A new ice cream shop soon will open on Route 66 in downtown Galena, Kansas. But it’s not just any ice cream shop.
The proprietors of Eye Scream Labs at 606 S. Main St. use liquid nitrogen — which cools liquids at colder than 300 below zero — to make their sweet treats right on the premises. The shop plans to open Saturday, Oct. 4.
Shop owner David Endicott said he made his own ice cream as a sort of party trick, and the idea for a shop went from there. He said in an email:
I had read about making ice cream with liquid nitrogen online from a chemistry teacher’s blog. It looked like fun to me, so I began researching how I could do it at home. We started making ice cream for our family and friends at our Halloween parties and just for fun. It turned out to be a big hit, and the product we were turning out was so popular, people kept telling us we should open a store. My sons are the driving force behind this enterprise. They were the ones that really ran with the idea of opening a shop. I own and operate a computer consulting practice in Joplin, NeoTech Solutions, so I already have a full time job. My wife and I sat down with them and said “We will help you get this going if you are really committed to running it”. So here we are.
The process for making liquid nitrogen ice cream is really pretty simple. We make our ice cream base with only 3 ingredients. No eggs, no thickeners or emulsifiers, just milk, cream and sugar. We use the liquid nitrogen as a cooling agent and it goes directly into the mixture. Since the nitrogen is -321 degrees (f) below zero, as soon as it hits the ice cream mixture, it boils away, taking heat with it. In a few seconds the nitrogen in completely gone and the ice cream is frozen. In our lab we can freeze a batch of ice cream (about 4 liters, a little over a gallon) in about 3 minutes. We do this on our stage right in front of the customers, so they can see the process. It is pretty neat to watch the mixer churning away while fog pours out of the bowl and across the floor. We use a food grade nitrogen to make sure purity is high and as I mentioned, the nitrogen boils away almost instantly. […]
We have tried to make Eye Scream Labs a really fun place for families to come and enjoy a high quality premium ice cream, see a few interesting demonstrations, and maybe learn a little about cryogenics, the science of really cold things.
Endicott provided a few photos of what the inside of his shop looks like:
And, of course, a proper ice cream shop needs to show what if offers. Here are three flavors: pineapple upside-down cake, red velvet cheesecake and blackberry peach cobbler.
I’ve noticed in recent years liquid nitrogen used by a few chefs during the “molecular gastronomy” craze. And a few liquid-nitrogen ice cream shops have popped up in big cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, Albuquerque and Los Angeles. But this one in Galena wouldn’t have such a competitor for hundreds of miles in any direction.
Hours will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. The shop will be closed Monday and Tuesday. Endicott said he is considering expanding the shop’s hours in the spring.
You can also find Eye Scream Labs on Facebook.
After kids go see Tow Tater at Cars on the Route down the street, you know most of them will be begging to go to Endicott’s store once they learn of it.
(Hat tip to Renee Charles; images courtesy of David Endicott)