Who holds the custard crown?
August 21, 2018
I have a confession to make. And yes, this is serious. Ever since I could hold a cone, I’ve struggled with a serious addiction to ice cream, custard, frozen yogurt, whatever you want to call the heavenly concoction. In fact, one of my first words was “nilla” (short for vanilla). Lord knows I’ve seen and sampled it all — like a cup of Potato Chip down in Florida’s panhandle to a double scoop of Blue Cupcake in a waffle cone from northern Wisconsin. Yet, you don’t need to be an expert to know the obvious. The Custard Station has and will always wear the Custard Crown of Kirkwood.
I’ll give it to you, Andy’s fiends. Andy’s is the new ‘cool’ kid on the block with its sleek exterior and drive-thru option. It’s conveniently open all year round, and they even serve custard until midnight during the weekends — a perfect swirl of ingredients to win your favor. I’d be lying if I told you I hadn’t enjoyed a few Snowmonster concretes, myself. But don’t be deceived.
The flashy neon lights that decorate Andy’s are solely used to draw your attention away from their overpriced and mediocre custard.
Getting custard is a treat and always a positive experience at the Custard Station. As soon as I walk into the cozy fortress of shaded benches, I can smell the flavors drifting from the little striped hut and feel the warm summer air. The lines move quickly, and the sweet Custard girls call my order swiftly — making a cone in just 23 seconds. I have never witnessed confusion between customers about who ordered what.
For operating 62 chains, Andy’s has still not figured out how to create the same satisfaction as the one and only Custard Station. Andy’s Frozen Custard leaves its customers frozen in the cold, waiting, and waiting, and waiting by the window for their order to be called or snatched by another customer. It takes them nearly a minute longer to make a simple cone. The lines are way too long, and when you finally reach the window, the workers are just as unhappy as you are. Sounds more like waiting at the DMV than a special occasion to me.
Being a teenager comes with its expenses: paying your share for pizza on a Friday night, those new shoes you want and looking onward to college. You should not have to sacrifice those new Vans for one or two custard outings. At the Custard Station, you can buy a cone with just a few quarters whereas Andy’s has a different story. One Yelp user couldn’t have said it better: “16 freaking American dollars for three of the absolute worst cups of frozen custard I’ve ever had,” John T. said, describing Andy’s. “We ordered the Snowmonster, the key lime pie and the peach. What we got was a cup of unexceptional custard with a small amount of the topping squatting on top like a malignant toad.”
Most importantly, it all comes down to the taste. Consistently, I have been more than satisfied with the Custard Station. The way the perfectly blended ingredients melt in your mouth. The pillow-like texture making each spoonful pure bliss. The genius combinations like Fluffy Elvis or Grasshopper Pie that leave you awestruck. The craft behind each piece of art is evident.
At Andy’s, the thought behind most cups is evident as well. Just look through the glass, at the disdained teens dumping in ingredients.
The next time you find yourself debating between the two spots, just ask yourself this; Walmart or Chanel?
It is 11:30 p.m., and I am laying in bed watching YouTube vlogger Emma Chamberlain’s videos in my pajamas. Suddenly, my stomach begins to grumble, and I am craving one thing: chocolate custard. I grab my keys and drive down to Andy’s Frozen Custard, which is open until midnight every weekend. If I had wanted Custard Station, I would have had to leave my house 2 hours earlier and put on a real outfit. I drive home, sipping my delicious M&M, Oreo and chocolate milkshake from the comfort of my car. The creamy custard and convenience put a smile on my face.
Andy’s Custard is a chain that first opened in 1986 in Osage Beach, Missouri, about 2 and a half hours away from Kirkwood. Since then, they have opened an additional 62 stores in 11 states across the United States. According to their website, Andy’s is the largest dessert-only franchise in the world. With all these different locations, they have the upper hand when it comes to practice and perfecting their concretes and sundaes.
I completely understand wanting to support local businesses, and the Custard Station does have a better atmosphere for hanging out with friends. Also, their Instagram page is very aesthetically pleasing. But for a superior custard experience, you will always find me at Andy’s. I have several scientifically backed reasons why this dessert chain is the holy grail of custard.
I appreciate the customer service at Andy’s, and they are always well-staffed. The cheerful employees are ready to take my order and craft my dream custard. A quote from their website states, “If you are in the service business, you have to hire people that have a strong desire to serve. Pay them above average, train them well, and demand nothing but the best.”
One major difference between Andy’s and the Custard Station is their chocolate custard. At the Custard Station, their chocolate custard tastes like vanilla, just colored brown. As someone who would rather eat toenails than vanilla custard, this doesn’t work for me. Their custard is also so heavy that it just sits in the bottom of my stomach. I’m not lactose intolerant, but their custard always manages to make me feel sick. On the other hand, the chocolate custard from Andy’s is perfection. With a rich, chocolatey taste and airy consistency, I’d pick it over Custard Station any day.
Andy’s is also open year round. Need I say more? What happens when December rolls around and you are craving custard? You can’t go knocking on the Custard Station window expecting them to whip up some sweet treats. The drive-thru at Andy’s also makes it a perfect spot for lazy people like myself.
The chunks of toppings in Andy’s concretes, sundaes and milkshakes are a lot bigger than the ones at Custard Station. If I order a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup concrete, I don’t want the candies blended into dust. If I order an Oreo concrete, I want to find almost an entire Oreo in the bottom of my cup. I want to continue to munch on the candy of my choice during the entire eating experience, not just for the first few bites. Andy’s offers so many different options for custard consuming, including their signature Jackhammers, a concrete with a core full of whatever you choose. You can also buy pints of their fresh custard that will last you for days.
The closest Andy’s location is on Kirkwood road, a seven minute drive from KHS. They are open year-round until 11:30 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends. They offer over 30 different toppings and mix-ins, so there is always something for everyone. Unless, of course, you enjoy the taste of toenails.