More Than Just Ice Cream is exactly what its name proclaims. Established in 1975, this BYO restaurant is one of the longest continually running restaurants in the city of Philadelphia. More Than Just Ice Cream (MTJIC) first opened on Pine Street as an ice cream shop that also served various desserts. It eventually expanded to a full service restaurant. In 1998, MTJIC moved to its current location on Locust Street, where it has been a neighborhood staple, with its turquoise blue and black and white striped awning, ever since.
Owner Dalton Castano, worked his way up through the MTJIC family. While studying at the University of the Arts, Dalton walked by MTJIC, happened to see that they were hiring ice-cream scoopers, and was hired on the spot. Dalton had no previous restaurant experience (other than working as a dish-washer in his uncle’s restaurant one summer- sounds a lot like Guy Fieri), and was eventually hired as a manager. After a couple of years, Dalton, and friend Rachelle Capistrano-Sorg (who also worked at MTJIC) were offered to take over the restaurant, after then owner Brian Daly, wanted to sell.
MTJIC definitely has their fare share of loyal customers, who keep coming back, and a healthy mix of tourists and other passerby. People like to know that the food they’re getting is the same as it was in 1975, and it is (other than the new additions to the menu and weekly specials).
The shop is definitely known for their ice cream (with a variety of 32 different flavors!) and giant homemade pastries (wait ’til you check out their Mile High Apple Pie). This year on April Fool’s Day, MTJIC hosted an event called “This is Not a Joke!” offering $1 ice cream scoops! This was our first time trying the ice cream here and we tried the Pistachio and Black Cherry scoops. We knew from the creaminess of the ice cream we would surely be back.
Like their name suggests, they offer so much more than just ice cream. We stopped by for brunch (*note this spot is great to BYO!) and definitely recommend checking out their weekly specials. We ordered the Stuffed French Toast and “Whole Shebang”. The “Whole Shebang” was a breakfast sandwich with chicken tenders, bacon, cheddar, fried eggs, and Sriracha maple syrup all piled on top of a Belgian waffle. Holy moly it was huge. We are BIG fans of their fried chicken tenders. These all-white-meat tenders were super juicy (which is sometimes hard to do), and the crust was flaky and crunchy. We drizzled some extra Sriracha on it to give it an added kick, but note the Sriracha maple syrup has a great sweet and slightly spicy flavor.
If the “Whole Shebang” isn’t on special, don’t worry – you can always grab the Chicken and Waffle sliders. It’s basically a simplified version with chicken tenders on waffles covered in Sriracha maple syrup. Again, the tenders are super flavorful, and even if you just get chicken and french fries we highly recommend them.
The other weekly special when we went was Stuffed French Toast. They feature different varieties such as Nutella, cream cheese, walnut, and strawberry coulis version. This is definitely the choice for someone who has more of a sweet tooth than a savory one – we shared it amongst our table so everyone was able to get a bite of the sweet deliciousness.
Maybe you’re a more traditional breakfast person? You can choose from a variety of egg dishes, including a Breakfast Burrito, Eggs Benedict, Breakfast Sandwich, or various Omelets. We opted for the “Eggs in a Nest” which was a delicious concoction of hollandaise over poached eggs, potatoes, and peppers, on a nest of arugula.
Okay okay, maybe you’re a fan of brunch but favor more the lunch side of things? MTJIC has tons of salads, savory starers, and burgers/sandwiches to choose from. Want Nachos? Got it. Fried Mac N’ Cheese? Oh yeah. Buffalo chicken wings? Yup. A Tofu Banh Mi?! Done. Seriously, anything you could think of, MTJIC is serving.
And seriously, did you think we’d forget to show you that Apple Pie we mentioned? Get ready to feast your eyes on a ridiculously huge, perfectly gooey, Mile-High Apple Pie. You thought we were joking when we said Mile-High, didn’t you? Nope. Each pie has over 80 apples, each peeled and sliced by MTJIC staff. Grab your bibs, your sundae spoons, and twenty of your friends, and dig on in.
You never have to worry about going this restaurant and not being able to get what you’re craving – because they seriously have it all. Whether its breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or dessert they’ve got something sure to satisfy everyone in the family. Delivery available via Grub Hub, Eat 24, and Dining In.
-Arielle and Lea
We’d like to thank Dalton Castano for taking the time to sit with us and discuss your restaurant, and for allowing us to sample some of the delicious menu offerings.