As the popularity of Dawson’s Yogurt resulted in long lines of people eager for its delicious yogurt and ice cream, Bill and Heavenly Dawson added a new unique shop to Seaside, Heavenly Shortcakes & Ice Cream (now called It’s Heavenly), in 1998. “Heavenly and I wanted our new ice cream store to be different from Dawson’s Yogurt,” Bill Dawson says, “So we created our Heavenly Concept, making it a gelateria and ice cream store, Italian gelato meets American ice cream.”
The shop with the supersize triple-scoop ice cream cone at its storefront has become famous for its hand-dipped ice cream and more than 32 flavors of authentic gelato and sorbet. “We like to educate our customers by encouraging them to taste the various gelato and sorbet flavors,” Bill Dawson says. “They always experience something new and flavorful. In terms of American ice cream, people tend to be chocolate people or vanilla people. But gelato flavors are more intense, creamier. And we like to see people’s reactions to these new-found taste sensations.”
It’s Heavenly staff members are skilled at making custom ice cream desserts, hand-folded on their Frost Top with a wide assortment of toppings. And the star-shaped homemade brownies and shortcakes, made with Heavenly’s recipe, add a sentimental touch to the menu.
The shop’s name change in 2014 to It’s Heavenly was inspired by Bill’s wife’s vivacious personality. “Wherever we go, everyone greets us with, ‘It’s Heavenly!’” says Bill, arms spread wide with a joyous grin. “No one ever shouts, ‘It’s Bill!’”
Blue and white striped awnings and open folding doors are reminiscent of Italian cafes, where the sights and scents coming from indoors lure customers to linger a while. “We wanted it to be like those in Italy, where the gelaterias are right by the street,” says Bill Dawson. “We keep the doors open to welcome people in. Closed doors just don’t cut it. When we’re open, we are OPEN. So come on in.”
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