Bethany Clough

New Yorkers wait in line three hours for this ice cream. Now it’s coming to Fresno

Rolled ice cream is hot, and it's coming to Fresno

Roll Me Some makes ice cream in front of your eyes by pouring cream and toppings onto a below-freezing surface. Then they roll it up.
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Roll Me Some makes ice cream in front of your eyes by pouring cream and toppings onto a below-freezing surface. Then they roll it up.

Getting ice cream is always fun.

Now imagine watching your order being made from scratch in front of you, the cream freezing into ice cream in 2.5 minutes while ingredients like cookie bits and chocolate sauce are folded in.

This new-to-Fresno concept is called rolled ice cream. The ice cream is rolled into little tubes placed on end in a cup. You may have seen videos circulating on Facebook of rolled ice cream made on a cold metal slab in places like Thailand.

In New York City, people have waited in line for three hours for this ice cream.

In a few weeks, Fresno will get its own rolled ice cream shop. Roll Me Some Artisanal Ice Cream is expected to open at Iron Bird Lofts in early June. Until then, the two full-time moms who own the business and their husbands are taking their mobile ice cream-making cart (nicknamed Rolinda) to weddings, birthdays and corporate events.

The kids like when we draw on their ice cream.

Mario Vejar, co-owner of Roll Me Some

The creative process has all the flair of teppanyaki, but with cold instead of flames, notes Heather Durham, who owns the business with neighbor and friend Vanessa Vejar. Kids in particular are mesmerized by it.

“They get so excited. They absolutely love it,” says Durham, who notes the cart typically uses a sneeze guard so little ones can get up close without the worry of germs.

How does it work?

Two metal slabs on the cart are cooled to -32 degrees Celsius (about -25 Fahrenheit). The process starts with a liquid cream base developed with the help of Fresno State’s dairy department that has no emulsifiers or stabilizers. The base is poured on the slab and worked with spatulas as ingredients are folded in, like fresh strawberries from a local farm, caramel sauce and strawberry syrup.

To make it more fun, they’ll pour caramel sauce, for example, into a heart shape.

“The kids like when we draw on their ice cream,” says Mario Vejar.

At the end, the ice cream is spread over the slab in a thin layer. It’s then scraped up into rolls (like HoHos, but more tasty). The rolls are placed on end in a cup and topped with cookies, graham crackers or chocolate sauce.

The ice cream is thicker and doesn’t melt as fast as regular ice cream, though it has all the flavor – and then some. Cookies and cream, a popular flavor, and includes a whole Oreo and a Pirouette cookie. Another popular flavor features Nutella, bananas and graham crackers.

A favorite of adults? Sir Crunch a Lot, made with Cap’N Crunch cereal.

“It’s like a bowl of Cap’N Crunch cereal, but with ice-cold milk,” says Vanessa Vejar.

Typically, a 16-ounce cup costs $7 and an 8-ounce kid size is $5. Roll Me Some hopes to open during the second week of June at its spot near the corner of Fulton and Divisadero streets, near Rio Açai Bowls.

More rolled ice cream coming

The business will have competition this summer when Clovis-based Two Cities Roasters expands its mobile coffee business to a storefront selling coffee and rolled ice cream. Two Cities Roasters and Rolled Ice Creamery will open in June at 608 Fourth Street, the shop with the brick front that used to house the 559 Local Tasting Room.

Rick Reeves runs the company with his wife and daughter and been roasting and selling coffee from its mobile coffee bar since 2013. Some of the rolled ice cream will be inspired by the shop’s lattes.

“If you like the Nutella latte, you’ll be able to order a Nutella ice cream” – and yes, it will have espresso in it, he says.

We were so pumped to be the people to bring this to Fresno and Clovis.

Vanessa Vejar, co-owner of Roll Me Some

Eventually, Roll Me Some plans to open more locations in the area.

The Vejars and the Durhams – who have nine children between their blended families – got the idea for the business during a date night at the Durhams’ house.

“We were so pumped to be the people to bring this to Fresno and Clovis,” Vanessa Vejar says.

For more information about Roll Me Some, call (559) 825-7204.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough