Lamar Jackson is known to be a fan of shrimp Alfredo, his go-to meal before games, and banana pudding, which he snagged in West Baltimore. But a new ice cream flavor named in his honor tastes more like a PAYDAY candy bar — which is no coincidence.
The “Pay Lamar” flavor from the Hampden-headquartered Charmery ice cream shop is co-owner David Alima’s version of dessert activism. Like many fans, Alima wants the Baltimore Ravens to sign the 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player to a hefty contract. That wish has taken new urgency since Tuesday, when the team placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on Jackson, following two years of unproductive negotiations. The designation means he can negotiate with other teams and could end up leaving Charm City.
Like all great ideas, it came about in a bar — specifically Mick O’Shea’s — where Alima was hanging out with friends last week when a news report came on saying that Jackson had yet to sign a contract. He immediately wanted to create a flavor honoring him. Alima said he and his friends “love Lamar and want to see him stay in Baltimore.”
Though he acknowledged he isn’t an expert on contract negotiations, Alima said Jackson “deserves every bit of money that he feels he deserves. Whatever he thinks he’s worth, I’m in agreement with him.”
It was only fitting for the taste profile to be like a PAYDAY, one of Alima’s favorite candy bars.
The new flavor debuted Friday at Charmery locations in Hampden, Columbia and Stoneleigh, and will also be available at the store’s factory at Union Collective, which open to the public only on weekends. “It was kind of a week too late,” Alima said. “I didn’t think to do it until just now.”
Pay Lamar attracted the attention of one boy at the Hampden shop, who ordered it after tasting a sample, and this reporter.
Soft and rich, the ice cream has a caramel, peanut butter base with salty chopped peanuts and miniature chocolate chips mixed in. Maybe opt for a cup instead of a cone, though: Employee Nick Loach said that salt from the nuts tends to cause quick melting.
The ice cream call to arms had garnered the support of many on social media, who were requesting pints shipped to New York. Still, hours before it was even available to the public, the Pay Lamar flavor already had at least one superstitious sports fan concerned.
Hampden resident Joseph Martorella recalled how in 2013, the ice cream shop also released a “Crunch Davis” variety honoring then-Oriole Chris Davis. But within a few years, Davis’ $161 million contract became “an albatross” for the team when the first baseman began Major League Baseball’s longest hitless streak in history.
“Any time a sports team makes a big-money commitment to a premier player, the fear is that something tragic will happen and the player won’t live up to that billing,” Martorella said. “That’s just part of sports.”
More recently, though, the Charmery released a flavor honoring Ravens star kicker Justin Tucker, considered the best in the league.
“My genuine hope is that it works the other way and that it becomes a blessing and not a curse, more in line with the Justin Tucker flavor,” he said.
But Alima isn’t taking it that seriously.
“If the Ravens are listening to me,” he said, “I think we have bigger problems.”