Dessert Professional magazine proudly presents the Top 10 Frozen Dessert Retailers in America for 2014.
Dessert Professional magazine is proud to honor the Top Ten Frozen Dessert Retailers of America 2014. This award is presented to businesses that offer exceptional frozen desserts served in a unique, memorable environment, including walk-in shops, stands, and even trucks. The enjoyment of a frozen dessert, whether it’s ice cream, gelato, frozen pops or custard, is a special experience that involves more than just the product. Frozen desserts are best eaten when they are served, so the shop’s ambiance and service are almost as important as the product itself. We have taken this into account in choosing our list of ten. Congratulations to this year’s Top Ten retailers.
- Black Dog Gelato
- Brazilia Cafe
- Cloud 10 Creamery
- High Road Craft Ice Cream, Inc.
- Ice Cream Store @ Jacques Torres Chocolates
- OddFellows Ice Cream Co.
- Steel City Pops
- Sub Zero Ice Cream & Yogurt
- 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee: Steve Thompson
Owner: Jessica Oloroso859 N. Damen, Chicago, IL and 1955 Belmont, Chicago, IL
Business profile: Black Dog Gelato is a small artisanal gelato shop that specializes in modern flavors using traditional methods. We provide our signature gelato in our two retail stores, in restaurants around the city and at special events and catering.
How it all began: After leaving my last job as pastry chef, I rented space in a shared kitchen to develop my recipes. For the first two and a half years, I ran a small wholesale business out of that shared kitchen with a handful of accounts. In the summer of 2010 I opened my first retail location.
What you’re trying to do differently: We are dedicated to staying true to the traditional methods by making everything from scratch daily. We make all of our nut pastes, fruit purees, caramels, etc., to provide a product that is closer to restaurant quality.
Number of flavors: 20 in the case. Total catalog: 100-plus
Most popular flavors: Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel, Malted Vanilla, Sweet Corn Lavendar, Sesame Fig Chocolate Chip, Blueberry French Toast, Bourbon County Stout, Salted Peanut, Cucumber Rosewater Sorbet, Cantaloupe Sorbet
Favorite ingredients: Sesame oil, cheese of any sort, unsweetened chocolate, ginger, peanuts
Favorite flavor to eat: Depends on how I am eating it. If I am eating a slice of a fruit pie, I like the Goat Cashew Caramel. If I am eating a cone while in the kitchen, I like Chocolate and Espresso. If I am at home eating a big bowl, I like Oreo Mint.
Favorite flavor to serve: Sesame Oil Fig Chocolate Chip. Or Salted Peanut. Or Turkish Coffee.
How often do you change flavors? Weekly
Most exotic flavor: We make a Shitake Caramel for the Girl and the Goat. It’s a flavor combination I developed while working at her first restaurant. When paired with chocolate (such as a cake), the subtle but earthy flavor complements the richness of the chocolate and the caramel balances with just the right amount of sweetness.
Signature products: The Whiskey Bacon Bar (whiskey gelato dipped in milk chocolate and rolled in candied bacon) and our Goose Island Rootbeer and Malted Vanilla Float, Donut Gelato Sandwich
Display case: Carpigiani
Best compliment you’ve ever received: That it tastes as good as the gelato back home (Italy).
Best part of the business: Standing in front of my batch freezer before or after anyone is in the kitchen and watching the perfect batch come out of the machine.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? Race car driving.
Frozen dessert philosophy: I guess my philosophy is to use whole ingredients, serve the freshest product possible, and take inspiration from everywhere.
What’s next? I have no idea.
Owner: Malcolm Stogo684 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 (at Great Jones Street)212-858-0732 • www.braziliacafe-nyc.com
Questions answered by Malcolm Stogo
Business profile: Brazilia Café is Manhattan’s newest one-stop destination for healthy meals any time of day. With an unparalleled coffee program, a juice program and gelato offering, this café is one of a kind. My other companies, Desserts That Matter and DF Mavens (dairy-free frozen dessert line), are also sold at the café; the gelato and sorbet is Desserts That Matter.
How it all began: I was already operating a restaurant in Philadelphia when I seized an opportunity. The ice cream shop next door to my restaurant closed and my daughter and I decided to teach ourselves how to create ice cream! In 1977 I invented the wildly popular Cookies ‘n Cream flavor along with many others and then went on to open Ice Cream Extravaganza, one of the largest single frozen dessert operations in the world, at the South Street Seaport in New York City.
