When Dan Sell and Kasey Allen started kicking around ideas about going into business together, they leaned on their backgrounds. Software. Maybe something in the tech industry.
Less than a year later, the friends are wearing “I love The STIL” T-shirts and scooping ice-cream flavors made with ingredients such as honey bourbon, Fruity Pebbles and bacon.
“Why not?” Sell asks. “Ice cream is awesome.”
On a scorching Sunday afternoon last weekend, dozens of Boiseans lined up outside the artisanal ice cream shop for a three-hour soft opening. Workers at The STIL — an acronym for The Sweetest Things in Life — dispensed samples of decadent flavors such as Fresh Powder (cream cheese vanilla), Phat Mints (chocolate and fresh mint), Southern Porch (sweet tea), Breakfast in Bed (maple bacon), and Ed and Carl Take Reno (honey bourbon). Children walked around with sticky faces covered in chocolate.
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A second soft opening will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, with six flavors and a pay-what-you-wish format. Proceeds will go to local charities.
The STIL will hold its grand opening at noon Sunday, July 16, with an arsenal of one dozen ice-cream flavors, including three non-dairy.
Located between Edwards 9 Cinemas and Caffe d’Arte in the former Snake River Winery space at 786 W. Broad St., The STIL seems like a natural destination for family outings and date nights.
One thing that sets it apart from traditional ice cream shops is that beer and wine will be sold (starting July 16). Craft-beer fans can order a flight of brews paired with four small scoops of ice cream. Beer floats and port wine shakes also are on the menu.
Alcohol is an ingredient in select ice creams, whether it’s a coffee porter or that honey bourbon. But using alcohol in ice cream is along the lines of making rum balls, Sell says.
“The science prevents you from putting too much alcohol into it,” he explains. “Our intent is to use it more for the flavor perspective than a bar perspective.”
“Alcohol doesn’t freeze, right?” Allen adds.
Relative ice cream newbies or not, the men are ambitious. They’ve reached out to other ice-cream shop owners, studied books, watched videos and attended an ice cream convention in Reno, Nevada. Most important, they’ve experimented with recipes.
Allen describes the path from hatching the idea in 2016 to opening in 2017 as a “ready, fire, aim!” journey.
“We’ve learned everything we know in that time,” he says.
Whether it’s offering vegan treats or pairing ice cream with wine, the STIL’s owners want to create something special for the community.
“We saw a gap that we could fill in Boise,” Allen says. “We saw a way that we could add value and sort of give back and create something that was uniquely Boise’s, and that hopefully Boise can be really proud of and say, ‘That’s our ice cream shop.’ ”
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Flavors from 6 to 10 p.m. July 12 during soft opening
After School Special: peanut butter and no-bake cookies
The Mullet coffee porter: business up front (coffee) and party in the back (porter beer)
Idaho Wilderness: huckleberry lavender
Licking the Spoon: brownie batter
Purple Rain: raspberry wine sorbet
Date Night: dark chocolate raspberry cabernet