Malibu Moo’s Dazzling Array

The average frozen custard shop will have two or three standard flavors and one flavor of the day,” says Malibu Moo’s founder Sherrie Morrissey. “If those don’t appeal to a customer passing by, they might skip custard that day.”

Located in downtown Fish Creek, Malibu Moo’s Frozen Griddle had been providing almost unlimited flavor choices to Door County visitors and residents since 2002, when Morrissey started the business in a little log cabin on Highway 42 just south of town. For Morrissey, it’s all about being able to cater to customer’s individual tastes:  “The biggest thing is the choices.”

Len Villano, Julia Spellman

Employee Julia Spellman shaves Hawaiian ice.

Malibu Moo’s starts with a dazzling array of 21 different flavors of frozen custard, from basics like vanilla, chocolate and butter pecan, to more exotic tastes such as blueberry, pomegranate and piña colada, to more adult tastes like Irish cream, amaretto, rum and coffee. Malibu Moo’s makes their high quality custard fresh throughout the day, so that it will never be confused with any other custard, ice cream or soft serve.

Patrons then have their choices from among 30 different toppings blended into their chosen custard flavor on a slab of frozen marble called the “Frozen Griddle” to create thousands of different combinations. “And trust me – they do,” says Morrissey.

Asked about the strangest combination she has ever put together by request of a customer and Morrissey doesn’t hesitate:  “Half gallon of vanilla custard with something of each and every single mix-in, over 30 things. It looked awful, an explosion of color and texture, but the customer was happy. They grabbed spoons, went out to the patio and about eight of them devoured every bite.”

On occasion, customers have created combinations that have surprised Morrissey. “Once, a customer wanted a blueberry and pineapple mixture. It sounded terrible, but we tried it after he left and it is absolutely one of the best combos there is!” she says.

Len Villano, Adding flavors to Hawaiian ice.

Employee Jasmine Haslep adds flavors to Hawaiian ice.

Morrissey added Hawaiian shave ice to Malibu Moo’s menu in 2005, “mostly,” she said, “because it’s one of my favorite things to eat! We vacation in Hawaii and schedule our hiking and other activities around when the shave ice shack was going to be open. No one else does it here. It’s taken a few years to perfect it, as the ice has to be just right, but it’s been a great addition.” To make Hawaiian shave ice, solid blocks of ice are shaved ultra thin to an almost snow-like consistency and scooped into a cup with custard on the bottom, flavored with syrup and a splash of cream on the top.

Vienna Beef Chicago-style Hot Dogs and Johnsonville Brats were added to Malibu Moo’s menu in 2009, served from an authentic hot dog cart right out front. With surrounding stone patios and a side deck that provides outdoor seating for 28, Morrissey can claim to feature the only truly waterside “dining” in Fish Creek.

While the 2012 season won’t bring any changes to the Malibu Moo’s menu, there will be something different:  Mary Graff is the new owner of Malibu Moo’s as of May 2012. Graff, a Wisconsin native living in California with her golf pro husband, said that she was looking for a seasonal business that

Len Villano, The frozen griddle

The frozen griddle

could support a lifestyle of six months in California and six months in Fish Creek. A niece who owns a local restaurant heard that Malibu Moo’s was available. Graff met with Morrissey on a trip to Wisconsin and three hours later, “I realized that this was more of an interview to see if I was the kind of person she would be willing to sell to.”

Graff is excited to take on the new challenge. “I have some big shoes to fill,” she says. “It’s been a lot more to learn than I thought.” Graff will have the advantage of inheriting an experienced staff of young local women. Five of six longtime Malibu Moo’s employees will be returning for the 2012 season. Morrissey suspects that returning customers come in to visit with the staff as much as to eat. The only past employee who isn’t returning has a fairly good excuse:  she will be spending the summer in Madison, taking pre-med courses.

Len Villano, Mixing toppings into fresh custard

Mixing toppings into fresh custard on the frozen griddle.

Morrissey will help and train Graff and then step away, knowing that she has left the business she started 10 years ago in the good hands of its new owner and faithful staff.

Toppings Galore

The topping choices at Malibu Moo’s boggle the mind! They include candy bars (M&M, Oreo, Heath, Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup), fruit (coconut, strawberries, Door County cherries, bananas, raspberries, pineapple), nuts (pecans, cashews, almonds, peanuts, walnuts or macadamia) and an assortment of other treats (brownie, cookie dough, marshmallows, chocolate chips, cookies, graham crackers, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate flakes, granola, pralines and…pop rocks).

Morrissey touts the freshness of her products along with many traditional and non-traditional options. “Our cherries are from Lautenbach’s Orchard Country,” she says. “We also stock sugar-free ice cream for Malibu’s non-sugar friends.”

Hawaiian Shave Ice

Len Villano, Topping options

Topping options

Hawaiian shave ice syrup flavors include a cornucopia of fruit flavors from the common (cherry, grape, peach, lime, lemon, blue raspberry, red raspberry, pink lemonade, strawberry, watermelon, orange), to the tropical (banana, coconut, mango, pineapple, tiger’s blood, piña colada, guava, passion fruit, lychee, tamarind), to a couple of surprises, like red velvet cake and fuzzy navel.

Favorite Combinations

For those who might be overwhelmed by having to choose from hundreds of flavor combinations, there are always Malibu’s Favorite Combinations, which Morrissey cites as a popular option. The Favorite Combinations provide guidance so the customer doesn’t have to make a choice.

Among the tempting offerings are Girl Scout Thin Mint (chocolate custard, mint and Oreo cookies); Peninsula Park S’mores (chocolate custard, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate chips); the Malibu Island (mango custard, coconut, pineapple and strawberries); Malibu’s LifeSavers, which honors the US Coast Guard (blue moon custard, coconut, Oreos and Lifesavers Gummies);

Len Villano

Customers enjoy their creations.

Death by Chocolate (chocolate custard, brownies, chocolate chips and Oreos); and Tiramisu (rum and coffee custards, pound cake, chocolate flakes and cocoa).

Specialty Sundaes

Malibu Moo’s menu also features Specialty Sundaes, including the Orchard Fruit Parfait (20 ounces of vanilla custard, layered with fruit and granola); a sundae paying homage to the traditional Door County Fish Boil (vanilla or chocolate custard, pretzel fish, chocolate flakes and peanut butter topping); the Gone Fishing (vanilla or chocolate custard, Oreos, hot fudge and gummy worms); and the intriguing Oilerie Strawberry Smooch, with vanilla custard and strawberries, topped with cherry balsamic vinegar from The Oilerie in Fish Creek.

Photography by Len Villano.

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