Armadillo’s: My Dining Room for Dessert

by Mr. Sheehy

I read an article the other day mourning the loss of local cafes in New York City. I empathize with the sentiment especially because I know how tightly I cling to my favorite restaurants. These places are not restaurants, they are additional dining rooms. When you go there you don’t ask questions, and you don’t look at the menu; you have it memorized and you order the same thing half the time anyway.

One of my places is Armadillo’s. A few years ago one of my wife’s friends flew into town from New York City and came to our apartment to see us. We weren’t home, but instead of stopping to consider where we might be (at my in-laws? on a walk?), she assumed we’d be at Armadillo’s. Never doubting her conclusion, she came straight to the world’s greatest ice cream shop, where we were sitting at a metal picnic table eating our Mocha Mud Pie and Jocelyn’s Cappuccino Collision shakes.

Five years later, we have a two-year old to share the experience (our four-month old only gets to watch). Like my wife’s friend, Ellen has discovered that her parents are utterly predictable. If after dinner I say to her, “Hey, we’re going to go someplace special,” her eyes will light up and without hesitation she will burst out: “Armadillooos!” Sometimes it seems everyone aspires to the label “spontaneous and unpredicatble”; we, obviously, will never claim the unpredictable tag.

But that doesn’t matter, because we are more concerned with great ice cream than with our culture’s faddish character traits. And justly so. Consider the list of qualities that have earned Armadillo’s its status. The low prices enable us to go multiple times a week if the notion strikes us, whereas Coldstone should offer financing for families who order large sundaes. The daily sherbet flavors are unique and variable, tempting us into late evening runs for orange or key-lime when its turn in the rotation arrives. And the people help too: the patrons and workers are loyal and local, so we bump into our friends and recognize the workers when we go.

All told, by now it is simply our place. Need to celebrate a birthday, an achievement, or the clock’s turning another hour? There’s only one place to go: our dining room for dessert, Armadillo’s. See you there.