The Scoop on Ice Cream at Ja Ja’s Cafe

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For a taste of nostalgia mixed with some fresh sweet cream and local fruit, hop on over to Ja Ja’s Café in West Tennessee.

Ja Ja's CafŽe Ice Cream in West TN

It’s easy to guess that the eatery was once a general store. Built in 1946, it served the Green Frog community for decades. After it closed, the building was moved two miles to its present location at Green Frog Village, a historic attraction just outside of Bells, Tennessee, where it was reborn as Ja Ja’s in 2005.

When Timm Johnson bought the café in 2008, he kept the original antique fixtures that had moved with the building. “I wanted to preserve that bit of local history,” he says. “There are a lot of older folks around here who remember Scammerhorn’s store.”

Johnson wants to emphasize local culture in his food as well, so he makes sure that Ja Ja’s ice cream offers a taste of West Tennessee.

It’s made with fresh cream produced by a neighboring Mennonite community and flavored with local fruit in season – peaches from nearby orchards, strawberries from the fields up the road, and blackberries from the patch right out back.

There are a few more exotic ice cream flavors to choose from as well – spicy chai tea, cotton candy, cookie monster (it’s blue and chock full of cookie crumbles), chocolate raspberry Zinfandel, banana pudding and birthday cake, made with yellow cake mix and colored candy bits. Double your sweet-eating pleasure with a scoop over a fried pie or a hunk of homemade peanut butter fudge.

Deli sandwiches, soups and chili round out the menu. Johnson cooks up the mild chili in five-gallon batches on a gas burner outside, and when it gets to bubbling, outdoor critters are lured to Ja Ja’s by the wonderful aroma wafting over the landscape.

Another specialty is Johnson’s signature “fricken” sandwich. “I just took two of my favorite tastes, fried pickles and grilled chicken, and put them together in a sandwich,” he says. The mix may sound a little strange, but the unique combination is actually quite popular among patrons.

Ja Ja’s coffee is a special blend, too, using beans from Gusta Java, a roaster in nearby Jackson. Gusta Java’s earnings support an orphanage in Nicaragua, so when you order a cup of Ja Ja’s java, you’re helping to make the world a better place.

To brighten your own day, head over to Ja Ja’s for a big scoop of creamy local goodness in a cone. The flavors will melt in your mouth and leave you smiling.


Ja Ja's Ice Cream at Green Frog Village, West Tennessee

The Dish on Ja Ja’s Café

Throughout the year, our team travels the state in search of good food and friendly service. In each issue, we feature one of Tennessee’s best eateries, and in our opinion, the best dishes to try.

Ja Ja’s Café is located on U.S. Highway 412 between Bells and Alamo in Green Frog Village in West Tennessee. They are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. The eatery also offers free WiFi access. For more information, visit or call (731) 663-2800.

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