What you’re trying to do differently: We are constantly creating new flavors and being as creative as possible.
Number of flavors: 100
Most popular flavors: Sur del Lago Chocolate and Pistachio gelato, Blackberry Cabernet and Pineapple Cilantro sorbets.
Favorite ingredient: Madagascar Vanilla
Favorite flavor to eat: Chocolate Sur del Lago Chocolate
Favorite flavor to serve: Ricotta with Fig
How often do you change flavors? We produce fresh small batches throughout the day, every day.
Most exotic flavor: Rice Pudding
How much product do you eat per week? 2 pints per week
Signature products: Brazilia Gelato and DF Mavens Dairy-Free Pints
Display case: GTI
Best compliment ever: “We love the texture – the gelato is as good as it is in Italy! We appreciate the small batch quality and interesting flavor combinations!”
Best part of the business: I love to create new flavors and get inventive with it. I’ve always had a knack for translating popular desserts into ice cream and gelato flavor, so I truly enjoy creating and it’s my favorite part by far.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? Gardening! I am a seasoned green thumb with a vegetable garden and fruit trees growing in my backyard. We love cooking with the fresh produce we grow outside.
Motto: Honesty is the best policy!
What’s next? We’re in the process of creating new flavors and working on a line of dipped ice cream bars and tartufo.
Owners: Christopher Balat and Chris Leung5216 Morningside Dr, Houston, TX 77005713-434-6129 • www.cloud10creamery.com
Questions answered by Chris Leung
Business profile: We are a chef-driven frozen dessert shop that makes everything from scratch in an open kitchen. We do not use any extracts, food coloring or flavorings in our ice cream and sorbets. Our selection in the dipper changes daily, and we pull flavors from an original menu and the seasonal menu. The original menu stays year round and the seasonal menu changes quarterly.
How it all began: Christopher Balat and I were discussing business opportunities, and, in much need of a break, he wanted a banana split. We had no idea where we could get a good banana split. I made my version of a banana split and a few other ice cream and sorbet flavors over the next couple of days for Christopher Balat to try. After tasting the product, Christopher Balat and I partnered up to start Cloud 10 Creamery under the Balcor Hospitality umbrella. We first started the business doing wholesale to local restaurants, hotels and small businesses. We have operated the wholesale business for over two years and the retail location has been open for a little over eight months.
What you’re trying to do differently: We make everything in house; all ice creams and sorbets, novelties, toppings and much more. We are trying to bring a little of the pastry shop into an ice cream shop. Many of our novelty items are things that you would not find in an ordinary creamery.
Number of flavors: We have 10 original flavors plus 10 seasonal flavors in rotation.
Most popular flavors: Nutella with Marshmallows; Toasted Rice; Cafe Sua Da; Maple Butter (fall flavor); Brown Sugar with Butterscotch (winter flavor); Malted Barley with Raisin Jam (winter flavor); Red Currant Mascarpone (spring flavor).
Favorite ingredients: Pandan leaf, dark chocolate, almonds
Favorite flavor to eat: Dark Chocolate
Favorite flavor to serve: Toasted Rice
How often do you change flavors? We change our flavors daily, our dipper is constantly rotating through our original and seasonal menus.
Most exotic flavor: We have a Sesame Oil ice cream right now that surprises a lot of people when they try it. Weirdest flavor that we have made so far is the Stuffing Ice Cream that we made for a restaurant.
How much product do you eat per week? At most a scoop or two per week. My real weakness is the when we bake chocolate chip cookies every Monday for cookie sandwich Mondays – gotta have at least one when they come out of the oven.
Signature products: Our signature product would have to be our C10 banana split. It is big and it contains so many flavors and textures. The C10 banana split contains: caramelized bananas, brown sugar crumble, Chocolate ice cream, Nutella with Marshmallows ice cream, Vanilla Bean ice cream, milk chocolate magic shell, hot fudge, mixed berry jam, whipped cream, candied pecans and Nutella powder. When thinking of how to create the perfect banana split, it was important to be as perfect as I could make it. The whole fruition of Cloud 10 after all did come from our managing director, Christopher Balat, attempt to find the perfect banana split.
Display case: Our dipping cabinet is Kelvinator KDC67V
Best compliment you’ve every received: “The ice cream tastes like the flavor you said it is.”
