Whit’s Custard at the Beaches


Those seeking a new adventure in the sweet and cold might want to check out Whit’s Frozen Custard, with locations in Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach. While they are an out-state-chain, there’s not much in the area as far as premium frozen custard is concerned. (A google search reveals Rita’s, but many of their custards are ice cream custard mixes). Frozen custard is lower in fat and richer tasting than regular ice cream. This feat is achieved by the miracle of egg yolks added to the mix and a higher density than ice cream because less air is whipped in.

Michael and Jessica McKinley were the first to take Whit’s Custard out of the state where it was born–Ohio. They hail from the Midwest and are longtime custard-lovers. Missing their favorite confection in 2010 when they moved to Jacksonville, they hatched a plan to open a premium frozen custard store in Atlantic Beach. Since Whit’s was their favorite, and because the original owners were family friends, it was the inevitable choice for them.

Jessica says that they found Atlantic Beach to be “a very embracing community,” with soon-to-be-neighbors visiting them to check on their progress during their build out. Buzz built before their opening in May 2014, and with the Atlantic Beach locale a success, they opened a second storefront in Jacksonville Beach in April 2015.

Those that hunger from something less sweet, or want something before they get dessert, will find a small menu of Nathan’s hotdogs, and something they call a walking taco which amounts to everything you’d find on a taco, in a bag with Fritos or Doritos. Check out their Facebook for their flavor of the day which they rotate depending on popularity. Sea Salt Caramel is often seen as a selection because people have fallen in love with the flavor. They also have a freezer for take-home custards. This is helpful when a flavor has fanatical devotees, as in the Key Lime Pie, but doesn’t do enough volume business to keep it a frequent flavor of the day, which are made daily. The take-home case also features some lovely frozen custard cakes, a richer alternative to ice cream cakes.

Besides the flavor of the day, they also have the standard chocolate and vanilla, but if the flavor of the day doesn’t appeal, and you want to do something a bit fancy, opt for a Whitser, which is mixed there on the spot. Flavors include–Beach Madness: Reese’s Cup®, Chocolate Syrup, and Peanut Butter, Caramel Apple: Hot Caramel and Apple Topping, Cool Coffee: Mocha and Irish Cream, Sea Turtle: Hot Fudge, Hot Caramel, and Pecans, Grasshopper: Soft Chocolate Flakes and Mint, and other choices.

Even though it is a chain, it’s very much a family affair, with the locations being run by the husband and wife team, and by the husband’s brother. They strive to strengthen ties in the community, with donations to local schools, charities and support of local athletics. Says Jessica McKinley, “We believe that by supporting the community, they will support us, too!” Find Whit’s Frozen Custard at 8 Ocean Blvd. Atlantic Beach (904)853-5384 & 1232 Beach Blvd. (904)595-5891.


About Erin Thursby