By Evan Milberg
This Saturday, Nicecream Factory—a liquid nitrogen ice cream shop—will throw a grand opening party. The store, which opened in Clarendon last Wednesday, first started with a kickstarter campaign and a pop-up shop outside of Science Club in DuPont Circle.
For 24-year-old JMU School of Business grads Gilbert Welsford and Sandra Tran, the idea of opening up their own ice cream shop was a dream they thought they would save for later in life. That was, until the girlfriend-and-boyfriend team discovered that ice cream shops in California and Chicago were making liquid nitrogen ice cream.
“We started playing around with liquid nitrogen with really no idea where it was going to take us,” says Tran, who serves as general manager. “We realized that every single recipe we made was significantly better with this method of freezing because it’s much creamier, denser and there are smaller ice crystals.”
According to Welsford and Tran, many people have expressed concerns about the safety of using liquid nitrogen. However, as Welsford assures, the liquid nitrogen is only used to keep the ice cream cold. Once the ice cream is done mixing, there is no trace of the nitrogen.
“We take a locally sourced cream that we get from a family farm, put in our fresh ingredients into a stand mixer, and then we pour in liquid nitrogen at -321 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Welsford. “All liquid nitrogen is, is super cold purified air that freezes the ice cream.”
The flavors Welsford and Tran plan on using include strawberry basil, caramel bacon, butter banana, and pistachio. “If your pistachio ice cream actually tastes like pistachios, it’s because we make our own pistachio butter in house,” Welsford says. Unlike other ice cream places, they make their ice cream on the spot for their customers, as opposed to most places that keep their ice cream in a freezer for over a month.
“We want to create a different paradigm of how people eat their desserts,” Welsford says.
For the grand opening party on Saturday, Nicecream will be handing out tokens to the first 50 customers for a free small serving on their return visit to the shop. They will also be having a secret word, changing throughout the day on their social media accounts, for customers to receive a discount on their orders. The party starts at 10 a.m. / Nicecream Factory, 2832 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington