Aryn Sanderson

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I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.

San Luis Obispo just got a whole lot louder.

That’s because the Doc is in … Doc Burnstein’s, that is.

The third Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab location opens to the public on Jan. 24 at 5 p.m. On Wednesday night, though, along with shareholders and other members of the press, Mustang News got the inside “scoop” with a behind-the-scenes look at the new location.

A departure from its more “old-school” flagship parlor in the Village of Arroyo Grande, the downtown San Luis Obispo location has a futuristic, whimsical feel. A small, button-powered “choo-choo” train chugs laps around the store’s peripheral. It’s a sugared-up amusement park atmosphere, complete with ceiling-to-floor paintings of ice cream tubs. Young children in attendance even asked if the walls were flavored.

But despite bearing resemblance to Willy Wonka’s factory, it’s not, and so the walls (unfortunately) are inedible. Still, with 32 original, San Luis Obispo-made flavors in stock, no one stayed hungry for long.

Fan favorite flavors such as birthday cake, sea salt caramel and motor oil will be staples at the San Luis Obispo store. And, in an effort to cater to the Cal Poly crowd, the location will be bringing out the Guiness beer flavor more often than just St. Party’s (erm, St. Patty’s) Day.

If that isn’t reason enough to celebrate, the first 100 customers at the grand opening will get golden tickets good for a sundae each month for a year.

Really, though, the true stars of Doc Burnstein’s are its Central Coast supporters.

Doc Burnstein’s expansion into San Luis Obispo is funded by a public stock offering; approximately 340 shareholders bought in at $50 a share, making it a community-owned business.

Many shareholders attended the sneak-peek night, but the “pint”-sized ones stole the show. The public stock offering encouraged many Central Coast families to invest in the store and teach their young children about business ownership.

“We thought it would be great to bring the kids into a local business and also to really invest in the community,” said Thomas Stieger, who purchased stock for his young sons, Zachary and Nickolas.

And while shareholders Zachary and Nickolas made it into Wednesday’s exclusive event, most will have to wait until Friday to get their doctor’s dose of ice cream.

“Everyone’s been trying to get in and get a sneak peek of the new location, but it opens Friday, and we’re hoping for a line down the street,” said James Simonaro, supervisor at the new location.

The new store is at 860 Higuera St., the former location of Cold Stone Creamery.

It is “just a stone’s throw away from the heart of downtown,” founder Greg Steinberger said.

And this expansion is just the next step on Doc Burnstein’s quest to become “synonymous with ice cream in America,”  Steinberger said.

In the interest of full disclosure, ice cream was eaten — merlot-raspberry truffle, to be exact — and it was … just what the doctor ordered.

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