Tucked away on a street adjacent to Petco Park, CrunchTime is the perfect destination for casual outings in downtown San Diego.
As soon as I walked through CrunchTime’s cluttered entrance, two smiling servers greeted my friend and me with offers of free samples and enthusiastic inquiries about our day. The excellent service, coupled with affordable prices and generous portions, made my experience enjoyable despite the shop’s puzzling state of disorganization.
While CrunchTime’s website advertises a professional, franchise-like establishment, the shop itself is small and messy. A large mound of unidentifiable junk sits at the right of the store, creating a narrow pathway for customers to navigate throughout the store.
True to its name, CrunchTime offers a wide assortment of sprinkled, dipped and flavored waffle cones and bowls, as well as 17 different flavors of ice cream, select frozen yogurts, ice cream sandwiches, cookies, hotdogs and popcorn. However, the steady stream of customers filtering through the shop served as a clear indicator of the most popular item on the menu: ice cream.
Though CrunchTime provides a variety of relatively cheap ice cream in comparison to chain stores like Baskin Robbins, the taste and quality of the ice cream itself is nothing special. The ice cream was soft and sickeningly sweet and offered nothing better than the ice cream found at your average grocery store. Two ample scoops of ice cream cost $4.99 and came in a light, buttery waffle cone that provided some relief from the ice cream’s overwhelming sweetness. The blueberry ice cream tasted like a solid block of ultra-sweet yogurt, while the coffee flavor lacked the inherent complexity of coffee’s rich and bitter flavor. An ice cream sandwich cost $6.75 and was highlighted by the homemade quality of two large cookies that came with the same sugar-laden ice cream.
The shop’s outside patio was characterized by much of the same disarray, as the tiny space was littered with chairs and tables packed too tightly together.
It is more likely CrunchTime’s steady stream of smiling customers had to do with the surrounding beauty of downtown San Diego, its wonderful customer service and reasonable prices than the ice cream itself.