Ice cream is part of the courtship process for many couples, but for Ben Spangler and Gabriella Grant it’s taken center stage.
“It’s absurd how much money we spent on ice cream when we were dating,” Grant laughed.
All that money has proven to be an investment. Last month the couple got engaged outside of the future home of their new ice cream shop Bebe Zito, which will be opening
at 22nd & Lyndale around the New Year.
Bebe Zito pays homage to Grant’s Brazilian heritage and mirrors the ice creams Spangler creates: bold, inventive and catchy.
As a child, Spangler made ice cream with his family, and when he started his first kitchen job in 2007, the ice cream machine was too tempting to leave alone. His first batch, date and lemongrass, was a sign of things to come.
“I was very intrigued by: What else can you do?” Spangler said.
While working as a pastry chef, he landed an appearance on the Food Network’s “King of Cones,” which re-sparked his ice cream love. In 2016, he was the mind behind the creative vegan flavors at Milkjam Creamery. Most recently, he worked as a pastry chef at Rustica. But he never stopped making ice cream, and the couple decided to go all in.
Now, at Bebe Zito, Spangler is back to his explorative roots with flavors like Thai Tea, Pistachio with Lemon Zest and Almond, and Ambrosia Salad, a mix of coconut ice cream, marshmallows and shredded fruit, which pays tribute to the holiday side dish.
“You never just do one flavor in an ice cream,” Spangler said.
At Bebe Zito they plan to have a store of about eight regular flavors and several seasonal options. A big business focus will be on the grab-and-go freezer. About 75% of ice cream sales nationwide are take-home, Spangler said. They’ve been selling at pop-up events across the metro this year.
Grant, an interior designer, worked with an architect to reimagine the former Fox Den Salon space. They’re excited to be in a walkable neighborhood.
“This area has a lot of energy,” Spangler said.
704 W. 22nd St.