Hannah and Greg Slamen have always liked to cook and have dinner parties, but when they started making rolled ice cream, they found their friends liked it even better than their dinners. Not too many months later, they’ve brought the concept, Lucky Cat Rolled Creams, to 18th Street. But wait, what exactly is rolled ice cream? Here’s what they told us.
Where did the idea for rolled ice cream come from?
Hannah: For 10 years we have been trying to come up with a food concept to do that’s our own. Greg comes up with all kinds of ideas, and ice cream was the first one I felt like I could wrap my head around that was doable. One of my friends sent us this YouTube video of this style of rolled ice cream, and we were totally intrigued and stalked it on YouTube and Instagram. We figured out when it started coming to the United States and who was doing what. The best we can tell it was created in Thailand seven years ago. There’s no recipe book or manual online. Atlanta has eight of them already.
What came next in the story?
Hannah: I’m from Sacramento and went to a rolled ice cream shop there a year ago and asked a bunch of questions. Last April I decided to order the pan from Hong Kong. I would take ice cream to neighbors on my block every other day.
Greg: The neighbors said, “This is amazing!” You could see it being made in front of you and that’s pretty cool in itself. And you can use really good fresh ingredients. It adheres to a lot of our philosophy about food—local, good, organic, minimally processed food. It tasted old fashioned like that you’d taste on grandma’s porch.
Hannah: It was making our friends happy. That was what made us take it from this little idea. I don’t think I realized how much people love ice cream, but people get really excited about it. I do feel like we are giving someone joy.
How exactly does ice cream get rolled?
Hannah: The ice pan is just like a hibachi grill but it’s cold. We roll it at -19 degrees Celsius. You pour an ice cream base—what you would put into your ice cream maker—and you chop in your ingredients. That chopping is mimicking the arm churning of an old-fashioned ice cream. You are mixing in the oxygen and it’s turning into soft serve in a minute and a half to two minutes, and then you spread it thin into a rectangular and it hardens up. The trick is to roll it once it gets hard enough but is not ice. We get about four to five rolls per serving, and put it in a cup and throw toppings on it.
What will we find on your menu?
Hannah: We decided early on to use this Asian style of ice cream, but we’re putting our American, Southern and California roots in it. The Daily is Oreo cookies and cream with strawberry powder (freeze dried strawberries) dusted on top and whipped cream. People love it; it’s like our daily special. The Trolley is a Ghirardelli chocolate and caramel and a brownie, and then more chocolate and caramel sauce and then chocolate sticks. Those are our two safe flavors anyone could like.
The Ginger Peach is a crystallized ginger and peach reduction with white chocolate sticks on top; everyone who tries it loves it. Our Fairy Tale is marshmallow fluff and rainbow sprinkles and a mini cone. Sugar Moon is maple and bacon; it was a time of the year the Native Americans harvested the maple. We are going to do a coffee and doughnuts and we’re hoping to get the sidekicks from Hero Doughnuts and we’re using Rev Coffee out of Atlanta, and we sell their bags and their coffee. We do a Macha, a Mexican stone-ground chocolate Taza wafer, with dark chocolate with cinnamon and chili, and we top it with more chocolate sauce and a butter waffle cookie and candied orange peels.
In the summer we do a basil lemon and a strawberry buttermilk. When figs were in season, we did a cardamom and muscovado sugar and Turkish honey, and we chopped it with fresh figs. That’s the one I am most proud of. It will change as we come across different ingredients.
What else is in store for the future?
Hannah: We might do a monthly brunch with Brie sandwiches and champagne. We want to do chicken and waffle cones and things that are a play off our concept and our ingredients. Greg wants to do curated cheese plates, and we’d like Shu Shop to curate a Japanese whiskey with our ice cream and do a date night. During the day we want to be that place you can take your kids and everyone has ice cream, and at night be the place where you go out with a babysitter for drinks and dessert or a girls night out—like a coffee shop of ice cream where you might sit for an hour. We are hoping to be an alternative late night dessert place, and we’ve talked about doing poetry readings or acoustic music. We want to do fun things that keep people coming back.