Sub Zero Ice Cream in North Naples uses a patented flash-freezing process to create frozen treats before your eyes using blasts of liquid nitrogen.
The store, which opened July 3 in the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt, doesn’t even have pre-frozen products. Everything is freshly frozen and made specifically for each customer by employees they refer to as cryogenic technicians and ice cream therapists.
The local freeze team includes co-owners Hassan and Kelly Zaban, as well as their son, Abraham. The Naples residents signed on as Sub Zero franchisees because of the novelty and quality of the project, and are considering other locations in this market.
Sub Zero is a growing chain with nearly 50 locations. Six of those are in Florida. The North Naples store is the only location in Southwest Florida, but the chain has two in Sarasota, two near Miami on the east coast, and one in Islamorada in the Keys.
The huge, shiny tank is the first thing you see across the colorful store. Because the silver cryogenic storage tank has a giant “N” on it, denoting nitrogen from the periodic table of elements, it’s a bit unnerving. But, then, once you are welcomed by friendly staff and a multitude of choices, the initial shock melts into awe.
- First, you select a serving size: small ($4.99), regular ($5.99) or large ($6.99). These prices are for cup containers; a waffle bowl is an extra $1.25, and a chocolate-dipped waffle bowl $1.75.
- Then, you choose a cream: original for the creamiest ice cream, custard enriched with egg yolk, reduced fat, lactose free, sugarfree sweetened with Splenda, fat-free yogurt or dairy-free almond milk.
- Next, settle on a flavor. The 40 options range from amaretto to white chocolate. One recent entourage picked black raspberry, bubble gum and coffee. In addition to the ordinary vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors are some options that are a little out of the ordinary: brownie batter, marshmallow, peanut butter, piña colada, salted caramel and watermelon.
- Complement your flavor with a mix-in, which includes fruits such as berries and mangos, nuts such as almonds and pecans, and sweets such as cheesecake, cookie dough, English toffee, espresso powder, gummy bears and Reese’s pieces. One mix-in item is free with each purchase, and additional ones are 75 cents each.
- Finally, you can even choose a chill factor, whether you want your ice cream soft, medium or firm.“Most people get it regular consistency, medium, but it can be done any way you like,” Zaban said. “Anything in here can be done the way you like. We aim to please the customer.”
Once all your choices are made, move down the line to watch your concoction being stirred in an aluminum bowl while being periodically shot with liquid nitrogen vapor from a frosty, gold nozzle.
The thrill of seeing this fascinating process in action is worth a visit. But, of course, you also get to enjoy the taste of your custom chemistry creation.
Sub Zero Ice Cream, 2359 Vanderbilt Beach Road, suite 408, is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays. For information, call 239-260-5716, or go to facebook.com/SubZeroIceCreamNaples.