Cool-A-Coo, Where Are You?
When you’ve got an $80-million payroll, you’ve got to trim fat wherever you can. And at 20 grams per serving, the Cool-a-Coo must have seemed an easy shave.
This season, many longtime Dodger fans have dropped their jaws in disbelief upon forking over $2.50 to the roving ice cream vendor and receiving an It’s It passed down the aisle. What the heck happened to Cool-a-Coo?
For 27 years, L.A. fans scooped up an average of 4,000 of them a game. A compact sandwich of drippy vanilla ice cream pressed between oatmeal cookies and dipped in a thin gruel of chocolate, the Cool-a-Coo arguably rivaled the Dodger Dog as a signature stadium staple.
Over at Cool-a-Coo headquarters, a trailer office in Whittier, company president Leo Politis is holding up just fine. The last time the Dodgers stopped serving Cool-a-Coos, in the early ‘90s, the masses revolted. “They had boxes of letters from people,” he says. Cool-a-Coos returned.
Back then, Peter O’Malley “couldn’t do without Cool-a-Coos,” Politis offers. He even hooked up the former Dodger owner with a private stash of the treats. And one day, he introduced himself to O’Malley at the ballpark. “He said, ‘Very good, keep it up,’ ” Politis recalls. As for new owner Rupert Murdoch, Politis says, “He wants to make money from everybody.”
Politis says he sold Cool-a-Coos to the Dodgers for 30 cents apiece, which the team resold for $2.50. This season, he says, they wanted to charge him for the opportunity to distribute the product there. “It wasn’t worth it,” Politis says. “I wouldn’t have made any money.” So along came It’s It, a slab of ice cream between chocolate chip cookies.
In the Cool-a-Coo factory, 30 employees still churn out 3 million Cool-a-Coos (as well as 200 other kinds of ice cream-related goodies) a year for sale in the western United States and in Politis’ native Greece. “Baseball is the No. 1 sport for selling any food,” Politis says, because it’s so slow. “By the time the player ties his shoe and moves his hat, you’re finished with your ice cream.”
Meanwhile, Dodger PR rep John Olguin says Cool-a-Coo and the team’s owners “could not reach a business agreement.” He confirms that sightings of Murdoch in the stands are rare. “He doesn’t hang out here by any stretch of the imagination,” says Olguin. So we take it he’s not involved in concessionaire decisions? “No, especially not on Cool-a-Coos.”