NatuRoll Creamery has been open less than a week, and already there’s a steady stream of customers. It could be that the Butler Street corridor finally has an ice-cream shop, and it’s near 90 degrees outside. Or maybe it’s the undeniable novelty of checking out Pittsburgh’s first and only purveyor of rolled ice cream.
Rolled ice cream, which is popular in Thailand, combines the made-to-order freshness of mix-ins, performance theater (with a side of science) and the aesthetic delight of an artful presentation.
At NatuRoll, customers choose from six regular selections, representing popular flavors such as berry, banana, Nutella, cookies, salted caramel and chocolate. There are also rotating specials, which include s’mores, mint chocolate chip and coffee.
Customers are called to one of four rolling stations to watch their frozen confections take shape. The ice-cream technician pours a cup of vanilla ice-cream mixture onto a round metal tray chilled to minus-10 degrees. The mix-in ingredients are chopped and swirled in with metal spatulas, while the technician makes several passes at scooping up, then spreading flat again the increasingly solidifying mixture. At the final flattening, the spatula is used to cut and roll the ice cream into five tubes which are placed in a cup; they resemble European rolled-wafer cookies.
A single serving is $7, but there’s no denying the vigorous manual labor that goes into each order. The resulting ice cream is extraordinarily dense and filling, plus each flavor gets its own selection of toppings and decorations. For example, s’mores ice cream is topped with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, animal crackers and a chocolate Pocki stick holding a freshly toasted marshmallow. That’s how ice cream rolls here.
4318 Butler St., Lawrenceville. 412-656-7827