Indianapolis has never been known for having adventurous taste buds, but the success of sisters Meridith Kong and Kelly Ryan and their business LICK Ice Cream has proved otherwise. “It’s surprised me how adventurous people are here! We initially thought people wouldn’t be receptive, but we’ve been so surprised with the response and the loyalty of our customers.” They bring their sweet niche of bold, unique, and shockingly delicious ice cream flavors to the area every week at the Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market, as well as local restaurants, with the hope of opening a storefront in 2015 to accommodate their overwhelming success. The sisters see a storefront as an opportunity to expand and perfect their flavors. “We don’t have the time or space for new flavors right now. Our customers at the Farmer’s Market are our Guiney pigs! But we love that, because it gives us one-to-one feedback with our customers and gives them a hand in our production.”
LICK is available in eleven different restaurants and businesses – all locally owned. “That’s important to us,” Meredith said. “We like the idea of wholesale, but it’s we want to meet the people that enjoy your product, and manage the way it’s handled.” They're also a staple of the Broad Ripple Farmer's Market, where they rotate about nine flavors at the farmer’s market. The three flavors that appear every week are Salted Carmel and Sage, Ginger Snap and Lemon Curd, and Candied Pecan Gorgonzola. “People get mad when we take them away!” Meredith laughed. Seasonal flavors, like Roasted Balsamic Strawberry, are only in rotation for a few weeks before they’re retired for the year. That’s because nearly all of their flavors feature locally grown produce. “There’s nothing as good as warm Indiana strawberries. We’re not going to buy from the store, ” she said.
And of course a good product starts with a good base – custard, not ice. “We’re real ice cream enthusiasts! When you freeze ice cream, the faster you freeze it the better the texture.” Batches are made 3 quarts at a time and frozen in five minutes. But the processes is much more involved than that. Made from scratch, the egg base has to be tempered carefully and then mixed. A single batch of ice cream takes nearly an hour from start to finish.
“We make it make it fresh and sell out every week. We never sell old ice cream.” The sisters spend Mondays and Tuesdays producing the custard base, Wednesday and Thursday freezing, Friday delivering wholesale, and Saturday selling at the Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market, usually ending the day with margaritas to wrap up the long week. Despite the hard work and long hours, they love what they do. “I never get tired of going. Every Saturday at the farmer’s market is like Christmas. To see people enjoy something you’ve worked so hard on all week – I love it, and I love our customers.”
And their customers love LICK. Join their growing fan base by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, where you can keep up with their flavors of the week. You can find a sampling of their craziest (tastiest!) flavors over on Buzzfeed.