Forget soft serve or scooped. There’s a new ice cream formation in town: rolled. Thai street food is to thank for the cylindrical shape that’s making its way to Columbus via husband and wife duo Zach and Ashlie Sanders.
A honeymoon to Thailand just over a year ago introduced the couple to the treat. It was love at first roll.
“We thought it was amazing and so intriguing,” Zach says. Add in a food-loving city back home, and “I thought it was so cool and unique that it would fit perfect in Columbus.”
With visions of their own little street stand in Columbus, the couple spent an evening of their honeymoon hanging out with a rolled ice cream vendor learning more about the process.
“It looked pretty easy, but the craziest part is it’s extremely hard to do,” Zach says.
Back on Columbus soil, the Sanders ordered the required equipment from overseas and started experimenting over the winter.
“The hardest part was coming up with the ice cream base,” Zach says. Too many add-ins or a recipe that’s slightly off and there’s no rolls to be had. “We had to come up with a simple and fresh ice cream base,” Zach explains.
That base includes milk and cream from and Ohio dairy and organic cane sugar. There’s no cooking involved, just a perfected ratio that the couple makes fresh the day before events – which is currently the only way to get your spoon on a roll.
The couple thought they would introduce the treat through pop-up events, the first being at Mikey’s Late Night Slice during the May 2016 Gallery Hop. Next it was on to keeping Comfest-goers cool.
“It just exploded into a whole other animal,” Zach says.
Lines amassed quickly, and it’s that’s reception that’s kept the couple going while balancing full-time jobs.
“When we were at Comfest, I turned around and saw all these people sitting down in little circles eating our ice cream and instantly thought I could not give up now,” Zach says. “Startup companies take up a lot of time but it’s important to keep pushing forward, even when you can’t see the light at the tunnel. The reason why my wife and I kept doing events was because of all the reactions we were getting and how many people would come out to our events.”
Food entrepreneurship is a totally new adventure for the Sanders – which means a learning curve on everything from how to make their ice cream to legally sell it. Google and many calls to the health department pushed the process along. A graphic designer in their network nailed their vision for a logo – a purple elephant that reminds them of Thailand.
While the temperatures may have dropped outside, Simply Rolled is still serving up their ice cream – they just had to think of some creative partnerships to do it. As the festival season wound down this Fall, Zach took note of the opening of Oats & Barley Market in Short North.
“I figured I would email them to see if they would be interested in showcasing our product at their store,” he says. “I thought worse-case scenario they would say no and I would keep looking for other places, but to my surprise they said yes.”
Oats & Barley has hosted several pop-ups for Simply Rolled, including the next chance to try the treat on Saturday, January 28 from 1:00 – 6:00 p.m.
“They really gave us the opportunity to keep the momentum from the summer festival season going into the fall and winter,” Zach says.
The couple is exploring what’s next for Simply Rolled, potentially looking for a joint-venture or restaurants or stores interested in bringing the concept in-house.
Follow along on Facebook at facebook.com/simplyrolledicecream.