If you’ve spent any time walking up or down Thayer this year, then you have most certainly been posed with the question: “What exactly is a cone zone?” For months, Brown pedestrians have asked themselves what the mysterious new “Mediterranean Experience” undergoing construction might be. An ice cream parlor? An Italian themed laser park extravaganza? The possibilities were limitless…Well, last week, all of those questions were answered when Toledo opened its doors. Thayer Street’s newest eatery offers pizza, salad and other delicious snacks all served in a doughy cone. Thats right, the much anticipated “cone zone” is not an ice cream shop but rather a daring new step in culinary indulgence where pastry cones are filled with cheese, meats, vegetables and whatever else you might like to put in a cone.
Varieties include, chicken parmesan, steak-bomb, greek salad, tabouleh and, of course, Mediterranean.
Upon entering Toledo, customers are met with a proudly placed display case showing potentially ambivalent diners just what it is in store for them. After ordering, one of the employees, all of whom are uniformed in a red t-shirt and green Red Sox hat, places a freshly made cone in an awkwardly small oven (think, large microwave). Then the magic happens. After about six minutes, maybe just a little too long, the piping hot cone is unleashed from the fiery oven, wrapped up in tin foil, and given to the excited and hungry customer.
I have enjoyed my trips to Toledo, but I fear that I might have been relying too much on the novelty and experience of the ordeal rather than the actual quality of the product. The food takes a long time to get ready, the staff is embarrassingly untrained, and the cone gets a little too cold as you make your way down to the bottom.
That being said, Toledo is truly an experience, and something that all Brown students should try, at least before Chipotle opens next month. For after Chipotle opens its doors, the Thayer Street landscape is bound to change dramatically.
Too put that in less kind terms, I give Toledo about four weeks of operation before its inevitable “Going Out of Business Four Free Cones” sale.