Cary, N.C. — Fresh Local Ice Cream opens Saturday in downtown Cary, bringing creative, handmade desserts to the growing community.
The new shop will be nestled among other hip businesses on East Chatham Street, including Crosstown Pub, Pharmacy Bottle Shop and Brew Coffee, which is located inside of The Cary Theater. Fresh is just down the road from Bond Brothers, Cary's second brewery, which has also brought more traffic to the growing downtown area since it opened last year.
"I'm really excited to be in downtown," said Jason Hillman, who owns Fresh along with his wife and parents. "I grew up in Cary, and I love the community and everything that's going on with its revitilization."
Like the Cary store, Fresh Local Ice Cream is a relatively new brand. Hillman's father opened the original Fresh on Glenwood Avenue in 2011, and, though that was only six years ago, the shop has quickly become a favorite ice cream destination for locals. The intimate space at 138 E. Chatham Street will be Fresh's second location.
Fresh is, quite literally, family-owned and operated. "My wife and I own this Cary store and our food truck," said Hillman. "My mother and father own the store on Glenwood Avenue, and my childhood best friend is our general manager. Even my sister gets involved."
According to Hillman, the opening is fulfilling a need in Cary -- a need for a high-quality, homemade ice cream shop.
"I think the business has grown so much because of the quality of ingredients we put in our ice cream." said Hillman. "We're shooting for high quality because that's what people want."
All the ice cream is made in small batches inside both stores, and the Hillman family uses local ingredients whenever possible. "Our milk comes from a farm in Dunn, one hour away, and every week it gets brought in to make the ice cream," said Hillman.
Other ingredients are sourced locally as well, including fruits and other add-ins, like lavender. "We work with another local farm that provides us with lavender flowers," said Hillman. "We extract lavender from the flowers and put it in the ice cream."
Amazingly, Fresh Local Ice Cream rotates anywhere from 60 to 65 ice cream flavors. Those include classics like cookie dough, strawberry and rocky road in addition to spun creations like toasted marshmallow, key lime pie and even raspberry chocolate truffle flavors.
"We actually toast marshmallows over a flame and then puree them and put them into the ice cream," said Hillman. "We make our key lime pie ice cream with fresh squeezed lime and crushed graham crackers. We just try to have fun with it."
The Cary store will serve 16 flavors at one time. Creations will be rotated constantly, but staples like vanilla, chocolate and a non-dairy ice cream will always be available for customers.
Unlike the Glenwood Avenue location, which features all outdoor seating and a walk-up window only, the Cary store will have indoor ordering and a neat bar stool seating option that allows diners to sit in front of a large, open window while they indulge.
"It's a little different than the Raleigh store, but it's the same family and the same ice cream," said Hillman. "We don't skimp on any of the ice cream, even if it costs more on our end. If we're giving out a good product to the community then that's really all we care about."