreos, brownies and fudge).

If you really want to go all out, get a scoop of Da Bomb — the popular butter pecan ice cream is blasted with cookie dough, Oreos and chocolate flakes.

The shop stocks 40 flavors at a time, so choosing one or two can be tough. On a recent 80-degree afternoon, I ordered a scoop each of Dark Espresso Roast and Dinosaur Egg in a waffle cone dipped in white chocolate and Oreo crumbs. The total came to $3.74.

The Dark Espresso Roast ice cream tasted like a super-creamy frozen cappucino. The Dinosaur Egg, despite its turquoise color, tasted like a vanilla malt and was dotted with crushed and whole Whoppers. Both flavors had a rich, silky-smooth texture. “We use 14 percent butterfat ice cream mixes,” Sarah says. “It makes it more creamy.”

Those sought-after pumpkin flavors don’t make their debut until mid-October, but other fall seasonals such as Apple Pie and Oatmeal Raisin Cookie are available now. Already craving Peppermint Crunch or Egg Nog? You’ll have to wait another two months.

Enterprise reporter Sarah Gish writes about Johnson County restaurants every first and third week of the month. Contact her via email at sarah@inkkc.com or tweet @sarah_gish.

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