How Nightingale Ice Cream Took Flight
With flavors such as Fat Elvis and Strawberry Cheesecake, you can consider Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches an adult treat that kids can enjoy too.
Hannah Pollack, the powerhouse behind Nightingale, found her passion for food at culinary school after retiring from the military. The buzz for these ice cream sammies took off when she landed the role of sous chef at Greenleaf's Pool Room.
For her and husband Xavier Meers that success seemed to happen overnight. "It just kind of exploded and it's only been a year," she says. For perspective, think about going from 200 sandwiches a week to 2,000 plus.
To catch up, the team moved to a commissary kitchen connected to Westbury Pharmacy and upgraded from a comparably tiny KitchenAid to a commercial Hobart mixer.
Even with the new equipment easing production, quality remains a priority. "We want to make sure each sandwich is the best," Hannah says. All of Nightingale's recipes use fresh ingredients and no preservatives.
According to Hannah, channeling nostalgia has been the secret sauce to their success. "We're updating the classics to bring all those childhood memories back to the now," she says.
During my visit, a new walk-in freezer was being installed and Hannah's father was helping put together sandwiches. "My dad's been the biggest support of the business."
Collaboration has been a big part of Nightingale's growth. Special flavors like hopped cider ice cream for Blue Bee Cider and sandwiches made with Hardywood's Gingerbread Stout have kept things fresh with new flavors always in the works.
"You can't second guess yourself and have to put yourself out there. Starting out, I had to knock on a lot of doors and build up that confidence," Hannah says. "I've learned that Richmond is really a community that helps each other and it's always great to talk to other small business owners. Learn to ask questions."
Restaurants, grocers, and other businesses that would like to carry Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches can now order through PFG or online where you can also find a list of locations sandwiches are sold.