The Soda Bar

The Soda Bar is a quaint little craft soda and ice cream shop nestled in “The Fountains”of Murfreesboro, a trendy new destination that is a mix of food/hospitality and retail offerings on the ever-growing Medical Center Parkway.. The Soda Bar puts forth a good effort at this blend of family fun, shopping, and eating. Old school style meets hip new sensibilities in the form of cool treats and sweet eats.

First impression: 

I have been to a few different concepts here, and parking near some of the establishments is very limited. Typically I have to park in the spaces farther out and walk to Burger Republic or The Soda Bar. This time I lucked out and made a space close to my destination. One of the only real issues I have with finding Soda Bar or other places in The Fountains is the lack of prominent signage. It took me a minute to figure out which side of the building to approach from the street. This is symptomatic of the entire complex however and I doubt something any business here has control of. The entrance provides access to Soda Bar on the left, and a gift shop on the right called Homegrown I believe. We were immediately greeted by the staff, who were friendly and attentive. Initial questions were answered with confidence and our family felt welcome. Our chaotic mix of ordering was handled with smiles and laughs.

Atmosphere:

This is very much a family place, and looks like it is targeted at young families and couples. Lots of white decor reminds one of “The Good Humor Man”. Colors are bright, the traffic flow of ordering to seating is very intuitive. Some places you walk into these days, like Zoe’s Kitchen, and its not immediately apparent where you are supposed to go order, etc. If there was music playing, I don’t remember which means it was either very faint or not a genre that stuck with me.

The absence of artifacts, tons of pictures, or other sensory stimuli puts the focus on people interacting with each other in conversation as opposed to applied distraction. A nice change. The craft soda selection reminds one of a craft beer display at places like The Casual Pint. The soda selection was a wall of vibrant color to contrast the largely pink and white decor and drew the eye immediately.

A handy and appreciated concept was having phone chargers in the middle of all the tables. This is a place that understands modern social needs, especially teenagers. 🙂

Service: 

Not much to comment on in an establishment like this. Its not “full service”. You order from a counter, they make it, and you take it to your seat. Friendliness counts, however, for a lot in places like this and even a nutty old hippie like me running around trying to figure out his smart phone was treated with fun and laughs (despite the nutty old hippie’s family rolling their eyes at him). Service was prompt and speedy and I have confidence this is the norm.

 

Food: 

OR in this case, beverage! I had an ice cream float, the first one I have had in decades. I had the Sassy Strawberry, a mix of strawberry ice cream, soda, chocolate, and whip cream. It was very sweet, which was to be expected. The only suggestion I have for one of their ice cream floats (not really a complaint) is that it was just a little…a little…light on the ice cream. One more scoop would have been perfect, as it was more of a beverage than I expected. About 65% soda to 35% ice cream/toppings. Still highly enjoyable.

Other family members got floats as well, with my step daughter ordering an actual ice cream dish. I didn’t get a real chance to sample anyone else’s dish, as they went quick but everyone enjoyed what they got. Not a complaint in the crowd and I’m the tough sell.

There are a lot of things to try on return trips, like the many bottled sodas, the ice cream, and things like edible cookie dough. The Missus asked “Isn’t it always edible?” I love her. 🙂

Cleanliness:

I usually find ice cream shops like Baskins and Robbins to have melted ice cream dripped or smeared in at least one to several places, napkins on the floor, etc. Not so here. The place was clean looking and smelling, and the service area had neatly arranged ingredients and utensils. You can tell a lot about how standards are set in a place by how tidy the area the food is made is, if it is open to view. Soda Bar was neat, orderly, and shining where appropriate.

Final thoughts: 

In the middle of winter, this is a neat place to drop by for a dessert after a meal at one of the other food places in The Fountains or coming to and from any of the major retail shopping places nearby, and there is even a gift shop incorporated into the same area as Soda Bar. In warmer weather this is going to be a must-do place for families bringing their kids to play in the fountains and looking for something cold to break the heat. Work, shop, play, and eat all in the same place is the new trend coming to communities, and The Soda Bar located in “The Fountains” is a good example of the type of business coming to these inclusive family targeted centers.

4 out of 5 peace signs! Dig it!

“Make lunch, not war”!

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My name is Bobby Turman, Jr. I spent over 35 years in the food and hospitality industry doing everything from management, corporate trainer, wedding coordinator, catering, event organizer…well, really just a little bit of everything.

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