In the middle of the farming community of Gaston there is a little gem called the Barking Cow Ice Cream Parlor. This ice cream parlor (Old Fashioned Ice Cream) hosts an eclectic array of items from the area. The town itself has a population of about 850 folks. I took my family over on a Friday evening after dinner for destination drive and a treat. I’d heard of this place but hadn’t had any reason to drive there….. I mean, just for ice cream. Let me tell you this is a neat little place. We happen to be able to speak to the owner, Cary Malchow, and he gave quite a history. The “mascot” (if you want to call it that…) is a black and white cow which Cary says is named Sylvia after his grandmother. He came up with the name after looking into the town archives. In 1913 there were gas well fires around the area. A calf that lost it’s mother in the fire was placed in a pen with some dogs. The farm where is was living had another gas well fire and the cow started barking to warn the farmer. Cary tells the story much better than I do but you get the gist.
So, let me tell you about the ice cream. There are the standard flavors like chocolate, vanilla, rocky road which comes from a supplier in Michigan. But, there is one ice cream cooler with flavors Cary makes himself. For example, Wick’s Sugar Cream Pecan Pie, which is what my husband ordered and loved it! Wick’s is a pie maker out of Winchester Indiana. That is something else I like about this place. They try to buy items from local vendors. The Shortcakes for the Strawberry Shortcake dessert comes from Concannons Bakery in Muncie, Indiana. (Which I would have ordered if I’d noticed it sooner.) They purchase meat from Fisher Butcher Shop in Muncie for the hot dogs, chicken salad and tacos etc… Smith Dairy in Richmond is where the cream comes from that they make their ice cream with. But, I digress…
My daughter ordered the Cookie Dough Ice Cream and I ordered the Amaretto Cherry Cordial. Very tasty and I’m not a fan of dessert. My daughter said it was the best Cookie Dough ice cream she had ever had. I noticed a flavor called Delaware County Pothole which I find rather humorous. At the annual Taste of Muncie event they won first place for best dessert: Killer Key Lime Pie Ice Cream. Cary says they try to change the ice cream flavors regularly.
They do have some non-ice cream related items like Hot dogs, Coney dogs, Chicken salad, Tacos and on the weekends they have a 1 pound loaded baked potato. Cary says it’s affordable and you can adorn it with various items like the taco toppings. They don’t have a large menu but they try to do what they have well.
While we were sitting there we looked at the photos of famous Indiana personalities such as James Dean, Bobby Knight and Michael Jackson. The décor has many antique items like an old crank type wall phone and glass top gas pump. There are doors from his grandparents house on the wall. Of course there are trophies and pictures from the local schools adorning the parlor. There is a lot of charm in this little place. I noticed when we walked in there were cow tracks on the floor and the ceiling is painted like a clear blue sky with clouds. Sylvia (the cow) often has sayings she shares such as, ” Don’t be a Pig. Keep Gaston Clean!”
The town is on the north end of the Cardinal Greenway bike and walking trail. This trail spans from Richmond Indiana to Gaston. You can check it out at http://cardinalgreenways.org/
The Barking Cow is about four blocks from the trail so I’d think it might be a good place to take a break, get some water, or of course ice cream!
If you think driving all that way for an ice cream cone seems silly you can buy buckets of ice cream to go. That has to make it worth the trip!? Right!
You can find them at 103 W. Elm St. Gaston Indiana. Hours at 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m. but they extend their hours in the summer to 10:00 p.m.
They don’t have a website but there is a facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/TheBarkingCow/