VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Gerald’s Ice Cream, in the Shops At Hilltop in Virginia Beach, opened its doors to ice cream fans at the start of summer and during the coronavirus pandemic that saw an impact on lots of small businesses.
"We were committed,” Gerald Einhorn, the store’s owner, said. "We had plans to do this before this whole thing occurred."
That commitment is what drove Einhorn to open his ice cream shop after some encouragement from people he knew. He said he has been making ice cream for 10 years.
"The idea behind it is making fine ice cream and having an old-fashioned store,” Einhorn explained. “Present an old-fashioned ice cream store using modern techniques."
His store has more than 30 flavors that he and his employees make fresh every day. The batches are small and contain pure ingredients like cream, sugar and eggs - and his own twist.
A key element to Gerald's ice cream is liquid nitrogen. An employee takes the mixture and places it in a bowl that is connected to a machine. There is a spigot over the bowl that pours out the liquid nitrogen into the mixture.
The liquid nitrogen, Einhorn said, helps freeze the ice cream in five minutes, quicker than the traditional method of just freezing it in a freezer.
"The nitrogen hits the milk, cream, sugar, eggs and freezes it instantly, which evaporates quickly,” Einhorn explained, “which creates a very, very smooth ice cream."
It gives it that cool touch while being safe to consume.
"There is no trace of the nitrogen,” he said. “We breathe nitrogen all the time, so there's nothing unusual about it."
The ice cream truly did have a smooth texture to it. News 3 reporter Julio Avila tried a sample of chocolate ice cream and said it was smooth, likening it to a softened chocolate bar.
"When you mention ice cream to people,” Einhorn said, “they get a smile on their face because I think it goes back to being a kid."
Gerald’s Ice Cream Bar also offers a selection of alcohol-infused ice cream, milkshakes, chocolates and cakes.
The store is open from noon until 9 p.m., seven days a week. More information can be found on its website or by calling (757) 417-7260.