Jerry's Sno Cone
1657 Wells Station Rd.
I've read about Jerry's Sno Cones before, but I think the most recent mention in Memphis Magazine (as a part of their Hot List) finally made me want to try it. The short article mentioned new owners and the addition of food to the menu. Somehow the food part got me. What I didn't get was how the article could leave out the most important thing--the address! Of course, thanks to the Internet and MapQuest (and my husband), I found it.
It wasn't exactly easy to find. The MapQuest directions were of course a little goofy, and my alternate route based on the map was a bit more complicated in the real, but our persistence (and twenty minutes of twists and turns) eventually landed us in the right spot. (I later discovered that the easiest way to get there is to turn north on Waring from Summer. Waring turns into Wells Station so it is a straight shot.)
We pulled in at about 7:30pm with plans to eat dinner, but the long line, heat, lack of seating, and realization that we only had $6 in cash caused us to do something unprecedented: eat dessert before dinner. The monkeys (Satchel, 7, and Jiro, 5) had some prior experience with Snow Balls in New Orleans last year and were ready to place their orders. Jiro wanted a cherry sno cone (large!), Satchel just wanted a vanilla ice cream cone, and Warren wanted a chocolate cone. (We only had $6!) Warren tried to convince Jiro to get a pineapple coconut sno cone, but he wouldn't go for it. So I ordered one knowing I'd eventually give it to Warren in exchange for his chocolate ice cream.
Looking around at the people congregating in the parking lot, it was clear that the menu offered much more exciting items than we ordered. Unfortunately, the menu consists of a trifold taped to the window. I asked for one to take with me but they were out. The menu portion of the website is blank. Also there are tiny pieces of paper, some half-faded into obscurity, all over the windows offering other treats.
We basically left saying, "Next time we'll do better."
When we woke up the next morning, Jiro asked, "Can we go to the sno cone place again? I want a rainbow." Satchel had no interest in going back (he only wants to eat unagi hand rolls at Umai) even when I promised him a hamburger. Unfortunately for him I had a hankering for a sno cone with ice cream--a sno cone supreme. I figured Satchel would come around once we got there so we left on a two to one vote.
First stop, the bank. Remember, Jerry's is cash only.
The monkeys and I pulled in right at noon. (Website says they are open from 3:30-9:00pm, but a small piece of paper taped to the window says 11:00am-9:00pm.) The parking lot was again full and there was a line of people. It was scorching hot and there wasn't a bit of shade, but none of us cared. Satchel was already asking me if they had ice cream sundaes. Since we hadn't eaten lunch, I hoped to talk them into a hot dog or a burger, but they weren't interested. For a brief second Jiro said he wanted nachos, but changed his mind. Satchel eventually agreed to eat some french fries.
There are a few signs that say "Call in your hot food orders" pasted around the building, but it was very clear that everyone ahead of us was ordering food, so I decided it was OK to order in person too. (The line was moving so slow I could have easily called in my order from the line.) The kids repeated their orders ad naseum until I finally made it to the front. I decided to get a burger combo in addition to our previously agreed upon treats. Our total was $15 and I put $2 in the tip jar. (There are two very hardworking teens behind the windows and maybe one guy--their dad?) I didn't get a receipt and I didn't ever really figure out what everything cost, but $15 seemed semi-reasonable.
We moved to the side and waited for our order. This gave me plenty of time to see what the fifteen people in front of us ordered. The Willy burger, whatever that is, seemed popular, as did chili dogs and chili cheese fries. The sno cone supremes were also everywhere as well as sno cone creams--sno cones with whipped cream. I even saw one lady get a ziplock bag of frozen cherries freshly dipped in chocolate!
Of course every time they called out an order, the monkeys exclaimed, "Where's ours?" But they were fairly patient considering the circumstances. I really think that Jerry's should add some seating around the restaurant. There seems to be room. Not that anyone seems to let the lack of seating stop them from coming, but it would be a nice touch. There's a playground caddy corner to Jerry's that has a few benches (and a playground!). I considered walking over there with our treats, but it was pretty crowded too.
By the time we got our treats we still had to wait another five minutes or so for the burger combo. At this point Jiro decided he wanted french fries too, but I informed him that there was no way that I was going to wait in line again! He didn't like this, but the liberal sharing we were all doing with our treats kept everyone happy. I have to say that based on my cousin Nancy's description from Cool, Uptown, Jerry's definitely makes Sno Balls and not Snow Cones and that the addition of ice cream is brilliant! I was a little disappointed to discover that the ice cream only went half way down my cup, but overall I was very pleased. Jiro loved his rainbow and Satchel loved his sundae (vanilla ice cream, strawberry sauce, whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry). None of us could finish though. (Ditto for our first visit.) I would definitely recommend going with the small sizes! (However I think the supremes and creams only come in large.)
When the burger and fries were ready we were all ready for some air-conditioning, so we piled in the car. The monkeys agreed to share the fries (which I found to be a little grease heavy. I'd say they were twice fried but that seems unlikely considering the steady line and long wait.) Neither wanted any of the burger, which was fine with me. It was meaty and delicious. I wished I had some ketchup on it, but other than that it was damn good. I'd definitely order food there again. (Although I did discover that the highly acclaimed Maya's Mexican Restaurant is very nearby. I might eat there before getting my sno cone on.)
Ambiance: Lively and fun--everyone is bingeing and/or sugared up!
Service: A little slow, but worth the wait. The workers are working, they just have a lot to do!
Kid-friendliness: Good in the sense that kids love sugary treats, but bad in the sense that there is nowhere to sit and who nows what you'd do if your kid had to suddenly go potty!
Eco-friendliness: Unfortunately it seems as though sno cones and styrofoam go together like a horse and carriage. Boo!