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Nostalgia & Technology Blend Ice Cream at Smitten

Nostalgia & Technology Blend Ice Cream at Smitten

Ah, ice cream. There’s nothing quite like a delicious scoop, perfectly creamy and flavorful, to make any day just a little bit sweeter. Las Vegas has a brand new ice cream import in town—Smitten, based in San Francisco. We got a behind-the-scenes look at Smitten’s newest location inside The Sundry at  UnCommons.

Smitten Ice Cream (Courtesy The Sundry)
Smitten Ice Cream (Courtesy The Sundry)

A Scoop of Smitten 

What makes Smitten so special? Well, it all starts with their secret weapon: the Brrr® Machine. “I started the company basically straight out of grad school. I’ve always had a passion for ice cream, ever since I was a little kid,” Founder Robyn Sue Fisher told us after we took the Brrr® Machine out for a spin and got to blend our own custom flavor. “Looking at how industrialized ice cream had gotten, I wanted to go back in time and make it fresh again, but I wanted to do it in a way that was fast enough to order. I had this vision of making fresh ice cream in under two minutes, and I wanted to take it up a notch and bring super clean and fresh products. I set out with that sort of naive optimism and spent the next two years with a retired aerospace engineer prototyping in his basement. Once we had a working prototype, I became a street cart vendor for a year and strapped the Brrr® Machine to a wagon and pulled it around the streets of San Francisco. We got more and more publicity and more and more followers. I opened my first little store out of an old shipping container, and over the last decade, I’ve worked really hard to perfect the machine, and I dabbled in everything from the software to the hardware to the electronics.”

This incredible piece of technology is the key to Smitten’s success, using food-grade liquid nitrogen and a special one-of-a-kind system to create ice cream that is unlike anything else on the planet. With double helical mixing blades and software algorithms that measure viscosity, every scoop is an absolute masterpiece. “I had one original prototype, and then I made four of them for our first little store. And then basically, we’ve sort of had a continual improvement since that time. So we’ve had seven generations,” Fisher said of the technology. “We have seven patents on the machine. So on the mechanical side, on the software side and electronic side, so it’s actually as nerdy as you can possibly make ice cream, but we like to say it’s so complex so that the product can be so simple!”

The newly opened food hall, The Sundry, is the perfect home for the first Smitten location outside of California. “I just have so much admiration for what Patrick and his team are doing and the talent that sort of came together to create this project,” Fisher told us. “I feel privileged to be a part of it with the brand that I’ve cared so much about over the years. So it was kind of just a natural evolution.”

Flavors will vary, but some you can expect to find on most given days. “So, on a daily basis, we have four flavors. Currently, they are sort of the mainstay, tried and true flavors of the season,” Fisher explained. “And then some of the quintessential beloved flavors that we’ve perfected over the years. What we’re hoping for is more and more playful, sort of whimsical flavors, as more is happening here.”

Even the name holds special significance for the company. “The name Smitten was chosen with a lot of care because I really wanted to blend the nostalgic idea of your grandma’s ice cream,” Fisher told us. “Homemade fresh and brought it into the modern day in a way that was approachable and warm despite the technology angle.”

 

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