The storefront is crisp and bright in every way. Its patio is strewn with bulb lights and shiny silver tables, while the interior beams in sleek white tile and a pink neon sign proclaiming its arrival along an otherwise established stretch of St. Paul. Pilgrims happily waited along a spray-painted mural depicting the Cookie Crisp-fiending wolf and Cinnamon Toast Crunch square, as Cardi B and Bruno Mars’ “Please Me” blasted from the stereo.
In comparison to Grand Ole Creamery just a stone’s throw down the way, Treats feels like the embodiment of a shopping mall’s id.
Remember the days of yore when you’d eat too much Captain Crunch and it would shred the roof of your mouth? Treats has a special kind of machine, more auger than blender, that obliterates each ingredient into such a fine powder that only the cereal’s flavor remains, with minimal trace of their damning texture. The base ice creams used were more tangy than cloying, like sweet cream, which kept the mutant desserts from being too sweet, against all odds.
Watching everything we didn’t order come up, one at a time, was a test in patience as sadistic as it likely was intentional on part of the staff (I think). Eventually, with only my milkshake yet to arrive, I started to crack. After seeing a 4-year-old girl cradle her “Cocoa Party” as she retrieved it from the counter—its swirl of Cocoa Puffs, Oreo O’s, and chocolate chips in a giant neon-green matcha cone studded with toasted mini-marshmallows—my jaw fell open so far that three (3) whole strangers genuinely laughed at me, not the child.
“I’ve made a huge mistake,” I whined. My companion suggested I “just take it from her” because “clearly there are no consequences here.” Even we weren't (yet) thinking about diabetes. That text exchange was still hours away.
Right about then, Treats co-owner Trisha Seng passed by the waiting area to check on her guests. She made sure we knew to stir the layers of our beautiful, Instagram-ready Strawberry Latte Matcha tea for the best tasting experience, and asked how I liked my (amazing) Taro milk bottle.
When my “Berry Kiss” milkshake arrived, it was more than I'd dare hope for. Loaded with Fruity Pebbles, Froot Loops, and Trix blended into strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry soft serve, it came garnished with even more Froot Loops and a handful of gummy bears. Truly, it was spectacular, and somehow not overbearing. The texture was just right, even the gummy bears, which so often become inedible when thrown atop frozen foods.
Ignoring our ancient guts, Treats' charming patio became a field for Olympic feats of eating. Locked in competition, my milkshake against a birthday cake-flavored waffle cone chocked with “Apple Craze” (Apple Jacks, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Captain Crunch), my friend and I found ourselves reminiscing about being teenagers.
Parkour was beginning to feel like a reasonable hobby. Said friend exclaimed: “I want to do some pranks!” He's solidly in his 30's, for reference.
These are the kinds of "adult" conversations we can expect Treats to spawn in the Twin Cities this summer. Next time I go—and there will be a next time—I profess to pilot a Lime scooter there. It only seems right.
Hopefully my health insurance will have kicked in by then.
770 Grand Ave., St. Paul