Fro Zone, the first restaurant of its kind to offer these Thai-inspired ice cream rolls in Milwaukee opened its doors on June 1. Since then, the line has been consistently out of the door. Fro Zone gets its name from a Disney “Incredibles” character with freezing abilities.The trend has been all over Instagram and Facebook recently—cream and toppings poured onto a cold stainless steal slab, smeared around with spatulas and rolled up into separate ice cream rolls.
Mike Kaid, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, seized the opportunity to open a rolled ice cream shop on Brady Street with Ahsan Sikander Gondal after watching videos and realizing that Milwaukee had nothing like it. Kaid acquired most of his retail knowledge from working in family businesses like Circle K Pantry in the Third Ward.
Today, on Tuesday July 11, my friends and I decided to roll on up after dinner to see what all the fuss was about. As usual, there were more than 20 people in line in front of us. On the menu, there was six flavor options, all priced at $6.95. The layout of the service line, was my first moment of confusion. I expected to just walk up to the end of the counter and put my order and move down the line like I would do at Ian’s Pizza. However, the counter has three stations where each worker is preparing the ice cream rolls. The store was unorganized. I didn’t know where to stand to place my order and none of the workers gave clear directions. Even when I walked up to place my order, the man behind the counter left me confused after he walked away to slowly prepare the cream. All workers seemed to be lacking customer service skills.
One fun part about the experience, was watching the ice cream be prepared right in front of me. I only ordered the coffee roll, so I didn’t have any mix-ins. My friends, on the other hand, ordered the campfire s’mores roll which was prepared with a pop-tart and cream. It looked like an odd over-easy egg with a pop-tart as the yolk before it was cut up and rolled out. The toppings selection seemed limited, with about nine items to choose from. I chose graham crackers, a piece of Hershey’s chocolate, and strawberries. My friends said that they were not offered any toppings other than graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows that went along with their campfire s’mores roll.
Did the taste blow me out of the water? No. It tasted like ice cream–nothing spectacular. As a Wisconsinite, I’d prefer some creamier custard. I was kind of shocked by how cold it really was. It seems like an obvious observation but because the ice cream is prepared on a minus 15-degree slab, it is colder than most ice cream. I would not recommend it if you have sensitive teeth.
At the end of our visit, my friends and I were feeling quite ‘meh’ towards this new ice cream trend. I probably wouldn’t return or take my service elsewhere. I think this establishment could use some time to work out its kinks. However, Mike Kaid’s brother just opened a trendy donut shop on North Avenue called Donut Squad. I was left much more impressed with his establishment.
I give this shop an overall 2.5/5 rolls.