By Lauren Cabral
The Cove Herald
If there is one thing The Waffle Cone won't lack at its first birthday party on Sunday, it's ice cream.
Copperas Cove's only ice cream parlor, located at 306 E. Avenue D, will celebrate its one-year anniversary with a buy-a-cone, get-a-kids-cone-free deal for patrons and an ice cream-eating competition at 3 p.m., said John Hayes, who owns the shop with his wife, Yolanda.
"This is the 22nd competition we've done so far," he said. "Nobody's ever won."
Two people have volunteered to tackle The Stem, composed of 20 scoops of Blue Bell ice cream, five bananas, a full can of whipped cream, Oreo cookies, hot fudge, caramel, peanuts, poundcake, and gummy worms and gummy bears.
Hayes said that combination weighs in at 13½ pounds, largely due to the 10 pounds of ice cream it includes; the bowl weighs only 1½ pounds. Contestants have an hour to eat it, and the first one to finish wins.
The brave volunteer who beats The Stem will receive a free T-shirt and will not have to pay for the ice cream meal. If neither contestant finishes it, both will pay $49.99 for the ice cream.
Hayes said he looks forward to the competition, because "nobody's ever beaten The Stem."
Year in review
Hayes, a former soldier, and Yolanda, who is in the Army, knew they wanted to open a business when the military brought them back to Copperas Cove.
The couple decided on ice cream, he said, because they saw a need for such business in the city and because of the heat.
"We decided that with the weather here in Texas, ice cream would probably be something that would work," Hayes said.
He was right. Since then, The Waffle Cone, which has a 1960s-era feel thanks to an oldies-playing jukebox and the shop's bright décor, has built up quite a following, in large part because of the unique ice cream concoctions it serves.
"We don't make our own ice cream," he said, adding people can buy Blue Bell anywhere. "What we do with the ice cream is what makes it special."
For instance, Hayes said, the shop began serving spaghetti ice cream, or pasta-shaped ice cream with sauce-like toppings, after a customer requested it.
"It's very popular in Germany," he said, adding that a lot of military families previously stationed there had fallen in love with the dish and frequently visit the shop to get it, as do German natives.
"There's a large German community here in Cove. Most of them come here because I think it's the only way you can get spaghetti ice cream."
Among the shop's other specialties are sundaes, shakes and floats, as well as banana splits, which he said are popular.
"Our smallest banana split is larger than any banana split you're going to find anywhere else," he said. "Our largest banana split is like a battleship."
Willing to tackle that battleship on Tuesday afternoon were customers Nathaniel Cofield, and Alleister and Renee Jeffries, who ordered the Megasplit to share.
"They were telling me about the Megasplit, and I had to come here and see for myself," first-time customer Cofield said of his friends.
The Jeffrieses said they've been coming to The Waffle Cone since it first opened and were glad it had been so successful.
"We were hoping it would last more than the first three months, and now it's seeming like a Cove tradition," said Alleister Jeffries. "I'm amazed by it. For its placement in Cove, it's definitely doing a lot of business."
Hayes thanked area residents for their patronage and said he looked forward to serving them in the future.
"It has been a really good year for us. Copperas Cove has supported us a lot," he said. "We're still learning as we're going, but I think we have a good foundation to have a successful business."
Contact Lauren Cabral at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7476.