When new Oak Cliff ice cream shop opens on Sunday, owner Aaron Barker hopes the quirky shop will taste and feel like a real-life version of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

"This is my dream come true," Barker says. He currently operates a teeny 100-square-foot kiosk at Truck Yard near Greenville Avenue in Dallas, which will remain open. 

Owner Aaron Barker hopes ice cream can become the next pizza, in terms of popularity. l

Owner Aaron Barker hopes ice cream can become the next pizza, in terms of popularity. l

facebook.com/carnivalbarkers

The new shop in Jefferson Tower in Oak Cliff will be his company headquarters, retail shop and commercial kitchen. It's only 500 square feet, but it's big enough to make homemade vanilla extract, churn up several flavors of ice cream and hold Barker's quirky action figure collection.

Barker has big ideas for the space he calls Carnival Barker's Ice Cream Factory: He plans to scoop ice cream 24 hours a day, as a performance art piece, beginning on Tuesday, June 2. (He'll actually be there 23/7 because he has to "go home every day to feed my cats and take a shower" for one hour.  But someone will be manning the shop in that hour that he's gone.) Barker even bought a cot specifically for opening week so he can snooze during slow hours. 

But why? Barker explains the round-the-clock hours his first week as "a good faith gesture to Oak Cliff to show them I'm going to be there for them as much as they're going to be there for me." 

The shop has a sliding window where patrons can order ice cream or peer in from outside and watch Barker work. He will eventually set up patio tables and chairs so customers can enjoy their cold desserts in front of the shop.

Carnival Barker's will serve several rotating flavors of ice cream, including The Munchies: peanut butter ice cream speckled with chocolate-covered potato chips. He'll also sell rice crispy ice cream sandwiches, among other dessert novelties.

Eventually, the owner hopes to sell Frito pies and local hot dogs from Dallas chef Brian Luscher.

In Barker's perfect future, small-batch ice cream becomes the next "thing" in Dallas. "We're trying to elevate ice cream culture to another level. Just remember that," he says.

"People love pizza," he explains. "I want ice cream to be the next pizza."

345 W. Jefferson Blvd., Dallas. Open for limited hours on May 31. Open 24 hours a day June 2-8. More regular hours resume June 10. facebook.com/carnivalbarkers.

Owner Aaron Barker calls the new Carnival Barker's shop his "dream come true."

Owner Aaron Barker calls the new Carnival Barker's shop his "dream come true."

Sarah Blaskovich
What's Happening on GuideLive