Iggy’s Italian Ice Brings Unique Treat to Mansfield
Mar 21, 2016 01:32PM
By Ryan Frisch
Iggy’s Italian Ice is new in town and it’s quickly turning Mansfield sweet-lovers into raving fans with its authentic Italian ice treats. Husband and wife Toby and Melinda Golson, along with business manager and partner Dave McCleery, just opened the shop in January over on E. Broad Street near Vernon Newsom Stadium and have been busy promoting the store and its original treats.
“We got this store open pretty quickly,” says Toby Golson, a former Marine and now private security expert, “because we believe so much in this product and its uniqueness that we know it will be a hit in Mansfield.” He explains that Italian ice is not ice cream, gelato or shaved ice. Italian ice is fruit, sugar and water mixed together in an ice machine. The ice is a very fine textured, smooth ice similar to a sorbet in consistency.
Additionally, Italian ice has no dairy products or eggs in it – so it’s vegan safe. It’s water-based and typically includes fruits and fruit flavors that are mixed in during the freezing process. “It must be prepared at a precise temperature and with the perfect ice formula in order to get it right,” says Golson. Most people associate Italian ice with the East Coast but it’s beginning to show up all over the country.
The Iggy’s Italian Ice brand was first created and launched by Golson’s brother-in-law Cody Brown. He experienced Italian ice while in Florida and was so impressed that he came back to Texas and created his own version of the treat because he couldn’t find it anywhere here. He built his own machine to make the Italian ice and blended his own proprietary recipes and flavors. He opened the first store in San Angelo in 2013.
One of the unique features of what Iggy’s Italian Ice features is to actually offer Italian ice and traditional ice cream so customers can choose either. But here’s where it gets really interesting, Iggy’s allows you to mix multiple flavors of Italian ice and ice cream in a cup, layer-upon-layer. They call it “Gelati.”
“Everything here is homemade with fresh ingredients we have shipped in,” says Golson, referring to both the Italian ice and ice cream they make. “We can combine or mix our Italian ice and ice cream together or sell them separately, whatever the customer prefers.”
Customers can choose from “gourmet ice cream flavors” like red velvet, blueberry cobbler, cookie monster and a dozen others, or go straight for the Italian ice flavors such as strawberry, mango, blue raspberry and several others. The most popular flavors of ice cream, according to McCleery, are “vanilla and Cookie Monster,” and for the Italian ice, “Texas Sunset or Texas Sunrise.” The latter two feature a blend of apples, peaches and orange flavors, and banana, pineapple, and mango flavors, respectively.
McCleery says the business is diligently pursuing the local schools and wants to partner with them in as many ways as possible. “We plan to have ‘Spirit Nights’ here where we donate a portion of the proceeds back to the schools,” he says. The five part-time employees at Iggy’s all attend Mansfield High Schools.
The location for Iggy’s Italian Ice was freshly remodeled and renovated by Golson and McCleery late last year. Shiny white tiles dominate the interior walls with green tile accents. Bits of orange and blue paint bring the space some color. The centerpiece of the parlor is a mammoth chalkboard complemented with a big bucket of colored chalk. Customers are encouraged to draw or leave other graffiti while they are here for a cold treat. Elsewhere, the walls are adorned with football jerseys from the Mansfield area high schools. It’s a reflection of their desire to be a part of the community.
With the summer months not far away, they expect business to really pick up. “We have inside seating and will have patio seating for when the weather allows,” says Golson. If things go well, he says, he hopes to expand adding other locations in Tarrant County.
On our visit we sampled the famous Cookie Monster ice cream, a creamy blend of chocolate chip cookie dough, crunched up Oreos and puréed graham crackers. It was blue, of course, in reference to Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster character. But the real treat was the Texas Sunrise and Texas Sunset. As promised these Italian ice flavors had a sorbet consistency and just had a lighter feel than that heavy creamy sense you so often get from ice cream.
Iggy’s Italian Ice is located at 3807 E Broad St, Suite 103, in Mansfield. It’s open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter for more information.