Best part of the business: Seeing the customers try new flavors for the first time.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? Probably working in a restaurant, which will also be happening as Balcor Hospitality launches Bosta Wine & Coffee and Museum Park Cafe.
Frozen dessert philosophy: My overall philosophy is fairly simple: “Make it taste good!” It’s a simple saying, but a lot of work goes into making that happen.
What’s next? Christopher Balat is the President of Balcor Hospitality and I am the Culinary Director. We are opening two new concepts this summer, Bosta Wine & Coffee and Museum Park Cafe. We want to continue to grow the Cloud 10 Creamery brand and hopefully be able to open several more locations over the next few years.
Owner: Guido Martinetti and Federico Grom233 Bleecker Street, New York, NY • 212-206-17381796 Broadway New York, NY • 212-974-3444
Questions answered by Guido Martinetti
Business profile: Grom is a high quality gelateria. The idea behind our gelato is the same behind the best restaurants: only the best raw materials. Keeping faith to this view means traveling around the world in search of the best ingredients, paying great attention to agriculture and keeping the label clean (we don’t use any flavoring, colors or preservatives). In Italian we would say “ossessione eccellenza” (obsession for excellence), which describes very well our approach to gelato.
How it all began: 11 years ago, Federico – my business partner and friend – and I were only 28 and 27 years old. I was working as an enologist in the family wine firm, while he was employed as financial analyst in a corporation. We were quite happy with our rising careers and were both very fond of our respective fields, until one day an article on the newspaper changed our lives. I read an analysis written by the Slow Food Movement founder, Carlo Petrini, about the disappearance of the authentic artisanal gelato from Italy. I had an idea and immediately suggested to Federico: let’s try to make together gelato “as it used to be made” (‘come una volta’).
What you’re trying to do differently: When Federico and I jumped in this adventure, gelato was very mistreated. Apart from a few historical gelaterie, in 2002 was very hard to find gelato made without pre-made mixes or chemicals. But, according to the Italian pastry tradition, we have never considered gelato as junk food, but always as something very serious. Made only with the best raw materials and keeping under control every step of the process. The search for the absolute quality brought us to buy in 2007 an organic farm, Mura Mura, where the best cultivars of pears, figs, apricots, peaches, melons and strawberries are organically grown with a total respect for nature and its rules.
Number of flavors: 20.
Most popular flavors: Crema di Grom – our signature flavor – an egg cream with corn cookies and chocolate chips, and Caramello al Sale, caramel with Himalayan pink salt.
Favorite ingredients: Fruit. Sorbets have a very simple recipe: fruit, sugar and spring water. So there is only one secret to make a great fruit sorbet: a great raw material!
Favorite flavor to eat: Crema di Grom and Torroncino, made with traditional Piedmontese hazelnut nougat. A flavor of our lands.
Favorite flavor to serve: Strawberry and blueberry. They have (naturally!) bright colors that make the cones look like small artworks.
How often do you change flavors? We have our classic flavors, like pistachio, dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla or hazelnut, and the special ones, flavors alternated periodically to vary our offerings. Every month we also have a flavor of the month that is always different – we like to create always something new, taking inspiration from traditional pastry and to give our customers every month a new reason to visit us. The sorbets change every month depending on the seasonality of the fruit.
How much product do you eat per week? It’s hard to say, I make a lot of tastings to check the quality of the product or to work on the recipes.
Signature flavor: Crema di Grom
Display case: Domori and Illy
Best compliment: It tastes like fruit.
Best part of the business? We work hard, but seeing the people smile while eating our gelato rewards all our efforts. Because this is gelato: a little moment of happiness.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? I would be a farmer. Agriculture is my greatest passion.
Motto: “Grom. Il Gelato come una volta.” (“Grom. Gelato as it used to be made.”)
What’s next? We have a lot of projects for the future, there are many other countries in which we would like to bring our gelato and our aim has always been to make the best gelato in the world. And in this way there is always much to do…
Owner: Keith Schroeder1730B West Oak Commons Ct., Marietta GA 30062678-701-7623 • www.highroadcraft.com
Business profile: We are a chef-driven ice cream company, started with the intention of serving restaurants and hotels. We quickly realized that there was an entire world of people with an almost professional love of food knowledge. We’re here to serve those people.
