Getting the Inside Scoop

Fort Wayne News-Sentinal

Come, countrymen, you have 100 varieties of tasty shakes and sundaes to sample

By Kayleen Reusser

If you’re not someone who likes to join clubs, you’ll change your mind with the 100 Club at Ivanhoe’s restaurant in Upland.

Joining is simple: Sign up at the check-out counter of the restaurant, located about 50 miles south of Fort Wayne.

The requirements are slightly more difficult. To be awarded a T-shirt bearing the Ivanhoe’s logo and have your name put on the plaque in the restaurant, you must eat 100 different Ivanhoe’s sundaes or shakes.

This year marks the 40th year Ivanhoe’s has been serving ice cream treats and food in downtown Upland.

Customers thinking of joining the 100 club face a tough assignment. The toughest part, however, may be deciding what shake or sundae flavor to choose first. With names like Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel, Grasshopper, Peach Melba, Cashew Crunch and S’Mores, it can be nearly impossible to narrow the list down to the first five.

Apparently, most people don’t have a problem deciding what to order when they get to Ivanhoe’s ice cream counter. The restaurant sold 7,200 gallons of soft-serve ice cream in 2004, said Mark Souers, who has worked at Ivanhoe’s for more than 17 years and is one of four general managers.

Souers also knows which sundaes and shakes are customer favorites: Mint Chocolate Chip shake and Turtle sundae.

Ivanhoe’s sells the same number of sundaes as shakes, he adds.

Anyone who has ever been to “’Hoe’s,” as the restaurant is affectionately called, can verify it stays busy most hours it is open. Taylor University’s main campus is just down the road, and college students are regulars.

Getting back to the 100 Club, each shake and sundae is assigned a number from 1 to 100. Each membership card has those numbers listed and, each time you buy one, the cashier checks off that number.

The good news is you don’t have to indulge solely in 100 sundaes. You can jump to shakes because Ivanhoe’s makes many of the same flavor combinations in a milkshake or sundae.

To further complicate matters, there are three sizes to choose from: mini, regular and super. At 9 ounces of ice cream, the mini is plenty, especially with the bountiful toppings. The regular size has 16 ounces of ice cream, while the super weighs in at a daunting 32 ounces.

Ivanhoe’s, which has been profiled in Midwest Living and Indianapolis Monthly magazines, got its start when Ivan and Carol Slain bought Wiley’s Drive-In on Main Street in Upland.

The Slains opened a sit-down restaurant — a first for them — and had one year to change the name. The Slains decided on the present name after a high school student who worked there called his employer “Ivanhoe.”

It seems the student was studying knights in school and, upon learning there was a knight named Sir Ivanhoe, he thought his boss deserved the title. The name stuck.

Ivan and Carol Slain continue to work at the restaurant, though they are cutting back their schedules as their son takes over running the restaurant, Souers said.

As for the 100 Club, Souers credits a Taylor University student for the club’s formation in 2001.

“He went through the menu and tried everything on it,” Souers said. “Afterward, we took his picture. He later sent us a plaque and suggested we do a club.”

Since then, 16 names have been written on the plaque. With the way the ice cream tastes, there surely will be more.