New Thai ice cream joint rolls unique treats for Carbondale community


Mary Newman | @MaryNewmanDE

Thai ice cream rolls are placed into serving cup, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, at Freeze in Carbondale. (Mary Newman | @MaryNewmanDE)

By Amelia Blakely

A new ice cream joint recently set up shop in Carbondale and is now rolling unique treats for students and community members alike.

Freeze, a shop which sells rolled Thai ice cream and smoothies, was opened by Tyler Chen of Herrin on Sept. 15 at 715 N. Giant City Rd.

Chen was born into a family of business owners; he said when he was six years old he remembers spending a significant amount of time at Fujiyama or Kew Gardens, both of which are owned by his parents or other relatives.


The 23-year-old attended John A. Logan College for one year before quitting to start his ice cream venture.

He said his lifelong experiential learning experience with family businesses gave him the skills to open his first business with no college degree.

“I grew up in it,” Chen said. 

After spending time working at family businesses to save up his money, Chen said he wanted to open a shop that he felt would benefit the Carbondale community.

He came up with the idea for Freeze three years ago while working at Fujiyama after being inspired by his cousins, who own Thai Ice cream and smoothie joints in New York City and Miami.

Every morning, Chen said he makes a fresh batch of vanilla and chocolate syrup base. Then, as customers order, the base is spread out on a cold plate and mixed with toppings as it thickens and freezes in order to be rolled up. Freeze also serves smoothies, which Chen said are all organic and made with fresh fruit.

“I buy all the fruits every morning,” Chen said. “Fresh everything.”


Chen said he wants Freeze to become popular enough over time for it to expand and become a chain.

“I want to make at least three more,” Chen said.

The environment of Freeze is family- and student-oriented, Chen said. Every detail, from the decorations to the kids play area and music, is meant to make Freeze a welcoming atmosphere for all ages, he said.

Freeze also has free Wi-Fi, which Chen said allows students to snack on ice cream, study and enjoy a change of scenery from their regular homework spots.

Store manager Hunter Jordan, a lifelong friend of Chen’s and a junior from Herrin studying sports administration, said the community response to the store has been encouraging.

The goal is to have everyone enjoy their experience when they visit, Jordan said.

“You see families eating ice cream, smiling together,” Jordan said. “It doesn’t matter what happened before you walked through those doors. Now you get ice cream and you can be happy.”

Staff writer Amelia Blakely can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AmeilaBlakely.

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