How it all began: High Road started as a graduate school (MBA) business plan. We launched in 2010 with investment money earned in business plan competitions and from grad-school colleagues.
What you’re trying to do differently: We are attempting to honor people and culture via our ice cream. Our hope is to shine a light on all things beautiful.
Number of flavors: About 60, with collections rotated seasonally.
Most popular flavors: Brown Butter Praline, Vanilla Fleur De Sel, Bourbon Burnt Sugar, Pistachio Honey Ricotta
Favorite ingredients: Fresh peaches, Georgia pecans, vanilla of all kinds, salt, and lemon.
Favorite flavor to eat: Brown Butter Praline
Favorite flavor to serve: Our Buttermilk ice cream is an amazing accompaniment to other desserts.
How often do you change flavors? We’re frequently introducing new flavors, about every two months.
Most exotic flavor: We once did a “Low Country Boil Ice Cream.” I made it from a shrimp and sherry cream base. It had candied Andouille, Tabasco, and sweet corn in it. We served it at a seafood festival on the gulf in Alabama.
How much product do you eat per week? When you add up all the little tastes, about 1 quart.
Signature products: Vanilla Fleur De Sel, Pistachio Honey Ricotta, and Coconut Makrut Lime.
Display case: We have a classic C-Nelson case. They’re incredibly durable and dependable, plus we love their team.
Best compliment: Alton Brown said “this is probably the best ice cream made in America today.” That was a huge honor.
Best part of the business: Connecting with other food professionals is infinitely satisfying.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? Frying fish.
Frozen dessert philosophy: We want our products to “take you” somewhere. If we can evoke an emotion that connects folks to beautiful memories, we’ve won.
What’s next? We’re building a 25,000-square-foot factory, and are getting ready to export. Fun stuff!
Owner: Jacques Torres62 Water St. Brooklyn, NY 11201212-414-2462 • www.mrchocolate.com
Questions answered by Jacques Torres
Business profile: We are making traditional homemade ice cream in line with my chocolate business. I want my products to be always fresh and seasonal!
How did you first get into the frozen desserts market? I always loved ice cream, and when I became a pastry chef I really wanted to work with ice cream and created my own.
What you’re trying to do differently: We are doing everything from scratch; we do not buy any mix from other vendors. Our ice cream is made with seasonal products, in-house!
Number of flavors: We have six flavors of ice cream and six flavors of sorbets.
Most popular flavors: Our customers love the classics: chocolate and vanilla. But they are also willing to try new flavors: Wicked (spicy), and Ménage a Trois. We also do an Ice Cream Sandwich: one cookie, one thick layer of ice cream and another cookie on top… Decadent!
Favorite ingredients: I love fresh fruits for my ice creams, especially fresh figs, they are by far my favorites!
Favorite flavor to eat: I like to serve what I eat, and I like inclusion, texture, sauce in my ice cream, that is what make it so unique!
How often do you change flavors? We try to change our flavors weekly, so we always bring to tastes and flavors. That’s what makes it interesting!
Most exotic flavor you’ve made: Tobacco and this is the worst ice cream I have ever tasted and made. It ended up in the garbage!
How much product do you eat per week? About a pint, I am trying to be good and not have too, too much.
Signature products: Chocolates! I use my chocolate to make my ice cream, and this is definitely my signature.
Display case: We are using a Masterbuilt display case.
Best compliment ever: “More! More! More!” It says it all doesn’t it?
Best part of the business: The good weather, the smile on kids’ faces and the stars in their eyes when they are about to have their first taste of ice cream.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? I would love to fish! I love fishing, being on a boat on the water.
Ice cream philosophy: The mix has to be made in-house! Use as much local and seasonal ingredients as possible. We age our mix in an Age Master 24 hours before spinning it, and this is the trick! Small batches allow a fast turnover and the assurance to always have fresh products. I am also making flavors that go with the lines of my chocolate business.
What’s next? We are thinking of expanding our ice cream to retail stores. Stay tuned!
Owners: Sam Mason, Holiday Kumar and Mohan Kumar175 Kent Ave Brooklyn, NY 11249347-599-0556 • www.oddfellowsnyc.com
Questions answered by Sam Mason
Business profile: An intimate and manicured ice cream experience.
How it all began: 20 years of being a pastry chef, I’d guess.
