Victoria’s Brandon Wallis has a knack for creating places to gather. For the past 10 years, the owner of The School of the Wise has brought people together over cups of coffee, pints of beer and delicious meals in downtown Victoria. Last year, he opened the ideal place for a family outing: The Social Ice Cream Parlor. “Watching kids with ice cream dripping down their faces or seeing a dad and his daughter share an ice cream cone is something that I enjoy,” Wallis says. “It has been fun to create something that is so warmly welcomed.”
Wallis started The School of the Wise when he was 27, but he wanted to do something more. “I’ve always enjoyed being in the customer service business ever since I was 15 and serving coffee at Caribou,” Wallis says. “When my wife, Ashley, and I found out there was an opportunity to open an ice cream shop in town, we didn’t think twice about it.”
The name of the shop was something that just made sense to Wallis and at the same time was very simple. “The name itself (The Social Ice Cream Parlor) comes from when I was a kid and went to a lot of ice cream socials,” Wallis says. “It just fit.”
In finding a location for the shop, Wallis and his wife first went to a quaint and cozy building that overlooked Steiger Lake and had a vast amount of grassland, not to mention a few bike trails running through its backyard. They stopped the search: It was the perfect spot.
Opened in August 2014, The Social Ice Cream Parlor offers 32 flavors of Cedar Crest hard-packed ice cream, including the store’s staple flavors of Zanzibar Chocolate, Peanut Butter Ecstasy and Caramel Collision, among others.
During peak season, Wallis rotates two-thirds of the flavors, including dairy- and gluten-free options, to enjoy. The Social also serves nachos, Nathan’s hot dogs, fountain soft drinks, smoothies, milk shakes, hot chocolate and coffee.
“The atmosphere is the coolest thing about this place,” Wallis says. “Even in our busiest months, especially during our opening, we had a line down the street. People were waiting forever to get in here and may have been angry or upset, but when they got up to the counter, they had a big smile on their face. The kids just go crazy when they get a look in that cabinet. It’s fun to watch.”
Wallis is pleased with what he has been able to do for the community and his employees. In fact, he often stops back at the shop after closing time. “During the day, we have a lot of kids who spill their ice cream all over the sidewalks,” Wallis says. “I come back and spray it down later that night. It’s so peaceful and I take pride in that. It’s just wonderful to be here working for the town.”
The Social Ice Cream Parlor
1700 Stieger Lake Lane, Suite 101 Victoria; 952.443.2763
Old-Fashioned Ice Cream
Whether you’re looking for one scoop or three (we’re not here to judge), these shops also serve hard-packed ice cream.
Frost & Steam
Sample 16 flavors of Brown’s ice cream.
136 W. Main St., Waconia; 952.442.5551
It’s Just Perfect
This candy shop sells 24 flavors of ice cream, including Zanzibar Chocolate, Ultimate Oreo, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough and Mint Avalanche.
3115 Chaska Blvd., Chaska; 952.361.4900
Tommy’s Old Fashioned Malt Shop
Serving vanilla hard-pack ice cream, Tommy’s offers more than 16 flavors of malts, root beer floats and sundaes.
2 River Bend Place, Chaska; 952.227.0263