Instead of opening in freezing temperatures over the weekend, the owners of Wichita’s first Freezing Moo happened to hit a stretch of a few warm days to debut their Thai fried ice cream roll restaurant at Greenwich Place.
The business opens at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the center at K-96 and Greenwich.
Then next week, partners Tymber Lee, his brother-in-law, Cody Newton, and Daniel Smith are breaking ground on a second site in front of the Target at NewMarket Square at 29th and Maize Road.
Before the year is out, they expect to make it to other markets as well.
“From here to Dallas,” Lee says.
The partners have franchise rights for Wichita, all of Oklahoma, northern Dallas and part of Arkansas. They think northwest Arkansas is their next target.
It’s a major expansion plan for the trio of friends who live in the same neighborhood in Valley Center and had been discussing possible business deals when Smith happened upon the concept last summer.
His wife, Lori, dragged the displeased Smith out of his way to a Kansas City Freezing Moo on their way home from vacation.
He arrived with his family of six to find the business swarming with other people.
“I was even more annoyed,” Smith says.
But then, he says they “were out of there in 15 minutes eating our ice cream.”
“Before I was even eating my ice cream, I had Cody on the phone and said, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this. We’ve got to find a way to get in on this and get it to Wichita.’ ”
Smith says there’s something about the atmosphere.
“It was electric, which is what it was (Sunday) night when we had … family and friends here,” he says of the Greenwich Place Freezing Moo.
“It’s all about the experience,” Lee says. “Half the fun of it is just the experience of watching it be created.”
The business caters to children and families in particular, and as the ice cream is made and rolled on freezing plates, kids can watch as their names are drawn onto it with syrup.
There are videos and photos of the process, too.
“They can see themselves on the live feed,” Lee says.
There are air printers that can instantly share on social media or make prints that go on the walls of the business.
“Kids love coming back and seeing their pictures on the wall,” Lee says.
The $5.99 dishes come with three toppings. Newton says all of the ingredients are fresh and natural, and there are some vegan and dairy-free options as well.
The Overland Park franchise consists of a dozen Freezing Moo sites so far.
Newton says the franchisors have run Panda Express businesses previously.
“They started this franchise with that kind of systematic expertise,” he says. “They can get through people in five, six minutes.”
Lee says the partners are honing their opening skills with the Greenwich Place and NewMarket Freezing Moos.
“We’ll be … solidifying that with No. 2 across town, which was kind of our plan, because this is our backyard. Before we go outside of our backyard we wanted to iron out anything.”
The NewMarket Freezing Moo will be on the south end cap of the same strip center as Firehouse Subs.
Freezing Moo also caters and can bring its machines to off-site parties or host in-store parties as well. It also is involved with area fundraisers and has occasional ice cream giveaways, too, which it announces on Facebook.
Though they don’t know how much of a success Freezing Moo will be yet, the partners know they might owe some of it to Lori Smith.
Newton says she subtly pointed that out on the night of their successful family party this week.
“She was like looking to see if we were going to come up and say, ‘You were right, we’re wrong,’ ” he says.
“My wife is …” Smith says, before Newton finishes his sentence:
“Eating this up right now.”