Bodensee Frozen Custard: much more than dessert [closed]
Bodensee Frozen Custard and Vienna Coffee Haus is located at 8860 South Western in Oklahoma City (map). They are open daily daily at 11am through the evening hours. They are closed on Sundays except during the summer months when they are open seven days a week. Call them at 405.605.2164.
PLEASE NOTE: Bodensee Frozen Custard is no longer in business.
I’m not much of a dessert guy, so dining at an ice cream shop generally isn’t my first choice. That, plus the fact that the outside temperature is often below freezing this time of year, is enough to keep me away from anything with “frozen custard” in the name. But I heard about Bodensee Frozen Custard and the fact that they serve much more than sweets. I also heard that this single-location cafe runs a very clean shop so when I found myself meeting a friend for dinner on the south side of town the other day, I decided to give it a try.
I discovered that Bodensee offers a nice selection of sandwiches, soups, salads, sides, and a full espresso and coffee selection. Not only that, but I found an incredible value in the $5 lunch combo. This selection (which managing partner, Lloyd Tidwell, tells me they actually offer any time of day, not just at lunch) gives you a choice of any full sized sandwich, choice of side, drink (with free refills), and a taste of custard, all for $5 even. I can tell you that if I lived or worked anywhere near this restaurant, I would definitely take advantage of this value regularly.
I had the Prussian Cheese Steak sandwich. It’s $4.69 by itself but you can get it, in its full size, as a part of the $5 combo described above. This seems like a crazy price discrepancy to me, but hey, I’ll take it. The sandwich isn’t huge, but it’s certainly an adequate portion. Neither is it amazingly unique, but it is very tasty and fresh. The bottom line is, I wouldn’t be head over heels about this sandwich at $4.69, but at $5 with everything else included, I’m in awe.
My friend had the club ($4.59 on it’s own). It was pretty basic, but again, tasty and fresh. That seems to be the standard here. You’re not going to be writing home about the sandwiches you discover, but you’re going to get something fresh, healthy, well prepared, and at a terrific value.
On every sandwich, you get to choose your bread, dressings, veggies and cheese. It’s actually a lot of choices to make and a little awkward (in my opinion) when you have to spend so much time setting the specifications for your order, but if you’re into customization, this is the place for you.
Of course, the calling card of Bodensee is the frozen custard, so I had to try some. It was about 10 degrees outside when I was there, but I sacrificed for the sake of this review and ordered a parfait ($2.99 small, $3.49 regular, $3.99 large). There are about fifteen to choose from and I got the Bodensee. It’s sweet creme custard, banana slices, and strawberry topping in a parfait glass. I’m no custard expert, but still I can tell you it’s very good. It’s so creamy it’s almost hard to believe. The place obviously knows what they are doing as a creamery and, naturally, this is where the heart of their business lies.
You can get the custard in a bunch of other forms like mixes, sundaes, malts, shakes, floats, freezes, cones, smoothies, and the like. Again, tons of choices to make in flavorings, toppings and mixins. They also make a no-fat, no-sugar-added frozen yogurt that you can substitute into most of their selections.
One thing I really like is the “taste” of custard that comes with the $5 lunch special. It literally is a taste — a very small paper cup barely bigger than what you’d get as a sample most places with a little scoop of custard. But honestly, this is about how much dessert we all should really eat. It’s nice that they include it on the combo so that you can get a taste of their specialty, which of course may entice you to come back and try something else.
The one thing I’m not really fond of at Bodensee is the atmosphere. The interior of the restaurant is really disjointed and doesn’t give the impression that they really spend much time on environment. There is a front room that is done up to look like you are outdoors in Vienna somewhere. A painted mural on the wall and patio tables with umbrellas (though you are indoors) establish the motif. Now, it’s not super well done, but it still provides at least a bit of decor.
The problem comes when you move into the back room, which is almost completely bare and features a hodgepodge of coffee tables, benches, tables and chairs with no decoration whatsoever. This is a room you can reserve as a meeting room for many different party and group meeting options they offer. There is a ventless gas log fireplace in this back room, which would have been great on the cold day I was there, but there was nothing really cozy about it. It was just kind of stuck in the corner. There is so much more that could be done to the interiors to make this place more inviting. I also feel that adding free wifi connectivity could really help as they are promoting themselves as a cafe and coffee shop.
That said, I can’t render too much judgment on the “feel” of the place as I was definitely not there in their peak season. I imagine the mood is so much more lively on a hot summer night when lots of people show up to enjoy the cool, refreshing, and excellently prepared custard.
The bottom line for me is that Bodensee is a great value. I’m not sure the $5 lunch combo (which I’m told is available all day) can be beat anywhere, by anyone. It’s so much better than fast food — it’s fresh, custom made, healthy and tasty — and yet they are delivering it at prices that beat most fast food restaurants. Seriously, where can you go to get a complete meal, drink included, for $5 even?
This amazing value, plus the uniqueness of their dessert offerings, make Bodensee worth a try for those who live nearby. Please let us know what you think in the comments.