Freezy Street is on a roll. If you haven't seen them on the local news or heard about them through friends, Freezy Street is a brand-new rolled ice cream store located on 2633 St. Claude Ave. For almost the entire opening day on July 15, Freezy Street had lines out the door, and business has not slowed since. It seems like everyone in the city and beyond is trying to get their hands on these delicious treats.
A huge part of Freezy Street's success is thanks to the visual appeal of watching the rollers make the ice cream from scratch. To do this, they take a simple dairy base—no stabilizers or preservatives necessary—and pour it on a cold pan that sits at a temperature of -20 degrees Fahrenheit. They then add any other ingredients you want to flavor the ice cream, mash it up to mix the flavors, spread it out into an even square, and roll it up. This whole process takes about three minutes. This is why there is sometimes a wait for the ice cream; with three cold pans, the orders can pile up on a busy day. But trust and believe that the wait is worth it. Making ice cream on the spot with fresh ingredients is not only a cool sight, it's also delicious.
Owners Fran LaMagna and Adam Enterkin first got the idea while visiting New York, where Fran is from. Once Fran's sister introduced her to rolled ice cream, she immediately fell in love and knew she had to bring it to New Orleans. To give some context on where the food trend began, rolled ice—also known as stir-fried ice cream—originated in Thailand, where it is sold by street vendors. It only popped up around 2009 and did not become widely popular until 2011 or 2012 when it started spreading to neighboring countries. By 2015, news had spread about rolled ice cream through viral videos.
Owners Fran LaMagna and Adam Enterkin
The inception and growth of Freezy Street has been remarkably fast. Fran and Adam had been working as pedicabbers and saving money for the past couple of years, but they did not even decide to start the business until this past Christmas. They ordered the machine as soon as they were back from Christmas vacation and then started going around to different events in the city selling as a pop-up. They were regulars at the Decatur Street art market, which created considerable buzz with tourists, as well as at Jazz in the Park events, which garnered them local fans. Many of these people soon became regulars, and the word of mouth began to spread from there.
From the beginning, Fran and Adam created sharable videos showing the ice cream-rolling process to get people interested. Fran says this would get about 10 to 15 people to their pop-up on any given day. But this was nothing compared to the crowd the opening day video created. Fran and Adam set up a $50 gift card reward for anybody who shared the video on Facebook, and this led to the video being shared close to 4,000 times. As a result, hundreds of people showed up to the grand opening. The positive word of mouth has kept up, and subsequently, so have the crowds. Adam has been pleasantly surprised at how big the crowds have been, while Fran had a feeling the shop would take off. But even she admits she did not expect it to be as big as it is.
Fran came up with everything that is on the menu herself by experimenting in her kitchen. There are a few classics thrown in there: The Cookie Monster, for example, which mixes an Oreo with the base. But there are other funkier flavors, like the Sweet and Salty, which is caramel, pretzels, and Himalayan sea salt; and the Key Lime, which mixes limes and a graham cracker. Fran also created the vegan base herself, which consists of almond milk and coconut cream. For all of their future creations, Fran and Adam are committed to thinking outside of the box for new and different ways to make ice cream, snowballs, and how to combine the two. There are plans to bring soft serve into the mix, but at the moment, they are brainstorming ways to make that more exciting than simply chocolate and vanilla.
What makes Freezy Street so charming is its homey feel. Fran and Adam built the business on their own from the ground up, including everything you see in the store (and the name, which came from repeatedly hearing the song "Easy Street" on The Walking Dead). From the fresh ingredients, to the inviting atmosphere, to the visual experience, there's no better time to check out New Orleans's most popular new ice cream shop.
Photos by Zach Ranson