Ben Spangler, the mad scientist behind many of Milkjam Creamery’s signature flavors (Cereal Killers, Thai Tea, Black) and a competitor on Food Network’s King of Cones, finally has his own ice cream shop in Uptown.
A labor of love in more ways than one, Bebe Zito Ice Cream was launched by Spangler and his fiancée, interior designer and brand director Gabriella Grant (also of Rosenthal Interiors), at last year’s Little Mekong Night Market. While the brick-and-mortar opening was delayed due to Covid-19, Bebe Zito’s heavily inked, Kewpie-inspired logo has reared its round head at numerous pop-ups. If you were lucky enough to snag an early scoop, pint, or sundae at the St. Paul Farmers Market, Up-Down, Hello Pizza, Union Hmong Kitchen, Zen Box Izakaya, Black Market StP, or Red Bench Bakery in Chaska, you know you’re in for a flavor 💥.
We’d even argue that Bebe Zito is the ice cream shop the Twin Cities didn’t know it needed — as fearlessly creative as Salt & Straw in Portland, Oregon or Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio. Spangler doesn’t skimp on his mix-ins or hold anything back. Pictured in the double cups at the top of this post is a scoop of the Breakfast Club ice cream (locally made Lucky Charms and Fruity Pebbles studding an Italian citrus-and-vanilla base) over Dat Malt Dough (malted chocolate cookie dough). We also ordered Gochujang Brownie (chocolate-y and decadent) and the whoa-nelly-revelatory flavor Mushroom Pecan. Not as savory as it sounds, its Candy Cap mushrooms are redolent of maple syrup and pair brilliantly with butter-roasted pecans.
Bebe’s flavors rotate frequently, but other standouts from the opening day include Manda Chuva (gooey brownies, salted caramel, and dark chocolate-enrobed Dot’s Pretzels), Lemon Party (lemon buttermilk poppy seed ice cream with wild blueberries and toasted cinnamon), and Strawberry Fields 4 Ever (strawberry rhubarb raspberry jam with cream cheese). One scoop will set you back $4.75; or get two for $9. Because of Covid-19, the Bebe team cannot dole out samples – but they are willing to split scoops so you can try multiple flavors.
We gotta shout out the shop’s groovy interior, too. We ♥️ the illustrated wallpaper, ‘Ice Ice Bebe’ neon sign, pendant lights resembling upside-down waffle cones, and heat-sensitive spoons that change color as you eat. This is the funnest ice cream shop we’ve visited in years and we cannot wait to go back!
Bebe Zito Ice Cream
704 W. 22nd St., Minneapolis, MN; email firstname.lastname@example.org for info.