By Joe Southern
Ice cream doesn’t get any fresher – or colder – than this.
Sub Zero Ice Cream and Yogurt opened Friday, June 17, in Sugar Land, bringing to the city a dessert experience like no other. The customer selects the ingredients, which are mixed together and then flash-frozen with a blast of liquid nitrogen at -371 degrees.
The Sub Zero franchise is owned and operated by Salim Gheewalla and his family, including his wife Salima, father Nooralla and mother Noorjehan. It’s only the second to open in the Houston area and is located at 15810 Southwest Freeway, Ste. 300, near Hwy. 6.
“It’s made-to-order ice cream,” Gheewalla said.
He said the customer can choose from regular ice cream, yogurt, sugar-free, low-fat, non-dairy and vegan, select from a variety of flavors and then add the “fix-ins” – a wide assortment of fruits, nuts, candies, cakes, etc. to blend into the creamy mixture. The big bowl of ingredients is then passed down the line to a worker who blasts it with liquid nitrogen while stirring it into cold, creamy ice cream. As the nitrogen vaporizes it creates a cloud that pours across the counter like a thick fog.
“There are no preservatives and no chemicals,” Gheewalla said.
He said the nitrogen is safe, as it is an element that occurs naturally in the air. The process and the company were created by the husband and wife team of Jerry and Naomi Hancock in Orem, Utah, in 2004. Gheewalla said he was attracted to it because it blends food, fun and science.
He employs about 15 people. “We hire local and we hire youth,” he said.
Gheewalla has plenty of experience with restaurant franchises, having been previously employed in restaurant development for Subway. He also works as an Internet technology professional.
The ice cream is served in three sizes – four, eight and 12 ounces – and ranges in price from $3.99 to $5.99. There are also “sensations” customers can choose from if they don’t want the headache of creating their own confectionary concoction. They sensations come with colorful names such as Citric Substance, Key Lime Voltage, Magnetic Mint and Mass Mocha Madness, to name a few, and are served in a freshly made waffle bowl.
If the reaction of those who attended a chamber of commerce ribbon cutting preview is any indication, Sub Zero will be chilling Sugar Land sweet tooth’s for a long time to come.
“We’re here to serve the city,” Gheewalla said.