Utah's latest fast food fad trades burgers and fries for giant, flavored sodas and frosted cookies. At these sugar shacks, patrons order "dirty" sodas doctored up with everything from coconut cream to raspberry puree to fresh mint. The drinks range in size from 16 to 44 ounces and customers can order a sugar cookie on the side.
Swig claims to have launched the concept in St. George, Utah in 2010. Now the company has several outposts and a number of similar shops have popped up across the state with names such as Sodalicious, Fiiz Drinks and The Slurp. The Treasure Valley followed the trend, with places like Soda Stop (formerly Entreat; 2845 E. Overland Road, Meridian), which opened in June. The shop, offers classics like the Dirty—Coke with a double shot of coconut and fresh lime—along with concoctions like the Witch Doctor with Dr. Pepper, huckleberry and vanilla. The company sources its cookies—classic sugar, snickerdoodle, chocolate chip—from Cravings Gourmet Bakery and Cafe in St. George.
"The owners were absentee owners down in Salt Lake, and they were getting ready to actually close the doors," said new owner Kathy Ussery. "We were looking, my husband and I, for a business to purchase, and our broker told us about this."
Since the Usserys bought the business, they've been working to revamp the menu and expand the offerings. They also changed the name from Entreat to the more straight-forward Soda Stop, though the new signs haven't gone up yet. Kathy said they plan to start offering cake pops and cinnamon rolls along with a full menu of savory food in the next few weeks.
"We'll have sandwiches and salads, and we're looking at maybe throwing some grilled cheese into the mix," said Kathy. "We want to be a little bit more of an eating solution than just a drink and a cookie."
At The Fix (11295 W. Ustick Road), a gray kiosk with a double drive through and bright yellow flourishes, the focus is on the cookies. Owner Kirsten Arnold crafts everything from coconut cream to cinnamon roll to chocolate chip cookies from scratch in an adjacent commercial kitchen. It's a secret family recipe passed down to Arnold's business partner, Karissa Beckman, who opened the original Fix location in Draper, Utah.
"She brought me some cookies, and I ate one ... and said, 'Oh my goodness, we need these in Boise.' So we became business partners," said Arnold.
The Fix also offers specialty sodas: The Lorax comes with Mountain Dew, coconut and raspberry puree; the bright green T Rex comes with Sierra Mist, green apple and vanilla cream.
"What's interesting was I thought we were going to get soccer moms who have their kids, but it's hitting everybody. We can't really narrow it down," said Arnold. "We have this little bunch of 9-year-old boys that come on their bikes; it's the cutest thing ever. They come every day and they bring their change and they'll dump it on the counter like, 'How many cookies can this buy me?'"
With the weather cooling off, The Fix is experimenting with warm drinks like flavored hot chocolate and coffee. They also offer frothy steamed or cold milk to complement their cookies.
"The banana milk steamer, people love that one. It kind of tastes like a banana Runt," said Arnold.