What you’re trying to do differently: I’m trying to introduce new textures and combinations to a very competitive market.
Number of flavors: We offer 12-14 ice creams and sorbets daily (at least two of them are sorbets). We have offered 120 flavors since we opened in June 2013 (as of April 2014).
Most popular flavors: There are too many to name, but most requested are probably Cornbread (summer only), Peanut Butter & Jelly, Chorizo Caramel Swirl, Buttermilk Honey Blueberry (summer only), Pretzel (fall only), Burnt Marshmallow (spring/summer), Oatmeal Cookie Dough, Maple Bacon Pecan and Rocky Road.
Favorite ingredients: I love the less obvious flavor profiles like white miso and red cedar. Things that confound people at first.
Favorite flavor to eat: I like the really textural flavors like Lemon Meringue Pie, which has both pieces of frozen lemon curd as well as frozen burnt meringue and graham crumbs, just because.
Favorite flavor to serve: I like serving the more composed ice creams. We serve a Foie Gras ice cream with a side of sour cherry soda.
How often do you change flavors? Pretty much daily there is something different in the cabinet from the day before.
Most exotic flavor: We recently made a Cubano ice cream which was a mixture of three ice creams, honey glazed ham, mustard and swiss cheese. It honestly tasted just like a Cubano sandwich.
How much product do you eat per week? Too much!
Display case: C. Nelson 16DIP (made in the US of A)
Best part of the business: It’s a pretty gratifying business. The reactions of people are instant.
What’s next? More Oddfellows. There’s also a proper soda fountain in the works.
Owners: John and Christina Park2214 W Magnolia Blvd Unit A, Burbank, CA 91506818-843-1035
Questions answered by John Park
Business profile: small batch ice cream shop/bakery
How it all began: I have been cooking/baking professionally for the past 12 years.
What you’re trying to do differently: Not trying to be different. Just focusing on using solid techniques and sourcing out great products.
Number of flavors: Daily –16 ice cream/sorbets plus 8 to 10 popsicles/push pops/ice cream bars
Most popular flavors: Blueberry Pie, Strawberry Shortcake, Cookie Butter Fudge
Favorite ingredients: Yuzu and blond chocolate.
Favorite flavor to eat: Mandarin
How often do you change flavors? Quite often. We have done over 150 flavors in the eight-plus months we’ve been open for business.
Most exotic flavor: Mushroom Caramel ice cream, Jackfruit Tonic Sorbet, Kecap Manis ice cream.
How much product do you eat per week? Very little. Only enough for quality assurance.
Signature products: Blueberry Pie ice cream, Apple Pie Ice Cream Bar.
Display case: True Freezer.
Best compliment ever: Seeing customers come in 4 to 5 times a week (we’re only open 5 days a week).
Best part of the business: Being a part of the local community.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? I’d be a math teacher, coaching water polo.
What’s next? Hopefully a second location. Maybe a bakery down the road. Would love to open a Korean restaurant with my Mom one day, as well.
Owner: Jim Watkins4 locations in Birmingham, AL; 1 location in Tuscaloosa, AL; 1 location in Dallas, TX; 1 location in Ft. Worth, TXwww.steelcitypops.com
Questions answered by Andrea Brown
Business profile: Steel City Pops makes all natural, fresh, delicious pops.
How it all began: Years ago, Jim had “paletas” at a shop in Nashville. Paletas are a Mexican dessert made from fresh frozen fruit. He knew that this was something that had to come to Birmingham. After experimenting with various flavor combinations, he found the perfect combinations of fruity and creamy pops.
What you’re trying to do differently: Our pops are made from all natural and organic ingredients when possible. We try to source our ingredients locally, and we keep our recipes simple. Whole, natural ingredients combined and frozen into pops.
Number of flavors: We have a rotating menu, based on seasonal availability, of about 20 pops at any given time.
Most popular flavors: Buttermilk, Coffee, Strawberry, Chocolate, and Avocado.
Favorite ingredients: We love anything unique to create recipes from! We have a Pineapple Jalapeño pop that is delicious, a Tamarind Pop, and a newly developed Cactus Pop. We also love our fresh Cajeta (goat’s milk caramel) that is made at a local farm in Birmingham.
Favorite flavor to eat: All are great, but Buttermilk tastes like cheesecake on a stick.
Favorite flavor to serve: We love to give people unique flavors and stretch their notions of what a pop should be.
