Simons says Dip This is the newest treat in downtown Durham
Durham is home to a few ice cream must-haves that all local students and Duke know and love, including Pincho Loco, a short walk from the east campus, and The Parlor, located in the heart of downtown Durham.
These staples are tried and tested; however, if you’re looking for something new to satisfy your sweet tooth this fall, Simons Says Dip This certainly has you covered. The concept alone is exciting; your basic ice cream cone is coated with a Belgian chocolate dip to taste of your choice, then coated with as many toppings as you want. With 24 dip flavors and endless topping choices, you could go back a hundred times and have even more to try.
Co-owners Audrey Simons and her husband Nathan grew up with soaked ice cream cones as children. Simons explained that this was part of the inspiration behind Simons Says Dip This.
“My husband and I grew up with dipping cones at Dairy Queen. I really like the caramel dip and he likes the cherry. It wasn’t always easy to find a place that would offer these three flavors… it was usually just chocolate, ”said Simons. “It was a real treat when you found the ones with the flavor you like.”
The idea of the dip cones resurfaced for the couple a few years ago as they mulled over the next steps in Nathan’s career, but it remained just an idea.
“[Nathan] has always been about food, so when I said, “It wouldn’t be cool if we could make dip cones in any flavor like peanut butter or coconut or flavors fun? “We didn’t really take it seriously, it was just a silly idea,” Simons said.
The true vision for the company, however, began to materialize after Audrey and Nathan spent a few years overseas in Europe.
“I lived in Germany for a few years, he lived in Italy for a few years, and they have nut spreads like [Nutella] for just about every nut you can think of, ”Simons said. “And they don’t all include chocolate, just the nut, it’s kind of a sweet spread.”
Audrey and Nathan were particularly interested in these nut spreads, and they started making them themselves and giving them to people to try.
“We bought the equipment, we started testing a few recipes, and of course we would then give our friends and family a taste and then they passed it on to their friends,” Simons said. “Finally, they were like, ‘You could turn that into a business. You really have something here.
What might have been just a fun hobby turned into a real business idea in 2017 thanks to the positive feedback from loved ones about their designs. First off, they called themselves Simons Says Spread This, selling their European-style nut butters around the Triangle.
This company brought up the idea of dip cones again after experimenting with ice cream and their nut butter spreads.
“‘You know that idea we had for dip cones years ago, do you think maybe we were on to something there?” »», Remembers Simons having said to her husband. “At that point, he had had enough of the food scene, so we started to take this cone idea more seriously.”
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So, after many years of floating the idea and taking it in different directions, the dream of the plunging cone began to become a reality. However, starting a new business takes time and it lasted even further when the pandemic struck.
“It took a while, especially with the delay of 2020, everything was put on hold,” Simons said. “But I think it all worked out to our advantage because we opened at a time when everyone is ready to go out, the mask mandate is gone, the social distancing mandate is gone, businesses can be open to a hundred. percent of their capacity. It was the right time.
The pandemic has been a huge challenge for small businesses across the country, but luckily Simons Says Dip came into the picture in May 2021, when North Carolinians were eager to get out and pandemic restrictions were lifted.
Even though there was still some unease for businesses as people slowly began to return to restaurants, Audrey and Nathan were particularly optimistic in opening their store in Durham due to the tremendous support that local businesses tend to receive. from the community of Durham.
“We’ve both been working at M Sushi for a few years and love the Durham food scene,” said Simons. “We know the locals here really support local businesses. “
And there has certainly been a wave of support and enthusiasm from the community this summer – the line can sometimes stretch from the door to the street. Everyone is happy to wait for the opportunity to customize their own cone.
With the wide array of flavors and toppings, however, Simons mentioned that some people may feel a bit inundated with choices.
“Every once in a while you will have people who see all the choices and will be overwhelmed and not sure which way to go. Are you more chocolatey, are you more fruity, are you somewhere in between? And then I’ll find a combination for them.
One of the best things about Simons Says Dip is that there is bound to be a treat for everyone. Not only are there endless possibilities for soaked cones, but they also make cookie sandwiches and sell freeze dried candy.
“We love the idea. Nathan knew he was going to buy a freeze dryer for the fruit, so I was like, ‘Why don’t we make candy too? I think that would be fun. So we just experimented with different candies, and the Jolly Ranchers and Skittles are probably the most popular we sell.
Over the next few years the couple hope to open at least one more location in the Triangle, but luckily for Duke students and Durham residents, Simons Says Dip is located in Durham city center, just across the street from the ‘Unscripted hotel.
So your sweet tooth shouldn’t be scared this semester, with another addition to the list of sweet treats to find in Durham.