‘Poppin’ on the Bricks’ hitting the sweet spot
McCOOK, Neb. — Taryn and Joel Arterburn have taken the classic American snack up a notch with their new “Poppin’ on the Bricks” popcorn store in downtown McCook.
Offering premium popcorn in a wild assortment of flavors and gift baskets, it’s the family-owned business of the Arterburn’s, along with a little help from their three kids.
“I’ve always wanted a popcorn shop and when we found out about this spot being available, it’s either we do it now or never,” said Taryn. “And you can’t beat the location.” At 224 Norris, the store is right in the middle of downtown and might seem like deja vu to some, as the location is the former site of Vic’s Corn Poppers in the 1980s.
The popcorn is popped fresh at the store, using a huge popper, a tumbler to mix flavors and a caramelizer. Corn for the popcorn is from North Loup, Neb., and sunflower oil is used so it’s a little lighter and healthier, Taryn said.
But this isn’t your grandmother’s popcorn. They offer a wide array of flavors new and old, like dill pickle, sour cream and onion and ranch, along with all-time favorites like caramel, white cheddar and cinnamon, plus specialty popcorn made in the school colors for McCook Bison, St. Pat’s (Go Knights), and McCook Community College. This will expand to area schools as well, Taryn said.
Then there’s the gourmet popcorn, like strawberry flavored popcorn drizzled with chocolate, the rainbow colored “Unicorn” popcorn, the blue “Me Want Cookie” Cookie Monster popcorn with cookie chunks and candy “eyes”, birthday cake popcorn, peanut butter and chocolate popcorn and other combinations.
For special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, festive popcorn boxes are available with choice of flavored popcorn and candy, plus balloons. These are also available for holidays like St. Pat’s Day and Halloween.
In the future, they plan to offer “popcorn bars” for bigger events like weddings. A new flavor will be introduced each month and specials will be posted on their Facebook page. Popcorn is available in two gallon buckets and soon, in five to six gallon buckets, as well as oversized bags for larger events.
The popcorn must be hitting a sweet spot, as the Arterburn’s sold out at their soft opening on Feb. 12.
For now, they are still trying out new flavors, although their taste buds are getting a little wore out. The night before the soft opening, they spent hours popping popcorn and taste testing each batch, so by the end of the night, “we had tasted so many, we couldn’t tell what anything tasted like,” Taryn said.