The men behind the Halal Guys expansion into Southern California are introducing Orange County to yet another new concept: churned ice cream and croissants stuffed with the frozen dessert.
In fact, the type of ice cream that Churned Creamery — opening in February at Union Market Tustin, an artisanal marketplace in The District at Tustin Legacy — produces hasn't been seen anywhere other than Italy, according to marketing consultant Thomas Pham.
He and Phillip Hoang opened Halal Guys — a Mediterranean casual-dining restaurant based in New York — in Costa Mesa and Long Beach last year. And they are partnering again on this latest project — but this time only in marketing consultant roles — with Yorba Linda-based Global International Foods.
Instead of being shipped in frozen containers, like at many other ice cream shops, the ice cream at Churned Creamery will be freshly made in front of customers in slow-churning blenders.
Ingredients like fresh fruit for the sorbets and California-grown pistachios will be poured into the blenders, which will continue to churn throughout the day. The machines are supposed to alert employees if they are running low on a mixture and keep the ice cream at a perfect temperature so it's not too cold but more like a gelato texture.
"We control the ingredients that go into the ice cream mix," said Pham.
"Unlike other ice cream places that normally use a co-packer or paper containers filled with ice cream and placed in a freezer, ours is made fresh in the machines right before your eyes. The machine knows what temperature it should be at, how much should be in there, what consistency and all those great things. The machine is very smart."
The churning process isn't the only thing that should make the ice cream good, Pham said, noting the influence of Global International Foods, which creates ice cream flavors and ingredients for chefs and other companies.
Anna Blackman, CEO of Global International Foods, said now is the perfect time for a Churned Creamery and Orange County is the ideal location.
"There are so many ice cream shops opening up all throughout Southern California right now," she said. "We've always been passionate about ice cream, from teaching so many in the restaurant and food industry how to make ice cream all these years to finally being able to offer our own concept. With all of our experience in the ice cream industry and now with these machines, we really believe we have something unique and special that will set us apart from everyone else in the ice cream shop game."
Churned Creamery will offer more than 20 flavors of ice cream but only 16 at a time, as flavors are rotated. They include Banana Foster Pie with graham cracker crumbs, Cookie Butter, Coconut Cream Nutella and Organic Matcha Green Tea.
Also available will be the CroCream, a freshly baked butter croissant stuffed with ice cream and toppings. It will cost $4.95, while a single scoop of ice cream will be $1 less.
Pham, 30, of Newport Beach, insists the cold ice cream won't melt in the warm croissants. He said it is a matter of maintaining the proper temperature of both.
"We make our buns in small batches. That way they're always fresh, and we keep them at the exact right temperature to make sure they're not too hot to put the ice cream on," he said. "We want it warm, but we don't want the ice cream to melt, so what's really cool about us is we control the temperature of our ice cream, so when we put that cold ice cream in there, it's not going to just melt out. We think we've hit it on the nail that everything is at the right temperature, so when we combine it it doesn't get all mushy."
Pham said Union Market Tustin, which also houses The Kroft, Portola Coffee and Front Porch Pops, is the perfect place for this new concept, and he expects it to be successful because of its uniqueness. He said he hopes to open more Churned Creamery locations in Southern California.
"The Union Market has some amazing brands," he said. "It's a great place for smaller concepts to be in, and we thought we would be a great fit there.... You can visit 20 different ice cream shops and you won't see anything even close to this."