New shop brings rolled ice cream to west Lawrence; Grinders sets downtown opening date
photo by: Chad Lawhorn
I know plenty about scoops of ice cream, but I’m still figuring out this trend of rolls of ice cream. With near triple-digit heat, I’m all for it if it fits in my pockets better. I don’t know about that, but I can tell you a new west Lawrence sweet shop is serving up ice cream by the roll.
Freezing Moo has become the latest Lawrence establishment to start serving Thai rolled ice cream. The shop has been open for about a month at 4651 W. Sixth St., which is the small shopping center that includes Big O Tires just east of the Dillons at Sixth and Wakarusa.
If you aren’t familiar with Thai rolled ice cream, you must spend all your sugar-time sucking on Werther’s Originals. Rolled ice cream is a trendy type of street food that got its start with roadside vendors in Thailand. I wrote about it briefly in October when plans were announced for a downtown shop called 10 Degrees.
Freezing Moo, though, is a larger operation. It has multiple stores in Kansas City and Wichita and was eager to get into the west Lawrence market, said store manager Dongni Arroyo.
But just what the heck is it? It is fresh ice cream made really quickly thanks to a device that looks a bit like a hot plate but actually is very cold.
“It is negative 18 to negative 21 degrees,” Arroyo said. “You don’t want to put your finger on it.”
photo by: Chad Lawhorn
Diners choose from about 20 menu items that include offerings such as Strawbella, which features strawberries, graham crackers and Nutella; Whole Latte Love, which includes coffee ice cream, Biscoff cookie and chocolate sauce; and a more traditional Thai offering called Green Giant, which includes green-tea ice cream, lychee and condensed milk. The shop also offers a dairy-free treat made from a coconut milk base.
Once the flavor is chosen, that is when the process starts to differ from a traditional ice cream shop. The flavored ice cream is not pre-made. The Strawbella, for instance, starts with your personal ice cream chef putting a strawberry on the cold plate and mashing it up with a pair of spatulas. The same thing happens to the graham cracker coated with Nutella.
Then the chef dips up a scoop of freshly made, liquid ice cream mix. It is poured on the cold plate and immediately starts to freeze. A bit like a hibachi grill chef, the ice cream attendant starts chopping and scraping with the spatula to stir and spread the liquid mixture. Eventually, it is spread thin like a crepe. At that point, you can add chocolate, caramel or other such sauces on top of the spread-out mixture. The ice cream chef uses it a bit like a canvas, drawing funny pictures or spelling out your name in chocolate sauce.
Look quick, though. The dish gets another mix, is spread flat again, and then the spatulas are used to scrape it off the plate. It comes off in rolls that are about the size of an egg roll. Into a cup or waffle cone dish they go, and then you are able to choose up to three toppings to go on top of the creation. The store offers about 40 toppings, including fancy cookies, candy bars, sprinkles, fruits, whipped cream and even a few cereals.
“We really try to make it so much fun,” Arroyo said.
That includes a kids’ party room at the shop that features an interactive touch-screen floor. It uses a projector system that beams images on specialty tiles that respond to touch. For instance, on the day I was there, the tiles had a football field, and you could try your luck at kicking the virtual football through the goal posts.
In addition, the shop encourages people to take silly photos of themselves eating the ice cream. The shop has photo printers where you can make prints for free and a wall where you can hang them.
But Arroyo thinks the ice cream will be the big draw. She said a selling point for the ice cream is that it doesn’t require any preservatives because it is freshly made.
“Our ice cream is real nutritious and healthy because we don’t have the preservatives,” Arroyo said. “It is totally fresh.”
(I included that quote so you can cut it out, laminate it and carry it with you to present to your doctors whenever they start asking you about your nutrition plans.)
Expect to pay about $6 for a large cup of the ice cream with toppings.
In other news and notes from around town:
• Some of you have been asking when the popular K.C.-based restaurant Grinders is finally going to open its downtown Lawrence location. The company has sent word that its grand opening will be on Friday.
For those of you who have forgotten, Grinders is going in the space formerly occupied by La Familia at 733 New Hampshire St. The restaurant, which got its start in the Crossroads district of K.C., features wings, several varieties of hamburgers, sandwiches and pizza creations, including one that involves chili, tater tots and Cheez Whiz.