Clementine’s Creamery Expands to SoHa
Tamara Keefe's second ice cream shop is slated to open in the Southampton neighborhood (SoHa) in June.
By George Mahe
Take a peek at the new location of Clementine's Naughty and Nice Creamery at 4715 Macklind in SoHa (above). We know what you’re thinking because we were thinking the same thing: it’s gonna take a lot of love to pretty that place up.
Not to worry. The flagship location (right) had humble beginnings as well, before owner Tamara Keefe and Frank Uible added wood and wrought iron benches, antique chandeliers, bright white subway tile, and a gallon of high-gloss black enamel. By the time the renovation was complete, the little ice cream shop looked like it had been a fixture in Lafayette Square for years.
Keefe promises a facelift of similar proportions in SoHa (a current restaurant hot spot, according to SLM). The exterior siding will be stripped off, exposing the original brick; the left portion of the building will be removed, exposing a former gangway that will become a pocket patio. Inside, expect the same familiar "naughty" (with alcohol) and "nice” (without alcohol) ice cream flavors and décor that Keefe says will be "unique in the Clementine’s style.“
She brings up a good point, one we’ll twist back around: there’s no question the concept and the product (flavors like Salted Crack Caramel and Bourbon Kentucky Pie) are unique, but Clementine’s—or more accurately Keefe’s—style is unique as well.
We’ve long lauded the importance of marketing and the marketing skills of the owners of several local eateries—Josh Allen (Companion), Arlene Browne (Robust), Gerard Craft’s (the rollout of Porano was stellar), Joy Grdnic (Fountain on Locust), John Johnson (Broadway Oyster Bar /Grafton Oyster Bar), Mike Johnson (Sugarfire Smoke House), Bernie Lee (Hiro Asian Kitchen), Katie Lee (Katie's Pizza & Pasta), Corey Smale (Strange Donuts), to name a few—and Keefe (right) is high on that list. In all the above cases, promotions and collaborations are creative and constant. And social media isn’t just an option, it’s a given. Keefe even goes so far as to say that forums like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram drive some of Clementines' promotions.
Take, for example, last month's Valentine's Day promotion on Instagram: Visitors were encouraged to pucker up at Clementine's Naughty or Nice Kissing Booth and tag the picture #PuckerForAPint for a chance to win ice cream for a year.
Then there was Keefe’s recent collaboration with Seoul Taco's David Choi that resulted in two new flavors—Kimchi (nice) and Soju Melon (naughty). Choi was so impressed he agreed to display and sell Clementine's in all his stores (including the new one in Columbia, Mo).
Or this week's gem: The musical group Pink Martini is a long time favorite of Keefe’s and is playing The Sheldon on Monday, March 21. It just so happens the group recorded a song called Clementine (about following your dreams, no less, which Keefe did) and reached out to see if she’d be interested in a collaboration.
It’s commonplace for customers to ask for samples at Clementine's—and Keefe obliges, using little silver spoons. From now until Saturday, there will be a golden tasting spoon tossed into the mix, one spoon per day. The recipients receive a signed Pink Martini CD of choice, a signed poster, two tickets to the show...and free Clementine’s ice cream for a year. There’s even a video component to mark the occasion (viewable on Facebook and below). We would have expected no less...