By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer
(Sept. 7, 2023) You can’t get more local for Ocean Pines residents than Popce’s Ice Cream.
Bob Miller makes all his ice cream on site, with many local and all natural ingredients and coloring.
Miller had been a recreational ice cream maker and baker for about six years.
“I’ve always enjoyed baking cakes, it’s been kind of a hobby,” Miller said.
His previous job was as chief operating officer at Coastal Hospice, but he left that and now ice cream is his early retirement job.
Miller loves making, talking about, and serving ice cream. He makes his ice cream in small batches, six quarts at a time, in the back half of his shop in Manklin Creek Shopping Center. He can dive deep into the details of making ice cream.
“Some customers might think I’m a little freakish, when I talk about it,” Miller said. “I’m fascinated with recipes and how ingredients come together.”
Just like baking, ice cream making is very precise, especially when you want consistency. He loves serving ice cream to people young and old because he appreciates their responses to the different flavors.
All his ice cream is very fresh.
“The ice cream I am selling was made within the past week or two,” he said.
Miller offers about 30 flavors, including Italian ices and non-dairy options. He also makes his own waffle cones on site.
He recently offered a Honey Lavender flavor, which was a big hit. The creaminess along with the honey is unique and surprisingly delicious. Everyone should try it.
The Rocky Road is true Rocky Road, with walnuts and soft little marshmallows that keep their texture and flavor buried in the chocolate ice cream.
The Fig Vanilla has fresh figs grown by Pastor Daryl McCready of Sonrise Church in Berlin.
The non-dairy flavors are just as good as the dairy. Each flavor has a coconut base. The Blueberry is packed full of delicious fresh blueberries. He tries to get fruit from local vendors whenever possible and freezes a lot so he can have local ingredients all year.
He said once people try his non-dairy flavors, they like them as much as the dairy.
Italian Ice such as the Pines Punch is refreshing with five different fruits.
He is making his fall selection of ice creams now, including Pumpkin Pie, Apple Raisin, Cinnamon Bun and Snicker Doodle.
He will also feature holiday ice creams in a few months, including Eggnog and Gingerbread. He plans to have sherbet flavors that will be perfect for holiday punches.
He will keep the shop open all year long. At some point, he would like to open additional shops in West Ocean City and Ocean City, but will keep the uniqueness of the small batch mentality for all his stores.
He also hopes to partner with local restaurants who might want a signature ice cream.
The shop name is taken from the nicknames his grandkids call him and his wife, Celeste. They call him Poppy and her Cece. So when it was time to pick a name for the shop, Popce’s seemed like a natural choice.
As a grandfather, he makes the business family friendly. He has cornhole games, chalk drawing and sundae contests. His recent winner of the sundae contest was such a hit that he has made it a staple of his sundae offerings. It’s called the Silly Monkey and it’s made with Banana and Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream, hot fudge, peanut butter topping, whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.
He offers a Barbie Sundae, made with homemade Cotton Candy ice cream, marshmallow topping, pink glitter sparkles and whipped cream. It comes with a crown.
For those who need an afternoon pick-me-up, he serves Rise Coffee. His iced coffee comes with frozen coffee ice cubes, so it does not get watered down when they melt. Or try the Affogato, a scoop of ice cream, in Rise Up Espresso. He also serves a coffee shake.
Customers will be able to sign up for his Quart Club soon, where you can get a quart of ice cream for a special price.