If spring break spoiled your taste buds, or awakened an adventurous spirit within you, Urban Ice delightfully challenges conventional ice cream.
Rolled ice cream has been a popular photo-worthy trend since 2009. Originating in Thailand, it has successfully made its way to North America. The process uses a frozen flat surface to solidify the ice cream base in a way that creates a smoother than usual texture. The curls of ice cream are completed with mix-ins, toppings and drizzles.
Urban Ice is located in downtown Norfolk—a block away from MacArthur Mall and amidst a neighborhood of intriguing restaurants. Unlike many rolled ice cream businesses, it offers unlimited customizations, mixed in or on top.
Urban Ice juxtaposes their contemporary desserts with a retro diner storefront. An upgraded jukebox is tucked in the doorway while neon pop-art paintings adorn the walls. Black and white vinyl booths make up the majority of limited seating, but a miniature loft provides additional accommodations for busy days.
If rolled ice cream isn’t your go-to dessert, they also serve regular scoops of ice cream, naturally gluten free crepes, macarons, cakes and even coffee, bubble tea and milkshakes.
Their extensive menu easily caters to bold and conservative taste buds. A serving of rolled ice cream can be made vegan or dairy-based, with flavors from vanilla to saffron. Mixed in and on top, a customer can choose as many of their fruity, crunchy or decadent fixings for one set cost.
Because Urban Ice serves crepes, they can “blanket” your rolled ice cream for a fascinating contrast—wrapping it in a freshly made French crepe.
Not only are the desserts delicious, but customers can be entertained by watching their orders being made over the glass counter. The staff are friendly, and can even personalize your order by drawing your name or a picture in the ice cream prior to rolling it.
Urban Ice is closed on Mondays, but stays open 5-10 p.m. on the remainder of weekdays. On Saturday, its hours are 4-11 p.m., and 3-9 p.m. on Sunday. If you don’t want to have to find a tight parallel parking spot in the city, GrubHub allows customers to order ahead and pickup (delivery is unavailable to Virginia Wesleyan’s campus, unfortunately) on-site, only 6 miles from campus.
Pricing varies, but for roughly ten dollars you can completely customize your dessert with even an unreasonable amount of fruit, cereal, cheesecake, even cookies and candy. If you post your bouquet of ice cream swirls—or any of their desserts—and tag @urbaniceus on Instagram, Urban Ice offers a social media discount on your next purchase.
by Sasha Saxon