Story

"It's Heavenly" Describes a Special Place in Seaside

September 17, 2014 by Manny Chavez

The words emote a multitude of sensorial delights - "It’s Heavenly”…

Fitting words indeed to describe customer reactions both entering and exiting the ice cream/coffee shop, It’s Heavenly, located in the heart of Seaside, Florida.

Back in 1998, Bill and Heavenly Dawson along with Seaside founder Robert Davis, decided that Seaside should have another ice cream store. At the time, Dawson’s Yogurt & Fudge Works, a Seaside fixture owned and operated by Bill and Heavenly since 1988, “had lines to the counter that were just too long,” explains Bill.
 

 

“Heavenly and I wanted our new ice cream store to be different from Dawson’s Yogurt, so we created our “Heavenly Concept”, making it a gelateria/ice cream store or “Italian ice cream gelato meets the American ice cream.”

Offering over 32 flavors of gelato (G.S. Gelato) and sorbet and 8 flavors of American ice cream (Bluebell), the staff at It’s Heavenly can create custom ice cream desserts, hand-folded on their Frost Top with a wide assortment of toppings.
 

 

“We like to educate our customers by encouraging them to taste the various gelato and sorbet flavors…they always experience something new and flavorful,” says Bill. “In terms of American ice cream, people tend to be ‘chocolate’ people or ‘vanilla’ people, but gelato flavors are more intense, creamier, and we like to see people’s reactions to these new-found taste sensations.” Ice cream, gelato, and sorbet items are available in a cup, waffle, or cake cone.

It’s Heavenly is now offering a full coffee program featuring Lavazza Italian coffee. This Italian coffee is well-suited for the iced coffee, late, espresso, and cappuccino offerings. Cookies, brownies, and shortcakes are now baked daily on site with Dawson’s special recipes. Also available are bottled drinks, milk shakes, banana splits, hot fudge sundaes, and custom-made ice cream sandwiches.
 

 

 

It’s Heavenly underwent a major renovation in February of this year. The exterior expansion opened a canopied porch with ample room for tables and seating.

“Even on hot summer days, the openness of the new covered porch allows for a nice breezy spot to enjoy your Heavenly delight while doing some serious people watching,” says Bill. Also, taking a cue from the Italian gelateria’s he has visited, the front entrance is now comprised of 4 large folding doors that are always kept open. “We keep them open to welcome people in…closed doors just don’t cut it,” explains Bill. “When we’re open, we are “OPEN”, he emphasizes.

On the inside, the renovation was quite extensive and included replacing flooring, lighting, refrigerator systems, coffee machines….pretty much starting all over again, resulting in an all-new look and feel.
Quite prideful of her namesake, Heavenly Dawson just laughs when asked how they came up with the name for their business, “It’s Heavenly.”

“We tossed around a few names and were originally going to call it ‘Shortcakes’. Then it was ‘Heavenly Shortcakes’. We kept focusing on the idea of ‘the heavenly experience’ and finally settled on ‘It’s Heavenly’. Besides, calling it ‘It’s Bill’ just doesn’t roll off the tongue now does it?” says Heavenly with a laugh.

It’s Heavenly is located centrally at Seaside (63 Central Square), just off Central Square before Ruskin Place. Look for the enormous ice cream cone anchored outside the open front doors. Hours of operation are 9-9 M-Th.; 9-10, F & S; and 9-9, Sunday. Phone: 231-2029.
 

 

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Manny Chavez

Manny and his wife Kris moved to the Emerald Coast in 1992. After 16 years as staff photographer for The Houston Post, Manny has successfully transitioned to creative weddings and beach portraits.

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