Biden enjoys ice cream at Cone Shoppe

Former Vice President and current Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden smiles for the press standing behind the counter at The Cone Shoppe. Biden ordered a twist ice cream cone while in town between campaign stops. (Photo by Pete Temple)

Rhonda Bachman, co-owner of The Cone Shoppe in Monticello, greets Joe Biden as he enters the restaurant. Biden was in town for a short visit following his campaign speech in Cedar Rapids. (Photo by Kim Brooks)

Biden took time to address and personally visit with the customers inside The Cone Shoppe during his afternoon stop. There were roughly 20 members of the press and media present as well. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

The Cone Shoppe in Monticello was the place to be on Tuesday afternoon, April 30 when former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden stopped by. 

Following his campaign stop in Cedar Rapids at noon, and on his way to a rally in Dubuque that evening, Biden swung through Monticello to order an ice cream cone and talk to local folks. 

He took a few questions from the 20-plus crewmembers of national press and media concerning trade and the government crisis in Venezuela. After prodding for comments from Biden, the media was ushered out as Biden visited with those present at The Cone Shoppe. 

Co-owner Rhonda Bachman greeted Biden as he entered the establishment. 

While his stop wasn’t definite until that day, Bachman shared some background into the whole story… 

A week before Biden’s visit, a few people on his campaign stopped by The Cone Shoppe, though at the time, Bachman had no clue who they were. 

“They knocked on the window,” she said of the after-hours visitors. 

Melissa Motley, an employee at The Cone Shoppe, was there when the guests stopped by, and also served Biden his twist ice cream cone. 

Bachman said after giving the guys their ice cream, she asked where they were from, noting their suit and tie attire. 

“They said they were with the Democratic Party and said Biden was going to be in the area next week,” she recalled. 

It seems the guys were tasked with finding a stop between Cedar Rapids and Dubuque. 

“I didn’t think anything of it,” said Bachman. 

Then, on Sunday afternoon, April 28, the same crew returned. 

“They said they enjoyed their ice cream so much, they returned for more,” Bachman said. 

On Tuesday morning, Bachman was up getting ready for her day (which was supposed to be her day caught a bit of the local news announcing Biden’s pending visit that day. That’s when Bachman started putting it all together. 

“Why would those guys stop here twice?” she asked herself. 

After running some mid-day errands, Bachman returned to The Cone Shoppe as locals started filling it up, awaiting Biden’s visit. It seems word started to spread… 

Someone with Biden’s campaign notified Bachman that they were 23 minutes away and would surely be stopping at The Cone Shoppe. 

Out-of-state vehicles started taking over the parking lot across the street at La Hacienda. Five minutes before his arrival, the media was escorted across the street and told to remain behind the counter as Biden ordered his cone. 

“I was pulled outside and told what to expect,” Bachman said. “But things didn’t quite work that way.” 

Bachman’s husband, Mike, was unfortunately out of the area for the day, and she wished he’d been able to be there to witness the once-in-a-lifetime occasion. 

“It’s an experience I’ll remember forever,” said Bachman. “This was just an awesome and cool experience for our town.” 

Bachman said lots of places in Monticello sell ice cream, and it was a privilege to serve the former Vice President. 

“They chose my mom and pop shop,” she said. “It’s pretty neat they supported the dairy industry in our small farming community.” 

Within minutes of Biden’s stop in Monticello, it was all over the national news, something Bachman is proud to see. 

Unfortunately, in the days following Biden’s visit, Bachman and Motley were privy to some rather negative and inappropriate comments on social media, which rained on their parade. However, they both said the positive feedback and remarks outweigh the negative. 

“People said it was just so neat that he was here,” Bachman said. “This has been great exposure.” 

Shortly after Biden left close to 3 p.m., middle school students flocked to The Cone Shoppe and asked if it was true, if Biden really did stop in. 

Motley said she’s learned that, politics aside, you should show respect for the president and vice president. 

“My 7-year-old came home from school and thought it was pretty cool that Biden was here,” Motley shared. 

Of taking Biden’s order and preparing his ice cream cone, Motley said it was hard to concentrate amid the constantly clicking of cameras, with the press staged behind her the whole time. “I just stood there and smiled,” she said. 

Biden took the time to personally shake everyone’s hand and thank them for being there that day. He took photos with a few customers before departing for Dubuque. In all, he spent about 20 minutes at The Cone Shoppe. 


Subscriber Login