Not Your Father’s Ice Cream
Italian ice is a predominantly East Coast treat that has slowly spread to other parts of the country. It’s also sometimes referred to as ‘water ice’ and it’s a unique cold treat. What it’s not is ice cream, shaved ice or gelato. Rather, it is a sweetened frozen dessert made with fruit from concentrates, juices or purées and sometimes includes other natural or artificial food flavorings. Its texture is very similar to sorbet.
Interestingly, however, Italian ice is made with a similar kind of process used to make traditional ice cream – the ingredients are mixed together while freezing. But Italian ice does not contain gluten, dairy or egg products. It typically comes in a variety of flavors including strawberry, cherry, orange, and lemon, among others.
Q&A with Iggy’s Italian Ice Owner Toby Golson
When we caught up with Toby Golson, his wife Melinda, and partner Dave McCleery in early February the temperatures were topping the mid-70s. Perfect weather for a couple of scoops of Italian ice at their newly opened Iggy’s Italian Ice on Broad Street in east Mansfield. Golson is a former Marine who now works in private security but maintains side interests such as owning rental property and overseeing a farm in West Texas. His brother-in-law developed a secret recipe for Italian ice and opened the first Iggy’s Italian Ice in San Angelo a couple of years ago. Golson says when he tasted the treat last year while visiting he was hooked and queried about opening a location in Mansfield. They opened the first week in January and are aggressively promoting the brand and product. Here’s more of what we found out about him and the business.
Q: What makes your food/menu unique?
A: Iggy's Italian Ice and gourmet ice cream is unique because all of our product is made fresh daily, right in our store. We use real fruit for a refreshing treat that's unlike anything you'll find anywhere else. Plus, we are always developing new flavors, so our menu is ever-changing, providing a new tasting experience with each visit.
Q: Any new menu items on the way?
A: Oh, yes! We are very excited to announce the “Iggy's Sandwich.” Our customers will soon be able to enjoy their favorite Iggy's gourmet ice cream snuggled between two of their favorite, freshly-made cookies.
Q: What is the most popular or most requested item you make?
A: This is one of the greatest aspects about eating at Iggy's - everyone can create their very own unique combination of Italian ice and gourmet ice cream. Our customers routinely tell our team about their “new favorites.” Each visit is a new adventure in flavor exploring!
Q: How do you want customers to remember their experience?
A: Today's world places a lot of stress on the American family. At Iggy's, your family becomes part of our family. It is the mission of each Iggy's team member to ensure that every customer has the best, most personable experience at our store, to provide a family-friendly environment where customers are able to enjoy an affordable and amazing dessert, and to create a special place where families can relax and enjoy each other's company over our delicious treats. Together our team will make sure you always leave with a smile on your face, dreaming about your next visit with us.
Q: If you go out to eat, where do you go?
A: Our Place. We have eaten there since their doors first opened and we view the staff as family. As a matter of fact, several of Our Place staff's teens are a part of the Iggy's team. Many a meeting about starting Iggy's was held in their back corner booths.
Q: What are your other hobbies?
A: Both Dave and I are active competitive 3-gun shooters. A friend, Jeff Chase, has a company called Lone Star Security and puts on national matches. Dave and I help develop, build and serve as RO's (range officers) at Jeff's national 3-gun matches. But our favorite pastime is helping another friend, Barret Blum, and his company Last Shadow hunt feral hogs from his MD-6 little bird helicopter.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote or advice you’ve received or given?
A: “I alone can not change society for the better. But I can radically transform my own consciousness, overturning the conditioning that limits my potential. We can all do this, one by one. Over time we can change ourselves to the degree that society changes from the inside out, giving birth to a new way of being, manifesting our birthright of living in a peaceful and abundant world. Have no fear. Trust yourself. Live your full potential.” (Unknown)
Q: If you had to choose another profession what would it be?
A: I would try my hand at teaching -- what an honorable profession! Through their students, teachers mold and sculpt a society's future.
By Kerry Pipes