Q&A with Keith Schroeder of new High Road Craft Ice Cream

ATL Food Chatter: January 10, 2011
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[Editor’s note: Apologies to James for the delay in getting this posted. I was stuck in travel purgatory the last two days—B.A.]
High Road Craft Ice Cream & Sorbet—a new manufacturer of organic, premium ice cream and sorbet that caters to high-end restaurants—was founded by two Kennesaw State alums, Keith Schroeder and Hunter Thornton, who created the venture while enrolled in the university’s Executive MBA program. They quickly found customers some of Atlanta’s most high-profile restaurants, and they also sell to catering companies such as Affairs to Remember Catering and Bold American Catering Company. Keith Schroeder shares some of the background, philosophy and future plans for High Craft:

Q: What inspired you and your business partner to enter into the ice cream business and why the manufacturing end??
KS: First and foremost, I had a passion for ice cream, gelato, sorbets—heck, even frozen lemonade and Italian ices. I find it to be intriguing and challenging to try to evoke bold flavors and sexy textures in something frozen. Business-wise, there was a clear opportunity to present ice cream to chefs and restaurateurs in the same way other luxury ingredients (like chocolate or olive oils or jamon Iberico) were marketed.
Regarding manufacturing, Hunter and I love a challenge, and we wanted to prove that we can resurrect dairy manufacturing and make it profitable. Lee Jones did it for veggies with Chef’s Garden, so we were confident we could do it for ice cream and sorbet. Also, our first priority in building this business was to become a respected and constantly growing employer in the Atlanta area.

Q: What is the difference between your product and some of the other premium brands or gelato?
KS: First, I’m a chef by trade, so I take the same approach to making our flavors and mixes as I did when making a refined sauce or vinaigrette. All flavor notes come into balance—appropriate touches of acid and salt will always be present. Second, we formulate and manufacture all our own mixes at our facility. We pasteurize and age the mixes on-site. No High Road ice cream is ever made from a pre-bagged mix.
Q: Who are some of your restaurant customers and what flavors have been popular?
KS: South City Kitchen, Amuse, Blue Ridge Grill—we’re up to over forty-five customers in our first two months of operation. Our Salted Maple is a hit with the South City Kitchen in Vinings. And our cranberry-orange sorbet also worked well there. We do a sweet cream, a cinnamon, and a brown sugar ice cream for Blue Ridge Grill. Folks order across the board, though. Our crowd favorite is always the Caffeine and Cacao.

Q: Do you have any plans to establish a retail component to your business??
KS: Yes, we do, though we need feedback from the public as to who wants a High Road shop. A major retailer and a boutique are about to pick us up, and the sky seems to be the limit right now. Our online store will be up and running by mid-February.

Empire State South is hosting a seven-course wine dinner on Wednesday, January 19 at 6:30 p.m., featuring wines and wine producers of Austria and Germany. $110 per person.

Buckhead. Tomorrow’s News Today is reporting that Florida-based breakfast and lunch chain Another Broken Egg will open its first Georgia location in the Peachtree Battle Shopping center this May.

Decatur. Farm Burger was named one of the favorite burgers of 2010 by Serious Eats.

East Atlanta. Cliff Bostock reported that the Glenwood has closed, with a subsequent comment from the owner saying they’re looking for investors to reopen.

Morningside. Bostock also first reported that Casseroles, featuring classic casseroles with vegetarian and vegan options, has opened at 1393 N. Highland Avenue.

Midtown. Noon Midtown, sadly, has closed.

Roswell. The Southern Skillet has closed.

Sage Hill. What Now Atlanta reported that local barbecue company Pig N Chik will open another restaurant in the former Sage Hill Café/Dusty’s Barbecue spot at 1815 Briarcliff Road this month.

Question of the Week (in case you were looking for even more iciness at home): What ATL frozen-treats-on-a-stick company offers home delivery three days a week?

PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW—What intown Mexican resto recently started a new weekend lunch menu?—is the Original El Taco.