Kenneth Sarnoski believes in four ingredients: whole grass-fed milk, cream, egg yolks, sugar. From simple chemistry comes success: On his eastside store’s opening day, Sarnoski scored a landslide win in a handmade ice cream competition at downtown’s Maynards Market. The Screamery was born a victor.
Owned and operated by Sarnoski and his wife, Linda, the clean, cheery shop entices customers with the allure of in-house pasteurization and pure ingredients, formed “the way ice cream used to be made,” says Sarnoski. In-house pasteurization allows them to start with a homemade base, instead of the commercial base purchased by many shops.
Sarnoski’s ice cream is made in a machine shipped from Maryland, which underwent rigorous approval from the Dairy Control Board (formally the Arizona Department of Agriculture). Although such high standards made opening the place feel a little like Snow White—“sleepy, sneezy, grumpy, grouchy”—customers see the resultant magic in ice creams like Sweet Cream Honeycomb and Game Day Chocolate Guinness Beer.
Even the décor is food-savvy, with a bar-style seating area that invites customers to be “more aware of what they’re eating”—a nod to the Paleo diet that inspired his first experiments with ice cream. While restricted from dairy, Kenneth perfected a coconut milk ice cream for Linda, and found that ice-cream-making appealed to his beliefs about diet and food sourcing. Now he makes traditional ice creams with “the best milk and cream possible.”
The way ingredients behave under pasteurization fascinates Sarnoski: “Nobody understands the butter fat,” he says. “What happens when you heat it up, cool it down at 155 degrees for 30 minutes, cooling it to 75 degrees, then the fridge at 35 degrees.” The process’s core nature is change, and it happens cold: “Cooling overnight does its biggest change in flavor,” he says, still awed by the science after thousands of batches: “It changes, five times, you get five different flavors [because] it still has minerals, caramel, in it.”
Understanding the science yields a back-to-basics set of dietary and food beliefs that are evident in the clean, open décor—as well as the ice cream manifesto spanning the entry wall, along with requisite chalkboard flavor menu. All the success motivates Sarnoski to think of younger generations, to whom, he hopes, The Screamery offers “a taste of what really good food was like 50 years, 30 years ago, before big food companies got involved.”
The Screamery. 50 S. Houghton Road, Suite 120.