If you live in a medium- to large-sized metropolitan area, the odds are if you blinked, you'd miss the opening of another Cold Stone Creamery. Quite a few of these outlets have opened in Washington in the past few years -- one on U Street, the other in Cleveland Park. But I honestly can't get excited about it. It simply isn't good ice cream.
Cold Stone's marketing niche has been to introduce the notion of mashing Reese's pieces, M&M's and other morsels of candy into ice cream. This may explain the texture of Cold Stone's ice cream, which just isn't right. Ice cream shouldn't be chewy, but Cold Stone's is. And that smell that is in the air whenever you walk into a Cold Stone outlet is so artificial.
If you want candy, eat candy. If you want ice cream, eat ice cream. With the possible exception of pepermint-stick ice cream, I think combining the two is overrated.
Ben and Jerry's may not be God's gift to ice cream, but I think it's better than Cold Stone. But here's the real question: Why would anyone in Washington buy ice cream at a Cold Stone Creamery when they could buy amazing ice cream here?