How often do you change flavors? Usually we change with the seasons. Since our pops are made from local ingredients, it depends on the seasons of produce around us.
Most exotic flavor: One that catches people off guard is our Spruce pop at Christmas. It is delicious, but “Spruce” is not something you generally expect to taste!
Signature products: One of the favorite aspects of our business is our Provid branded water. All proceeds from our bottled water go to support Neverthirst, providing clean water and wells for those in need. It’s an organization that we are passionate about, and we have been privileged to build several wells already from these sales.
Best compliment ever: One of our favorite things is the fact that we have a product that everyone enjoys. From babies, to teens, to elderly customers – everyone can come in and enjoy something new.
Best part of the business: Creating great flavors, working with and supporting local farmers and suppliers, and meeting the customers.
What’s next: We are expanding to several different markets right now. We have our focus on the Texas market and are excited for what is developing there.
Owners: Jerry and Naomi Hancock1718 N. University Pkwy, Suite 201, Provo, UT 84606801-319-7859 • www.subzeroicecream.com
Questions answered by Jerry Hancock
Business profile: At Sub Zero we are all about the experience. We create a quality ice cream product, but we are much more than that. We pride ourselves on incorporating scientific elements to create delicious ice cream and provide a show with dessert. We re-invent ice cream with our unique process and we are proud of what we have produced.
How it all began: In 2004, my wife and I owned a Gourmet Wrap quick service restaurant. When the store started to struggle, we started researching ice cream options to add to our restaurant. After consulting with our customers, we found that they wanted to watch someone mix their ice cream in front of them with complete customization for each customer. We knew we could come up with a truly unique ice cream experience based on these desires, so we seriously started researching ice cream and vendors to develop this product. After reading several articles on liquid nitrogen and incorporating it into food, we developed our own take on the ice cream product that would revolutionize the industry. We found that the best way to accomplish that is to freeze the ice cream after the customer orders their flavors to give them complete customization. With my background in chemistry, we decided to create a unique freezing process using liquid nitrogen, and thus Sub Zero Ice Cream was born. The process took off and we now have 32 franchises worldwide and are growing daily. We even filed for a patent that was published on my birthday – March 25, 2014.
What you’re trying to do differently: With Sub Zero Ice Cream, we are trying to reinvent the traditional ice cream parlor and offer the customer a unique frozen dessert experience unlike any other. By using liquid nitrogen to flash freeze ice cream in seconds, we put the power in the hands of the customer and their options are virtually endless. Customers start our process by choosing an ice cream base (14%, 10% Custard, 6% low fat, 0% Yogurt, Rice, Almond milk, Sugar Free, Lactose Free, Sorbet) We can meet almost ANY dietary need just with our base options. After the base, customers choose the size (4, 6, 8, 10 oz. pre-frozen). Since ice cream has a lot of over-run, we sell the pre-frozen volume, which gives you exactly what you pay for minus the added air. Third, customers choose the flavors and mix in options - (40 flavors and 40 mix-ins) Each of our flavors and mix-ins can be combined to create different flavors such as Strawberry Cheesecake or Mojito with mint and lime. Sub Zero is all about giving control to the customer. We don’t tell you what flavor you want, you tell us. Since we freeze the ice cream in front of the customer, they can choose just how hard they want it to be. We can make it like soft server, hard packed or brittle. We can even make the bottom harder than the top so as you eat down the texture is the same at the bottom as the top was when you started. Lastly, ice cream should allow you to savor the entire experience without being rushed. If your ice cream starts to melt don’t throw it away. We are the only ice cream store on the planet that can re-freeze it for you. Everyone else needs to put it through a machine. We can re-freeze in the bowl.
Number of flavors: Since we make all of our servings when they are ordered, we give the customers more than 35 flavor options with more than 30 candies, cookies and fruits to mix into their concoction. Combined with our many ice cream base products, the customer literally has trillions of flavor options to choose from and we can guarantee that there is something to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Most popular flavors: Our most popular flavors include Cake Batter, Cheesecake, Vanilla, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Mint, Brownie Batter, Strawberry, Raspberry and Caramel.
Favorite ingredients: One of my favorite things to do with the ice cream is experiment with unusual flavors such as cayenne, jalapeno, bacon, and rose water.
