Last Call: The ballad of the Dolly Parton ice cream that broke the internet

Illustration for article titled Last Call: The ballad of the Dolly Parton ice cream that broke the internet
Photo: Aimee Levitt
Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

I was thinking yesterday about the nature of boredom, how it makes you agitated and lackadaisical at the same time. (Okay, it’s true, everyone with intellectual pretensions has been pretending they’ve been having profound thoughts about the nature of boredom, especially now that the end of the pandemic is in sight.) Every day is the same, and the only thing that provides any variety is the arrival of a package in the mail. At least, this is how I justify my online shopping habits and the insanity that keeps me up late at night perusing Etsy for vintage kimonos and velvet coats. Can one purchase turn you into a new person with a more exciting life?


Today’s excitement came from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, which collaborated with Dolly Parton on an exclusive new flavor, Strawberry Pretzel Pie. Proceeds would go to Dolly’s Imagination Library. A few days before the drop, word came from Jeni’s that only one run of the flavor had been made—10,000 cartons—and seekers were advised to hop on the Jeni’s website at the stroke of noon or else line up outside their local Jeni’s Scoop Shop.

Trying to order through the website was a similar experience to trying to get a vaccine appointment: a lot of long loading times, automatic error messages, and hitting refresh. Eventually, Jeni’s informed the world that the website had crashed and the little internet elves were doing their best to fix it.

So I pushed myself away from my desk and went out in the rain to secure a pint at a local scoop shop. Ha! Silly me! The employees at the scoop shop in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood informed me that they had been sent just 16 pints—“That’s one six”—and that they were gone in exactly 14 minutes and 49 seconds. (They were keeping track.) The rest of the ice cream, allotted for scoops, was gone in less than two hours. There was, however, a large pile of commemorative posters. Alas. The shop was immaculate. The employees had the tired but elated look of people who had just undergone a very difficult workout.

But still. It added a little color and excitement to an otherwise dreary day. And now I have two pints of non-Dolly Jeni’s ice cream in my freezer, plus five commemorative posters and also a plant that I didn’t need but which was calling to me from the window of a nearby shop.

If anyone has tasted Strawberry Pretzel Pie, could you please let us know how it is? And for the rest of you, is there any food in the world that is worth this much time and trouble? Let us know—along with your most harrowing/ridiculous stories—in the comments.


Associate editor of The Takeout. Chicagoan. Owned by dog.



I work near the original Shake Shack. The first few years they were open, before they became a chain, the lines were utterly ridiculous. You had to get there before 11 if you wanted lunch before dinnertime, basically. (I could not be bothered; they’re not that close to my office.) At some point after they had opened a couple other NYC outposts, I finally went there on the early side with friends from out of town, and we were in line 45 minutes before we ordered. They do sell a damn good burger, though.

The only other times I’ve queued up in a long line for food has been at the Italian butcher before Easter, and the Italian pasticceria before Christmas.