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The regular wait time ranges from 15 minutes to over an hour at Brady Street's newest ice cream shop. But is it worth the wait?

Over the years, we’ve enjoyed many frozen-treat trends, from serve-yourself frozen yogurt to freakshakes to the craziest of flavors (ever had Honeyjack and Coke? Get it from Big Deal Burgers and Custard in West Allis). The most recent ice cream frenzy to make its way to Milwaukee: Thai rolled ice cream. 

The dessert is just what you would think. It’s thin rolls of ice cream, delicately placed in a bowl and then topped with various extras: Oreos, strawberries, chocolate drizzle… It’s a treat fitting for the Instagram crowd.

But could that be the only draw? To find out, we headed to Fro-Zone, the latest ice cream shop to come to Brady Street.

Fro-Zone on Brady Street. Photo by Megan Otto.

Normally, when driving by Fro-Zone’s storefront, a passerby will see a line beginning inside the store, winding out the door and spilling onto the sidewalk as well. If you’re lucky, (like I was at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday) the line won’t extend outside.

The relatively short line at Fro-Zone. Photo by Megan Otto.

So, why the line?

The process that goes into making each customer’s bowl of ice cream takes about three to four minutes. A Fro-Zone staff member first pours a cup of flavored milk-based liquid onto the extremely cold metal surface, and then proceeds to move it around with small spatulas until it arrives at the consistency of ice cream. Only then do they level the pool of ice cream and then push strips of it into rolls. It’s quite the process to watch.  

Prior to scraping the ice cream into rolls, items such as Oreos, peanut butter cups and Hostess Strawberry Shortcake Rolls are chopped and added to the mixture. Fro-Zone has six regular flavor options, including Cookies n Cream, Peanut Butta Collussus, Campfire and Machada Green Machine. This Instagram-worthy treat sells for $6.95 a bowl, which includes “unlimited toppings.”

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During my trip to Fro-Zone, I went with the Cookies n Cream and added a strawberry on top. While the rolled ice cream was definitely unique in presentation (and certainly Insta-worthy), I was disappointed to see only six rolls placed into my bowl when most customers received seven. My Instagram followers probably couldn’t tell that a dollop of whipped cream had been unceremoniously squirted into the void to hide the discrepancy — but I could.

In total, it took about 23 minutes and 12 seconds (but who was counting?) to make it through the line and sit down with my rolled ice cream. At times, though, customers have admitted to waiting over an hour for this photogenic treat.

Photo by Megan Otto

The real question is, would you wait in line for over an hour to sample this new trend? Or have you already? Most everyone I talked to in line was there for the first time, excited to see what all the hype was about, just as I was. Given the price and wait time (as well as the missing roll!), I can’t say I’ll be racing back anytime soon. After all, I’ve already got my photographic evidence. Been there, done that. 

If you haven’t made your way over to Fro-Zone on Brady Street to try their rolled ice cream (and get your photo), here are a few tips and tricks to remember before ordering:

Know your order before reaching the counter

The long lines can be blamed on the time it takes for each bowl of ice cream to be made. Being decisive when ordering helps the lines move more quickly.

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Scope out the extra toppings early

Fro-Zone offers unlimited toppings, but rarely asks if you would like to add anything to the pre-designated flavor toppings. Speak up and ask for what you want before they hand you your bowl.

Keep your phone at the ready

The added whip cream melts quickly, so be prepared to take your Insta pic as soon as you’re handed your bowl!

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