Restaurant: Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt, Fishers, Indiana
It was at long last that I finally made it to Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt. After hearing all about it from my friend Andy, who loves their banana split, and attempting to have it over Labor Day weekend, only to find the shop closed for the holiday…I was elated to find them open for business (which they are…year round) on Saturday while I was in the Indianapolis area for a Gluten-Free Expo.
I had just shared a gluten-free pizza with my roommate so I wasn’t exactly sure of what we might be getting when we pulled up to the little corner shop in Fishers. You don’t eat inside, mind you. There is no dining room and no tables scattered about the place. The people that were there were taking their treats to their car to enjoy.
But, we had decided to try this banana split that Andy raved about. I mean, it was coming with such high regard and a full endorsement from an Ironman athlete himself. Why not? We’d find that hatch in our stomachs, open it, and make some room. We stepped up to the window and the young man behind the sliding glass awaited our order. We were easy…banana split. Traditional. That meant we took off the dowsing of crushed red maraschino cherries that usually is slathered over the chocolate ice cream and replaced it with hot fudge. That’s how I like it. Traditional.
With the order in…my roommate and I stepped aside and began to watch the construction of our banana split through the window. In a clear plastic tub (no kidding!), we watched as mounds…huge heaping mounds of strawberry ice cream, chocolate ice cream, and vanilla ice cream were piled high in the container. We both looked at each other. HOLY CRAP! That was going to be a lot of ice cream and this banana split was going to be…huge. No dinner for us tonight. Whew. Once the ice cream was scooped out in three massive piles, the next step was the toppings. There was a brief food porn intermission though while our server took a moment to rip into a banana and slice it up into rounds. Then…they brought on the toppings. Pineapple was poured over the mountain of vanilla ice cream. Strawberries went over the strawberry ice cream. And, per our request, hot fudge drenched our chocolate ice cream. Atop of that went a mixture of chopped nuts. The the bananas were scattered throughout the sundae…everywhere they would fit. Finally, an avalanche of whipped cream was squirted on top. No cherry for us as we requested they be left off the chocolate ice cream. And so…it was handed over to us.
The Handel’s Banana Split ($5.75) is truly a work of art…of Titanic proportions. I don’t even know how we managed to find room for all of this…but we found a bench nearby in front of a shop at the strip where Handel’s is located (NO ice cream in my car…ever!) and dug in.
O.M.G. So good. I started with the strawberry, as strawberry ice cream is one of my favorite things in the world. It was really good, but I found the strawberry topping to almost overwhelm the ice cream itself. It was so sugary-sweet and a bit too much. My roommate agreed and we both pretty much scraped off the topping to enjoy the strawberry ice cream below it. The vanilla was a simple vanilla. Nothing outstanding or to make it really stand out from other vanilla ice cream that I have enjoyed. Again, the pineapple topping was far too sweet and we sort of worked it off and enjoyed the ice cream beneath it. The chocolate ice cream was decadent, delicious, and coated in amazing hot fudge. I’m so glad we went with hot fudge because I am afraid if we left the cherries on…we’d be scraping those off too. But the hot fudge was out-of-this-world good and it made a perfect banana split topping for the chocolate ice cream. I’m not a whipped cream girl, so my roommate ate much of that. While the ice cream was good…the real stand out in the banana split was…the mixed nuts. No kidding. They were crunchy, not salty, and just amazing. We raved about them and would seek out bites with the nuts included. So delicious. And the other thing about Handel’s Banana Split is that I love it when places chop up the banana. It’s unconventional, I know, but it makes eating the sundae that much easier. So…that was awesome too.
Now that I look at the Handel’s Web site, I realize that this is actually a small chain, with stores scattered throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Virginia, California and Florida. The Handel’s dynasty has actually been around since 1945, where they make their ice creams and yogurts fresh on the premises every day. The products, equipment, methods, and recipes are exclusively Handel’s…so you won’t have anything like it anywhere else. They operate on the philosophy of using the best ingredients available…and always in abundance. If you saw the size of the banana split…you would see that they aren’t kidding. They don’t skimp on portions, toppings, or flavor. You definitely get what you pay for!
I admire a company that has been around and scooping since 1945. I was kind of sad to see it was a bit of a chain, despite being relatively local and small. I have this love of independently owned ice cream shops…where you only get that kind of ice cream there. Now I know that if I really want Handel’s Ice Cream while in Columbus, Ohio…I can get it. Of course, in Columbus I stick to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.
So, while Handel’s did deliver a colossal banana split to my roommate and I…which we powered through and then promptly declared ourselves at max capacity for the day, it wasn’t the best one I have ever eaten. It definitely had it’s moments. The rich chocolate ice cream, the hot fudge, and the nuts being the stars of this banana boat show. But next time I’m in the area, I might seek out one of the locally owned, independent ice cream shops and give that a try. Handel’s was a solid, delicious stop. The toppings were really sweet and too much, but the flavors were awesome. And we definitely devoured the banana split down to the very last bite…which was the strawberry ice cream for me and the chocolate for my roommate. It was good…but I have definitely had better.
If you are craving ice cream that is made fresh every day, packed with flavor, and comes in epic proportion sizes…check out Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt. They are definitely worth a stop, a look, and a taste. Spoonful-for-spoonful…the ice cream was really good…and very filling. So bring a friend to help you get through it all.