As a fourth-generation owner of Johnson's Real Ice Cream, Matt Wilcoxon is proud to distribute ice-cream flavors to 200 restaurants, help mastermind flavors with local companies, and avoid being locked in the ice-cream freezer again. Back when he was 12 and cleaning tables, “I was the one [the employees] always picked on,” he recalls. On a particularly creative night, the teenage staff hosed him down and shut him in the freezer. “I find it funny now,” Matt says chuckling.
Despite a trial-by-fire beginning, Matt knew during college that he wanted to run the family business. “We’re kind of Columbus’ original homemade ice cream,” he says, which is the impetus for Johnson’s current project. Matt and other local companies are “developing three new flavors…as a Columbus local collection” to focus on area flavors that Columbus knows and loves.
At the store—still in its original 1950s location—diners snack on classic and innovative flavors such as caramel cream, chocolate marshmallow, and Buckeye fever. An expansive outdoor patio welcomes diners with 50 seats, and bands croon sweet tunes in temperate weather.
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