A new ice cream business is coming to a venerable address in St. Paul as the former Izzy's at 2034 Marshall Av. will become Nellie's.
Izzy's 20-year-old cafe closed in April (its Minneapolis headquarters followed in August), but the residents of Merriam Park won't have to go much longer without an ice cream parlor. The family behind Nelson's Ice Cream's two locations, in Stillwater and St. Paul, is expanding.
Nellie's Ice Cream will be a sister business to the first two, but with an entirely new focus: ice cream cookie sandwiches.
The ice cream cabinets will hold 12 to 16 flavors, from which customers can select a scoop to be sandwiched between any of eight to 10 flavors of cookies. The shop will even have a specialized panini-style press that can warm and caramelize the cookies while keeping the ice cream intact.
"That's the way I personally recommend it," said owner Daved Najarian.
Najarian grew up working in his family's Stillwater shop, then opened Nelson's in St. Paul in 2014. For the new location, he wanted to do something different.
"We were inspired by trips to the West Coast and what some people are doing out there in the way of the cookie sandwiches," he said. "I don't know of anyone in the area doing something like that. It'll be cool to bring that to Minnesota."
But the move is bittersweet.
"We are very sad to see Izzy's go," Najarian said. "I spent a lot of time at Izzy's over the years and love what they do. We can hopefully fill a portion of those shoes by keeping it ice cream and keeping it a fun spot to go."
Look for a spring opening, and check Nelson's Ice Cream's Facebook page for updates.
Nellie's only fills a portion of the Izzy's footprint. On the other side of a wall is a kitchen that's now occupied by Vikings & Goddesses Pie Co., pastry chef Rachel Anderson's bakery.
The space had been rented out previously to other bakeries, and was already well equipped, Anderson said.
"We got a whole entire rotating rack oven, got prep tables, some coolers and other stuff, so it was really a good fit for us because we didn't have to invest thousands of dollars in a lot of new equipment," she said.
For now, customers can only come for preordered pickups on Tuesdays, but Anderson hopes by summer to open a small storefront where people can get some of her pies and pastries.
"We're not in any rush to open anything until this whole pandemic is situated," she said.
Sharyn Jackson • 612-673-4853