By Wafir Salih
A renaissance of sweets is underway in Alexandria. Many pop- ular dessert shops are making their way to the area as the summer draws to a close. Whether seeking a new date-night spot or simply looking to satisfy your sweet tooth with a fresh experience, here are four new spots that are worth checking out:
Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar
Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar, renowned for its visually stunning and signature mason jar milkshakes, is slated to launch its newest location later this month at 716 King St.
Robert and Erin Studer, the couple behind the Alexandria store, as well as owners of an- other Crazy Mason outlet in Ellicott City, Md., couldn’t be more thrilled.
“Old Town Alexandria is one of our favorite places,” the couple said in a statement on the brand’s website. “With the waterfront, the cosmopolitan feel and the walkable nature of the town, we are so excited to announce our next location on King Street.”
Established in Myrtle Beach, S.C. in June 2020 by the entrepreneurial couple, Bo and Sherri Steele, the milkshake bar skyrocketed in popularity. In just three years, its success spurred multiple out- lets, with Alexandria being the latest addition.
The menu boasts over 20 options. Highlights include the “Sweet Jesus,” a strawberry cheesecake inspired milk- shake, and the Alexandria exclusive, “By George, It’s Cherry Good,” which is made of cherry vanilla ice cream and topped with whipped cream, a chocolate quarter, a piece of cherry pie and a cherry.
For those with dietary preferences, the owners are also adding Dole Whip to the menu, reminiscent of the beloved Disney World treat.
“We’ve got a couple dairyfree options from an ice cream perspective, but then we’ll also have this Dole Whip,” Robert Studer said. “Which is that pineapple flavored soft serve, which a lot of people really love.”
Though primarily a takeout venue, the owners are looking at potentially incorporating outdoor seating on the back patio as soon as next spring.
As for those eager to join the Crazy Mason family, Studer adds, “We’re planning to hire two assistant managers, one shift lead, and 20 to 25 crazy creators, which is kind of what we call the regular everyday employees.”
Anyone interested in joining the team can contact the Alexandria branch directly at alexandria@thecrazy mason.com.
From its humble beginnings in a home kitchen in 2018 to a bustling storefront in Reston, the vegan cookie shop MidnighTreats has found its latest home at 110 S. Payne St. Owners Johnny and Diana Nguyen are on a mission not just to serve delicious cookies, but to challenge perceptions about plant-based foods and make a difference in the community.
The store’s interior provides an ethereal and cozy atmosphere, transporting patrons into a midnight-themed cosmos. The design lives up to the store’s name and makes you want to grab a box of warm cookies — with each cookie being a unique treat.
“Every flavor we roll out has a different base,” Nguyen said. “It’s not like one base with different icings on top and calling it a different cookie. They’re all different bases.”
Their popular cinnamon roll cookie is described as “doughy,” crowned with cinnamon and vanilla icing. Their brownie cookie is rich with fudge and tastes just like a brownie, while the classic chocolate chip is semi-sweet and coated in chocolate chips.
“We use roughly like 30% to 50% less sugar than an average recipe, which helps both with not having like a sweet tooth or a sweet stomachache,” Nguyen said.
Thanks to a slower bak- ing method the owners have dubbed “low and slow,” the cookies are baked all the way through. The result is a tall and thick cookie with a crisp exterior and a soft, moist center. With MidnighTreats, the goal is to offer customers a plant-based alternative to a dessert everyone loves in an effort to challenge the stigma of plant-based foods.
“The whole mission itself is to combat abusive factory farming. That’s why everything’s plant-based and vegan,” Nguyen said.
Most customers are unaware that the cookies are plant-based, but when they do find out they’re pleasantly surprised. As Nguyen sums it up, “if it’s a good cookie, it’s a good cookie.”
MidnighTreats is also dedicated to giving back to the community and being environmentally conscious. By partnering with Eden Reforestation Projects, every box of cookies sold will fund the cost of one tree. As of now they’ve helped plant over 6,786 trees. They also donate to animal sanctuaries which rescue and care for abused animals, in addition to supporting local schools and homeless shelters.
While MidnighTreats is committed to making a global difference, at its heart, it’s about providing delicious, quality cookies that anyone can enjoy.