By Sarah Stortz
Iowa City residents can now enjoy a new type of frosty treat during the chilly weather.
Rollipop Rolled Ice Cream, the city’s first rolled ice cream shop, opened in the Sycamore Mall on Jan. 11, joining a growing list of rolled ice cream shops around the country.
Originating from Thailand, the frozen dessert differs from standard ice cream in that it’s created with fresh fruits and creams and has no preservatives added in.
The dish is prepared in a similar manner to cooking stir-fried food, with milk poured onto a steel plate, keeping the temperature below freezing. The vendors add toppings to the batter to chop up, eventually rolling the ice cream into a cylinder as it freezes. The preparation is often done in front of the customer.
Several major cities in the United States have rolled ice cream shops, with stores such as Ice Station in New York City and Aha Crêpe in Chicago. In Iowa, Ankeny acquired its first rolled ice cream store, Sweet Swirls Rolled Ice Cream, in November 2017.
Rollipop owner Jack Hur decided to open his shop after having a year’s worth of experience creating rolled ice cream.
Hur described the treat as “entertainment plus freshness,” catering to customers with more than 10 different menus, as well as providing gluten-free options.
“It’s getting really popular all over the United States, and I wanted to bring this type of entertainment to Iowa City,” Hur said. “You know what’s going into your dessert.”
Throughout its week serving the public, Rollipop Rolled Ice Cream has already made strides through difficulties. The store needed to close off service Sunday because of technical problems with the machines. Hur said he didn’t want to serve subpar food with faulty equipment.
“We had to make the experience the most satisfying,” he said. “When people are out here eating ice cream, they’re mostly satisfied.”
Because of the tricky preparation process, Hur said, it takes some time to train employees.
Marco Tena, a recently hired employee, said he’s had an immensely positive experience during the short amount of time Rollipop Rolled Ice Cream has been open.
“[The business] has been great; there’s a lot of independence working here,” he said.
Employee Rebekah Tate said she studied making rolled ice cream by watching tutorials on YouTube before applying for the job.
“It’s really cool that [Hur] brought a new concept to Iowa City,” she said. “The ice cream here is very fresh, very light, and very nice.”
As Hur continues to serve the unique style of ice cream to patrons, he keeps a simple goal in mind.
“It can be place to go when you visit Iowa City, that’s our ultimate goal,” he said. “We will always use fresh ingredients, and that’s not going to change. We will work until everybody becomes happy with our ice cream.”