“I like how you can get different flavors; it’s not just like very normal, basic flavors,” said Isabel Khoury, a vivacious fourth grader enjoying another summer stop with her grandma at Rhino’s. Those abnormal, more than basic flavors? “Today I got cookie monster (on the bluish side), and then I put in white chocolate mousse. It’s ice cream, not yogurt,” she clarified, making certain we understood her choices.

A cup of my Valencia orange sorbet, with Butterfinger crunch and a cherry on top, all kosher

There are more attractions, according to Isabel: “I like it because it’s very soft and kind of cold and on a hot day, it’s really refreshing. I get the ice cream, mostly. But a lot of times all of it mixes together — yogurt, ice cream and sorbet. And tons of stuff on top (Grandma agreed with a nod). I come here every month or so, mostly with my parents.”

A cup of cherry sorbet topped with sprinkles

But on this lazy August afternoon, Grandma Mydonna Herron brought Isabel to Rhino’s, where she too is a regular. “I have three granddaughters and a lot of times I bring them. Sometimes I come here with our church group. After we’ve been working or doing something, we’ll come here. Been doing it for years, haven’t we?” she posited to Isabel, who gave an enthusiastic head bob of her own, along with a “yes!” 

A shot of some of the add-in trays

Grandma Herron is a lover of chocolate. “Chocolate, anything chocolate. I get all the chocolates. That’s what I do — mix them all, and then I put chocolate on top. I put Reese’s™ peanut butter cup on it (this time) and I always put a cherry on it,” she said. On this day, the dispensers inside featured triple chocolate, along with old-fashioned peanut butter, and the combo twist was old-fashioned peanut butter cup, or said another way, the peanut butter ice cream mixed with the chocolate to the third power. In addition, among the add-ons, Jewish patrons will find miniature Reese’s peanut butter cup treats to sprinkle on top of their selections, as Grandma Herron did.

A shot of one of five dispensing stations

Again, as realized on other visits to Rhino’s, cups and not cones were the patrons’ choice. “Sometimes I get cones, but Grandma always gets a cup,” said Isabel. “My dad gets a cone, but cups are better because they hold more, and the stuff doesn’t fall out.” Beside cups, there are the spoons. “The spoons change colors when you put them in the ice cream. That’s really fun,” she said. Isabel also orchestrates the spoon that her grandma gets, knowing from past experience which room-temperature spoon turns which color when dipped in a cold confection. “Hers turns orange!” Isabel said.

Rhino’s primarily is a summertime destination for Grandma Herron and her granddaughters. “(We come during) summer mostly, but in the fall too, as long as it’s not too cold to sit out here (at the picnic-style table-and-bench seating provided). Usually, spring, summer, and fall — as long as the weather is good,” she stated.

As for my choice, it was the Valencia orange sorbet, which Rob Miller, owner/operator of the Shell gas station that houses Rhino’s, has called “the coldest thing on the planet.” Sorbets that are dispensed at Rhino’s may fall short of the coldest thing on the planet, but the sorbet we enjoyed was brain-freeze chilly for sure. Even with the deep-freeze feel of each spoonful, this sorbet is packed with flavor — very orange, very good. Our cupful was made even more tasty by the addition of kosher Butterfingers™ crunch. The crunch is kept chilled in the dispensing area, and by the time I spooned up the confection, the chips of Butterfinger seemed frozen by the sorbet. Generally, my inclination is to carefully scan the add-ons and to pick just one that seems to fit my choice of ice cream, yogurt, or sorbet. That said, hard to pass up a kosher cherry on top, thus completing my treat during my visit to Rhino’s. 

For the Jewish community, Rhino’s is a near perfect destination for these warm-weather treats. All the soft-serve yogurt, ice cream, gelato, and sorbet are kosher. Also, many of the hundred or so add-ins are kosher as well. All the kosher add-in items are clearly indicated on the protective shield over the dispensing bins. And there are dozens of kosher options for kids of all ages.

See you at Rhino’s Frozen Yogurt & Soft Serve!