Katie Romanski knew her ice cream cone creations would taste good. But the more important question: Would they look good?
She was hastily coming up with a menu for her new Minnesota Nice Cream cafe, which had only a 10-day window to open after she bought the space, in what was the Empire Coffee shop in northeast Minneapolis (807 Broadway St. NE.).
“I always think, ‘What’s going to look really cool in photos?’ ” Romanski said.
So in just one night, she invented an entire menu of Technicolor sundaes crowned with both traditional and off-the-wall toppings and served in homemade tie-dye cones. Each of the creations ($7) sparkle with a final flourish of edible glitter.
Minnesota Nice Cream’s glitter-sprinkled cones are the latest over-the-top food to be featured in our video series, Outta Control. Watch past videos about April Fools cupcakes and another about a doughnut the size of your head at startribune.com/outtacontrol.
The shop, which opened in March, has already stormed Instagram.
“My whole company is based on Instagram, because it’s so positive and great,” said Romanski.
She launched Minnesota Nice Cream as a food truck in 2016, but wanted a home-base to expand from. “I wanted to create a space where right when you get your cone, you can hold it up and take photos.” Fittingly, the store has a mural of a giant cherry, and a colorful striped wall in the shop, both perfectly Instagrammable.
Because the shop is in a building of offices, Romanski was asked to stretch her culinary wings to meet the demands of the built-in customer base. Branching out from her signature soft-serve, she also offers “big and messy” panini, a coffee menu and an expanding line of baked goods. She also plans to open a burrito trailer in front of Able Seedhouse + Brewery.
But ice cream is essential for this Wisconsin native, who makes her vanilla and chocolate soft-serve with whole milk. The creamy treat is pretty simple, for Romanski, so she added a frill — each week she dyes the chocolate ice cream a different color. Green and fuchsia have already made appearances.
Romanski currently offers one additional flavor — vegan avocado made with coconut milk. The guacamole-colored scoop tops a waffle taco-shell sundae.
Glitter has become essential, as well. The edible sparkles, which are made from cake fondant, are such a huge part of Minnesota Nice Cream’s M.O., that Romanski can’t help but find the little shiny bits on her face every day.
“I should have known how much people love glitter,” she said. “Glitter is magic.”