Ice cream rolls into Dinkytown

Wonders Ice Cream will open near the University of Minnesota campus by mid-September.

Imani Cruzen

One Two Three Sushi’s former Dinkytown location will soon welcome Wonders Ice Cream, the parlor that first introduced rolled ice cream to Minnesota.

Co-founded by Joungkong Yang and Kit Houngnakhone in August 2017 in St. Paul, Wonders Ice Cream offers 20 signature flavors of ice cream. The Dinkytown spot, which is expected to open by mid-September, will be its fifth location.

“We’ve always wanted to have Wonders in Dinkytown,” Yang said. “We thought that it was a really nice area and there’s a lot of students on campus and we felt that we can bring something really cool to campus.”

To make the dessert, ice cream flavors are mixed and spread on an ice grill at minus 20 degrees before hibachi scrapers are used to roll the ice cream sheet and toppings are added. The method gives the parlor its name, a reference to the Seven Wonders of the World.

“It’s a really cool process so we kind of felt that our process looked like the eighth wonder,” Yang said. 

Marvis Monteiro, a first-year graduate student at the University of Minnesota, said he’s had rolled ice cream before and would be interested in going to Wonders Ice Cream. He said the customization rolled ice cream offers appeals to him. 

“It’s like everything is in the power of the consumer. It’s like he gets to decide what flavor will it be, what would he like to add,” Monteiro said. “It’s not like a conventional box of ice cream where you have a definite flavor.”

Yang said the store continues to experiment with new ice cream flavors. The parlor is considering adding an entire line of sour ice cream, based off one of the most popular flavors.

There are Dinkytown locations that offer ice cream, like Annie’s Parlour and the Purple Onion Café, but Wonders Ice Cream is currently the only store entirely dedicated to it.

Randal Gast, president of the Dinkytown Business Alliance and owner of the neighboring Qdoba, said he was surprised when Chilly Billy’s Frozen Yogurt in Dinkytown closed in 2015. He said he hopes Wonders Ice Cream can prove successful.  

“It’s good to see something different,” Gast said.

Yang believes it will be, stressing the store’s overall atmosphere, not just the dessert.  

“There’s really good music playing and you hear the chopping of the ice cream and you hear all the rolling and the smashing,” Yang said. “And then you see all the people in it and it’s just kind of this really cool and unique experience coming into our store.”