Last November, when chefs Hannah Pollack and Xavier Meers left the helms of their respective restaurant kitchens to run their side business Nightingale Ice Cram full time, they were making about 100 from-scratch ice cream sandwiches per week. By March, that number reached 1,200, and by September, they were making up to 7,000 sandwiches. Every week. Did we mention they don’t advertise?
In this week’s Let’s Eat RVA, Matt DiNardo and Robey Martin show us a wonderful treat that is really good on hot summer days or for that matter, on any day: ice cream sandwiches.
But these are not your everyday ice cream sandwiches; they are gourmet made locally by Nightingales.
The Henrico ice cream shop is located in Westbury Pharmacy and, yes, you can get those sandwiches there but you can also get them at places like Sugar Shack Donuts, as they have a specialty ice cream sandwich for the donut shop.
Watch DiNardo and Martin try these frozen desserts in the video featured above.
National Ice Cream Sandwich Day was Wednesday so we went to Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches to celebrate with them and learn about their ice cream sandwiches which are handmade right here in Richmond!
They showed us how they make their sandwiches and let us try some of their best-sellers, Cookie Monster (chocolate chip cookie with cookies and cream ice cream), Fat Elvis (banana ice cream with peanut butter cookies dipped in chocolate), and The Classic (chocolate brownie cookie with vanilla bean ice cream). They showed us how they make (and let us taste test) the ice cream for the Key Lime Pie (brown sugar cookie with key lime ice cream). And then we got to watch them assemble the Strawberry Shortcake flavor (confession, there’s one in my purse right now). The other flavor they make all the time is the Orange Creamsicle (brown sugar cookie with orange ice cream).
When two head chefs follow their hearts and their hunches, classics are reborn. Henrico County-based Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches has reinvented the old-fashioned childhood treat, this time using soft homemade sugar or chocolate espresso or peanut butter cookies and rich, all-natural ice cream flavors that smack of adulthood but appeal to all ages.
It’s led by the husband-and-wife team of Brussels-born Xavier Meers and Richmond native Hannah Pollack. You’ve likely heard their names before, as Pollack was most recently the chef at Greenleaf’s Pool Room, while Meers led the kitchens at Belle Vie European Bistro and later Brux’l Cafe, which closed in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
In short, both left restaurant kitchens behind to embark on a new venture full time: remaking an old favorite that Richmond can call its own, but with all-natural, preservative-free ingredients that are locally sourced whenever possible, everything from herbs and berries to beer.
by Brandon Fox
It’s strange to be thinking about ice cream in November. But then it’s even stranger to have had an autumn day that hit 80 degrees this late in the year.
At Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches, Hannah Pollack is busy coming up with flavor combos to ease us out of summer. Sure, pumpkin spice is rampant these days. But perhaps a little pumpkin ice cream laced with Hardywood Farmhouse Pumpkin ale syrup, stuffed between gingersnap cookies, will make you revise your opinion. No? What if the sandwich was dipped in white chocolate?
I thought so.
By Alix Bryan
RICHMOND, Va. – Executive Chef Hannah Pollack is excited to answer questions about her new side business as she moves around the kitchen at Greenleaf’s Pool Room, ahead of the lunch crowd.
“Hold on a second, let me write this check,” she says.
A classic summer dessert is being reinvented and refreshed at Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches, a brand new specialty dessert producer here in Richmond.
Nightingale is a Richmond based small business operating from the kitchen of Greenleaf's Pool Room, a downtown bar & restaurant where the co-owner of Nightingale, Hannah Pollack (seen below), is Executive Chef.
"It started here in Greenleaf we wanted to do an old school dessert, that's kind what we do here it's old school things updated. Then we started selling them at the farmer's market and people really seemed liked them so it just kind of took off," said Pollack.
Pollack has been working at Greenleaf's since it opened and considers their kitchen to be her home, and the owners to be her family. She named her business after the Oriental Nightingale, a famous pool player and wife of Ralph Greenleaf, for whom Greenleaf's is named.