Parlour Ice Cream House making progress

Feb. 15, 2018

Ice cream weather is getting closer and so is downtown’s newest spot for it.

Parlour Ice Cream House is on track to open before the end of May on the first floor of Washington Square.

“I think we’re over 50 percent done,” said owner Chris Hanmer, who also owns nearby CH Patisserie. “Because all of our display and production equipment comes from Italy, there were substantial lead times, so it’s fun to get updates and see it in transit now.”

Walls coverings, flooring and painting will be done in the next few weeks, “so we’ll see a lot of fun stuff as the space starts to look and feel like we want it to,” he said.

The windows, which face the Washington Pavilion, will be covered to allow for a big reveal in the spring.

For Hanmer, who marks 25 years in the kitchen in 2018, developing the menu for Parlour has been intensely personal.

“For our opening, virtually every ice cream flavor we have relates emotionally to me in some journey in my life,” he said. “Some are specific places or people, and some are emotions I have that I could put a name to.”

As an example, he recalls the day he fell in love with Sioux Falls and South Dakota.

“It’s a very specific day shortly after we opened five years ago that I fell in love with South Dakota, and that feeling of falling in love with South Dakota has a very specific memory to me and I translated that to a flavor.”

Other flavors were inspired by trips he and his wife, Caryn, have taken around the world.

The future Parlour Ice Cream House

The shop will have 18 flavors that will rotate, he said.

“We want to focus on making the best possible ice cream, gelato and sorbet. We are not a specific style,” he said. “So if the memory is better in an ice cream, it’s an ice cream; and if it’s a gelato, it’s a gelato.”

He also will offer The Parlour Experience, which is a flight of five flavors curated seasonally, as well as hand-scooped pints to go.

He won’t finalize the menu until his equipment arrives and he can finish researching and developing the ice cream in the store.

Hiring will start in March, and he estimates he will need 10 people. Applicants can email Hanmer at

The remainder of the first floor of Washington Square is still for lease, with part envisioned as a restaurant and the other as a bar. Condominium owners and office tenants have started moving in on the upper floors, solidifying Hanmer’s decision to open there.

“It was a dream come true to be in this building,” he said. “(Co-owner) Chris Houwman has been the best business experience I’ve had — his attention to detail in the building and willingness to make sure it’s right and set this building apart from anything in our state and really regionally. I can’t say enough good things about him as a building owner and this process.”

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Parlour Ice Cream House making progress

Ice cream weather is getting closer and so is downtown’s newest spot for it.

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