The former train depot on 64th Street at the Monon Trail has a new tenant. After a period of vacancy, the building has been transformed into the Broad Ripple Ice Cream Station, or BRICS. The 1907 structure served the Monon line until 1959. The building was formerly the Whistle Stop Sausage House and, more recently, the Whistle Stop Deli.
BRICS features Sherman's ice cream, a richer, denser ice cream than most standard brands. Sherman's has been made in South Haven, Michigan, one batch at a time, by the Sherman family since 1916. BRICS offers a list 30 flavors long (the yellow cake batter is delicious), as well as many custom ice cream creations.
Customers can expect to pay a reasonable $2.80 for a one-scoop cone or cup of their choice; $4.50 for two scoops and a one dollar upgrade for a homemade waffle cone. Floats, shakes, malts, smoothies, fountain drinks, coffee and tea round out the refreshments.
The fare at BRICS is supplemented by soups and sandwiches provided by popular Taste Cafe at 52nd and College. Sandwiches from Taste will run customers $6; cups and bowls of soup cost $2.50 or $3.50, respectively.
After a significant renovation the building is visually striking: a neat and clean modern look with historic influence. "We wanted to maintain the historic character of the structure," says co-owner Nonie Vonnegut-Gabovitch. A removed header opens up space in the building. The header was then recycled as the mantelpiece over a newly installed fireplace.
Re-finished original oak floors have character and look great paired with classic style ironwork on the tables and turn of the century-style belt drive fans.
Vonnegut-Gabovitch is passionate about the eco-friendly aspect of the business. BRICS is using as little plastic as possible - stainless tasting spoons, glassware and plates for customers dining in and compost-able ice cream cups.
"People say 'why don't you sell plastic water bottles? You'll make so much money,' I don't want to see any of those," says Vonnegut-Gabovitch. BRICS does sell stainless steel water bottles and is a spot on the former rail line where Monon travelers can re-fill their own water bottles.
Other enviro-friendly amenities include landscaping featuring Indiana native plants that do not require heavy watering. Dual flush toilets in the restrooms also serve to save water.
Proper waste management is also a priority for BRICS. "Our recycle bin is twice as big as our trash bin," says Vonnegut-Gabovitch. She also hopes to eventually compost much of the waste from the shop.
Vonnegut-Gabovitch says that the ice cream shop was the brainchild of her husband, David, as a frequenter of the Monon Trail and connoisseur of ice cream. "We wanted to start a community-minded business to run with our kids," she says.