Amid the blocks of bustling King Street, a new factory is preparing to open. But it doesn’t need an industrial permit to hawk its wares. No, what’s rolling off the line within these four walls is something sweet indeed — handmade ice cream, hot (or, more accurately, cold) off the press.
Founded in Arlington, the Nicecream Factory is preparing to set up shop in Old Town soon, and co-owner Sandra Tran says her team couldn’t be more excited about their expansion to 726 King St.
“We’re just really excited to bring the concept to Old Town because we feel that it’s very family-friendly,” she said. “Kids love our ice-cream store; they love to come and watch us make it.”
In the world of ice cream shops, Nicecream — which Tran calls a “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-style place” — stands out.
“We’re hand-crafting ice cream the way that ice cream should be made,” she said.
And, according to Tran, the way ice cream should be made is this: Fresh and on the spot, with local ingredients (the eatery’s fruit comes from Virginia and Maryland, for instance), and flash-frozen with liquid nitrogen before serving.
Nicecream will sport a rotating cast of about six to eight flavors a day in its Old Town location, Tran says, which will change character based on the season. Expect “a variety of berries” in the summer and warm, comforting flavors such as caramel, cinnamon, candied walnuts, and the like in winter, she said.
Founded in May 2013 via a successful Kickstarter campaign and beginning sales as a pop-up in Dupont Circle’s Science Club, Nicecream opened its Arlington store in May 2014.
“We were just shocked by how many people were so excited about Nicecream” during the Kickstarter campaign, Tran said. “People all over the world were donating. … It just grew from there.”
Setting up shop in Arlington at first was a no-brainer, as well, she said: “We (Tran and her longtime boyfriend and business partner Gilbert Welsford) live in Arlington, so it was just kind of a good fit.”
Tran, a native of Falls Church, had always had her heart set on expanding to Alexandria — it was simply a matter of finding the right match.
“We’ve always been frankly obsessed with Old Town,” she laughed. “… We just have been so happy and excited, and everyone we talk to has just been the most welcoming.”
If You Go
Nicecream, 726 King St.
Opening: March 2017. “It’s coming quicker than we think,” co-owner Sandra Tran laughs.
Try this: Peanut butter cup ice cream made with peanut butter, white chocolate chips, spices, and chocolate. “We roast our own peanuts in-house, so whenever we make it the whole place smells like peanut butter,” Tran says.
Hope Nelson owns and operates the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at email@example.com.