Creamy, Dreamy Ice Cream Your Way at Milkster
By RJ Walters
Photos by Jordan Randall
If someone asks you where you can get the freshest ice cream in Lakeland, it’s tough to argue against the spot where you can actually watch fresh ingredients be turned into a customized sundae of flavor explosion right before your eyes.
At Milkster Nitrogen Creamery, located in the Publix plaza along County Line Road, it feels like Willy Wonka teamed up with dairy farmers to create an exciting and delicious experience in a sleek and stylish modern setting.
Lakelanders Joel and Nancy Covitz opened Milkster in October 2022, and they offer endlessly customizable nitrogen ice cream options, as well as specialty coffees and milkshakes.
Some of the local favorite recipes include Cereal Milk—which includes Fruity or Cocoa Pebbles—and Strawberry Cheesecake, while some of the Milkster staples across the chain’s five locations include the Biscoff Voyage for coffee lovers and chocolaty delightful Ferrero Rocher.
Customers can follow a recipe or design their dream creation at the standard rate of 96 cents per ounce.
A few yummy add-ons include waffle cones and syringes of flavored syrup.
“It’s very exciting. The kids are all like, ‘Oh wow, it’s so cool,’” Nancy said about watching first-time guests. “They’ll stand up in the glass and they’ll feel the smoke of the nitrogen.”
Though they are part of a franchise based in Michigan, Nancy and Joel live in Lakeland and make the case they are very much a local small business.
“I think people think that because it’s a franchise, we’re a big business. We are very hometown; from here, associated with the area for 17 years,” Nancy said. “And [people] think, ‘Oh, well you’re a franchise, they supplied everything.’ No, no, no, no, no. Right down to every last spoon, every last cap that goes on the dispenser is all us.”
See the Magic Happen
They are proud parents to three children, including Katie, a Milkster employee who is a rising senior at Santa Fe Catholic High School. Their son AJ just completed his junior year at St. Leo University in Pasco County, and their oldest, 25-year-old Jack, has been traveling as part of Broadway shows “Book of Mormon” and “Waitress” the past two years, but very well might be donning a Milkster uniform for a bit when touring is over.
The creamery is located in a rapidly developing part of Lakeland near the airport that has seen the construction of thousands of single-family homes in the past decade. Joel said it has been interesting to be part of the boom. “Trying to get them to come in and know that we’re here is gonna take a little time. But I think it’s only gonna increase in popularity where we’re at.”
He believes the quality of the product—including the globally renowned La Colombe coffee products, made of beans that are roasted 24-48 hours prior to arriving in Lakeland—and friendly customer service equates to a bright future for the company.
Milkster is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, but the owners shared “if the red balloons are outside” they are open, even if it’s before or after the posted hours.
The Process to Create Your Ice Cream Dream is Simple
- Grab a cup
- Add mix-ins (you can either follow one of Milkster’s recipe cards or go a la carte)
- Fill the cup with one of the ice cream bases (including a coconut and almond milk base for those who are lactose intolerant)
- Watch a team member flash freeze your dessert with liquid nitrogen that is a frosty -321 degrees Fahrenheit
- Add final toppings and add-ons
- Weigh and pay