Checking Out the Local Food and Drink Scene
Apr 12, 2013
02:35 PMThe Chow Down
Calliope Ice Cream Coming to Ian’s Pizza on State
It hardly looks like summer outside, but signs of better days are within reach. Nothing screams warm weather like ice cream, and soon Ian’s Pizza on State will have Wisconsinites’ favorite summer treat in stock.
Calliope Ice Cream, founded in August 2011 by Jason Borgmann in the basement of the Weary Traveler, just started production on their Graham Cracker flavor, which will be sold by the pint at Ian’s State Street location within the next week, according to Calliope co-owner Staci Fritz.
“We’ve been fiddling with our recipes and trying to see what works at that scale,” Fritz says about upping their production from eight pints at a time (how Borgmann started at the Weary) to 1,000 pints at a time to meet demand for retail.
The Calliope team, comprised of co-owner trio Borgmann, Fritz and Nick “Marty” Martin, perfected the recipe for the Graham Cracker flavor and have been overseeing production at the Chocolate Shoppe’s dairy processing plant, which has the resources and equipment that a start-up like Calliope isn’t quite ready to shoulder.
While the Graham Cracker variety might not sound as adventurous as the forthcoming Old Fashioned and chili-infused Hot Peanut Butter flavors (which should hit freezer shelves at Ian’s within a month or two), Fritz says once people try the Graham Cracker, they’ll notice it’s more complex than what you would expect in an ice cream.
“We’re trying to come up with some more unusual flavors,” she says. “We try to push the envelope of what you can do with ice cream.”
And Borgmann is the brainpower behind all that creativity. He initially caught the attention of Fritz and Martin when he was still flying solo at the Weary Traveler, experimenting with out-there ice cream flavors like caramelized onion. Fritz and Martin were part of a group of Ian’s employees who would head over to the Weary for non-pizza nourishment post-work, and after trying Borgmann’s unique and delicious ice cream several times, they approached him in early 2012 to see if he’d be interested in selling his treats at Ian’s, which would soon have freezer space in its new (now current) location across State Street in the former Madison Children’s Museum spot.
Not only was Borgmann interested in selling his ice cream at Ian’s, but he was also looking for business partners, and Fritz and Martin were intrigued.
“It fits in really well with what Ian’s is all about,” Fritz says about a start-up like Calliope. She says Ian’s (as well as the Weary Traveler) has a history of supporting local small businesses, food and otherwise.
Now that the three co-owners have a few recipes in production, they’re continuing to develop new flavors and looking for more retail opportunities.
But Fritz has an idea for something even bigger.
“I have this vision for a really kick-ass ice cream truck,” she says.
We'll be waiting.
Photo courtesy of Calliope Ice Cream.