Add Jeremy DeMarzo to the ever-growing list of northern Nevada food producers.
Only DeMarzo isn’t making salsa, pasta, chocolate, cheese, crackers or craft beer. Instead, he has created a line of small batch specialty ice cream that over the last year has continued to grow in sales and flavors.
While sandwiches such as Bloke’s Spokes and Tricycle Club are popular and emphasize the business’ bicycle theme with the lunchtime crowd at his recently opened Pedalers Deli, 6147 Lakeside Drive, the ice cream shop on the premises is also a strong calling card and rounds out the menu.
Helping DeMarzo in the enterprise is his wife, Leilani, a professional mathematician by day for a gaming company and a co-creative mastermind who shares her hubby’s passion for the ice cream venture. She got the ball started a few years back when she bought Jeremy an ice cream machine.
In time, ice cream became DeMarzo’s hobby as he would often show up to family and friends’ houses with a few quarts of the homemade dessert. After tasting his treat, people often encouraged him to sell the ice cream, a suggestion he fulfilled with the first food bike in Nevada.
These days, DeMarzo and his crew serve house-made ice cream from IceCycle Creamery with flavors like earl grey, maple bacon, the buzz-worthy Vietnamese coffee, pineapple upside down cake and cookie roulette, the latter a nod to the town’s gaming roots.
“We make all of our flavors of ice cream using Sandhill Dairy milk from Fallon,” said DeMarzo, a former video producer, who started vending ice cream from an old-school tricycle at Reno Street Food events a year ago. He sold pre-packaged portions from the bike; scooping would have required a hand-washing station.
Wanting to expand the business to a bricks-and-mortar location to scale up production, “we did a kickstarter campaign” to move from a mobile unit and fund the lease of the deli at the Lakeridge Pointe Shopping Center. There, he churns out 70 small batch flavors of ice cream, which he likens more to a gelato since his products don’t include eggs.
A core dozen are rotated in the tubs in freezer, but the lineup always includes deep chocolate, classic vanilla, cookie roulette and a flavor called Home Means Nevada, which is made with sage and pine nuts.
The ice cream is savory and sweet. The menu even extends to the use of fresh herbs to create rich flavors. There is a sweet potato casserole flavor. The goal of that blend is to resemble a dinner that might be eaten in the fall season.
DeMarzo has paired with local business We Olive to create an olive oil-flavored ice cream made with peaches marinated in balsamic vinegar. “We are always open to new ideas,” DeMarzo said.
He has also fielded interest from local restaurants wanting to sell his artisanal ice cream. While his production is petite — his machine churns out roughly three gallons per batch — this has afforded him more experimental opportunities to offer customers and interested clients one-of-a-kind flavors.
Boutique scoop shops and artisanal producers like IceCycle have flooded the landscape during the past 5-10 years, introducing audiences to a wider range of flavors and textures.
As such, DeMarzo said he isn’t looking at mass production on the order of Haagen-Dazs “but rather to keep things small and sourcing locally.”