Favorite flavor to eat: I have many flavors that I love to eat, but one of my favorites is a take on a Mint Mojito, accomplished by combining mint and lime flavoring. The end result is rich and very refreshing.
Favorite flavor to serve: Each month our research and development team comes up with a unique flavor combination to use as our “Special Sensation of the Month” flavor combination. I think these are my favorite flavors to serve because they are limited time flavors and each month is creative and catered to the events, holidays or weather conditions of that month so the customers get really excited about them. For example, with April being the heart of baseball season, we created a special Cracker Jack flavor. At Christmas we usually do a sugar cookie or peppermint ice cream, etc.
How often do you change flavors? Since we make our ice cream fresh, we are able to offer every flavor year round, unlike conventional ice cream parlors. Occasionally we will introduce a new flavor that excelled as a limited flavor or a trendy new mix-in such as our new salted caramel truffles.
Most exotic flavor: One of the wildest flavors we ever served was Apple and Tabasco. We actually served it at a catering event and it was a huge hit! The other flavor we did was Maple Bacon and we also served that at a catering event that was well received.
How much product do you eat per week? About three small ice creams every week. I do a lot of sampling while in the store to check the product.
Signature products: We have 12 Sensations that are our signature flavor combinations that the customer can order quickly.
- Chocolate Conduction- sweet chocolate, fudge, chocolate flakes and brownie
- Birthday Cake Capacitor- Cake batter, fudge, cookie dough and sprinkles
- Magnetic Mint- mint, fudge, Oreos and Andes Mints
- Bernoulli Brulee- Caramel, dulce de leche, vanilla, cinnamon, heath and twix
- Peanut Butter Bonds- Peanut butter, fudge, Reese’s and brownies
- Cinnamon Roll Reaction- Cake batter, cinnamon, cookie dough and pecans
- Mass Mocha Madness- Coffe, chocolate, almonds and heath
- Tropical turbine- Coconut, black raspberry, mixed berries and coconut flakes
- Cherry Charge- Cherry flavor, chocolate flakes and cherries
- Key Lime Voltage- Lime, cheesecake, graham cracker and cheesecake bites
- Fruity Fusion- Marshmallow cream, raspberry and mixed berries
- Citric Substance- Lemon, raspberry, citric acid, mixed berries and peaches
Display case: Since we freeze our ice cream instantly, we have eliminated the need for freezers to store ice cream flavors in. Our display is a long counter with all of our flavor and mix-in options behind glass for the customer to see. Once the cream and flavors are mixed, the customer follows their concoction to the freezing station. Our employees inject liquid nitrogen, which is -321 degrees, directly into the mixture and the customer watches and a cloud of vapor envelopes the ice cream until it is completely frozen.
Best compliment ever: The best compliment I got was when we were handing out samples. A man walked by with a competitor’s frozen yogurt in hand and we asked them to make a comparison. When they tried ours they were shocked and couldn’t believe the flavor and texture of just our vanilla ice cream compared to the frozen yogurt they were just eating. That to me was the biggest compliment we could get.
Best part of the business? For me, the best part of the business is producing a high quality product that literally shocks those who try the ice cream and experience the process. That’s when you know you are doing something right with your business.
If you weren’t making frozen desserts, what would you be doing? Before I developed the Sub Zero product I was a software engineer. I would probably still be doing some sort of software development if I hadn’t started this company.
Motto: My personal motto for the company is “fresher is better” and we stick by that motto.
What’s next? Our company is expanding quickly and we are very excited about it. After being open for 10 years, we now have 32 stores with contracts to open hundreds more in the next ten years. Our stores range throughout the country and we opened our first international store last year in Abu Dhabi. Other international contracts include China and Southeast Asia and Latin America with several more processing.
CEO of Emery Thompson
One hundred and six years ago, Emery Thompson designed and built the world’s first automated batch freezer. Two years later he received the patent for his invention. Since then the family-owned business has been supplying the world’s dessert professionals with the highest quality batch freezers for the production of hard ice cream, artisan gelato and other frozen desserts. Our 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee is Steve Thompson, grandson of founder Emery. Steve has guided and grown the company through the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. According to Steve the family tradition will continue for many years to come, “we’re very proud of what we build and I think it shows in the loyal customers that we have. As we embark on our second hundred years the fourth generation of Thompsons are in graduate school learning how to make their great-grandfather’s machines even better.” www.emerythompson.com