The Hennepin and Lake Street intersection has been sorely lacking in good dessert spots. Restaurants and retail spaces buzz in and out of this corner of Uptown, but contenders to satisfy the sweet tooth are few. Until Jennifer Lisburg arrived. She’s been operating La La Homemade Ice Cream since 1993, and this summer she moved her shop into the former Shoe Zoo space on Hennepin Avenue. Finally! A sweet shop within walking distance of Lake Calhoun.
The new shop is filled with brilliant white, from the pale marble bar near the window to the crisp white shirt each employee wears. At night, the shop glows like a cool beacon to passersby. Visitors drawn by its light will find a full menu of scoops, sundaes, house-made sodas, and shakes. Pies and brownies wait patiently on trays at the counter, and an espresso machine shines from behind the counter. (It’s not on the menu, but the staff will happily make you an affogato, above, if you ask.) Lisburg has stocked her shop with all the trappings of a classic ice cream parlor and soda fountain.
La La’s ice cream is made on site and is marked by a lightness of flavor. Here you won’t find the intensity of Milkjam’s cheeky flavors or the chunks and swirls in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Instead, La La takes a more mild and friendly approach, with flavors like a gentle Cappuccino, milky Cocoa Chocolate, and barely-there Rhubarb that’s fresh and not too sweet. One of our favorites was the Raspberry Honey ($5 for a single). Swirls of floral honey and soft raspberry gems make this flavor a lovely choice for La La’s classic brownie sundae ($7, above), complete with whipped cream and a vivid maraschino cherry on top.
The shop also boasts a number of sorbets. The Pineapple Mango (above) has nice flavor and a killer hue, but is icy and chunky instead of smooth and velvety. We noticed this inconsistency in texture in a number of the shop’s flavors, but hopefully it’s a kink that will melt away once La La is settled into its new space.
La La’s house-made sodas, on the other hand, are delightful. The blueberry ($2.50) in particular is a stunning bruised purple, with actual pulp and a pie-like sweetness. We can’t wait to mix and match more flavors — maybe cherry and banana? Watch out!
La La Homemade Ice Cream
Artisan ice cream in Uptown Minneapolis
3146 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Yes
ENTREE RANGE: $3-$12
NOISE LEVEL: Low
Sun-Thu 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Fri-Sat 11 a.m -11 p.m.