Dig those dots: Twist on a classic

If classic ice cream is a good thing, then why not make it even better? That seems to be the notion behind a new ice cream stand in Fashion Square Mall called Dippin' Dots.

There are several hundred locations across the nation, and the local store– owned by a former plumbing supply salesman named David Verell– opened in June.

"I was tired of traveling," Verell explains. When he looked into various food franchises, this one stood out. "It's a neat concept," he says, "pretty unique."

Most important for an ice cream biz, Verell says, is that kids go crazy for the stuff. With that in mind, he located his kiosk between the mall's indoor kiddie play area and JC Penney.

Dippin' Dots is basically just what it sounds like: dots and more dots. A five-ounce cup of the chilled dessert contains at least 1,000 dots, Verell says, each smaller than a bb. How do you keep all the dots from melting together into one big drippy mess?

"You take the air out of regular ice cream," Verell explains, "and flash freeze it at minus-40 degrees."

The dots come in 20 flavors, though Verell says his stand serves only 14. The product is dairy based, and comes in sugar-free varieties as well as sherbet and frozen yogurt, for the health conscious.

If you're not a regular Fashion Square patron, you'll still have a chance to try out this new confection. Verell will be going dotty at UVA football and basketball games this year.


Lighten up

 Last week, Dish gave you the lowdown on the offer for sale of Scottsville's Dew Drop Inn, and this week, as promised, Laurel's Early Light Café is in the spotlight. Opened five years ago by Laurel Davis and chef Steve Rosen, the Café has given health-conscious diners in the southern part of the county a charming option for breakfast and lunch, though it's open only a few days a week. Brightly colored walls and tables impart a cheerful ambience to the Valley Street eatery.

And while the recent closure of Jimmy's on the James, coupled with the competing sale of The Dew Drop might give pause to potential buyers, consider this: AAA's trade publication, AAA World, named Scottsville one of "the Atlantic's most Pacific places," in its July/August edition, adding that Scottsville "is just waking up."

If you're just waking up to the idea of owning a Scottsville restaurant, round up $70,000, and give realtor Debi Hornberger a call.


Hunt Country

 Drive out Garth Road past Foxfield, and you just might not recognize what used to be called Hunt Country Corner. Although it still has night crawlers and fishing tackle, the store has a new mission: to serve the well-heeled clientele traveling Garth Road. And a new name: Hunt Country Market and Deli.

Always a quick spot to snag a jug of milk or a pack of smokes, Hunt Country has been transformed into something more along the lines of a Belair Market, and many of those who travel Garth Road heading home say the change is welcome.

Two couples have gotten in on the Hunt Country act: Nancy Kallander and her husband Tom Smith, and Tracy and Graham Bright purchased the shop from Loren Nelson back in June. Business, they say, has been hectic ever since.

Along with giving the building a good cleaning both inside and out, the foursome plan to replace the floor and complete other renovations. The inventory has also changed: Fine wine and gourmet foods, including Boar's Head brand meats and bread from Albemarle Baking Co. are among the additions. There's also Shenandoah Joe coffee, homemade salads and desserts, and breakfast pastries from Baker's Palette.