Food-truck buddies collaborate by sharing storefront location in Manchester.
MANCHESTER, NH – What could be sweeter than a one-year anniversary celebration wrapped up with a “grand opening” ribbon cutting? For Rita and Mark McCabe, perhaps only the taste of their unique product is sweeter: flash-frozen ice cream, which continues to bring customers through the door [watch a demo of how it’s made above.]
SubZero Nitrogen Ice Cream last week celebrated a year in its newest location, at the corner of Hanover and Chestnut streets. Rita McCabe said the ribbon-cutting was something they missed out on last year, as they hit the ground running in time for the annual Manchester Taco Tour followed by the summer rush.
The McCabes opened their first location in Nashua in 2014 and have since grown the New England
territory to include Cambridge, MA, Worcester, MA, and, in 2022, the Manchester shop. They are also opening another location this spring in Ashland, Mass.
“We just never had a chance,” Rita McCabe said. “So we figured why not do it now? We had a great first year – we get a lot of support from the Palace Theatre crowd, and because we’re sharing space with Prime Time Grilled Cheese, it works out perfectly – they bring them in for lunch or dinner and we’re here for dessert. Plus, we’re excited about the economic development coming to this block in the next year or so.”
The McCabes were operating from a food truck when they met Alex Pichardo at a food truck festival. Pichardo was selling his signature flame-broiled grilled cheese sandwiches from a food truck as well.
“He told us he was looking into getting a brick-and-mortar space in Manchester and we told him we’d love to go to Manchester, too – and to let us know when that happened. He actually called us and said he was ready, and here we are,” Rita McCabe said. “It’s a great partnership.”
During last week’s celebration, Pichardo was busy filling a list of take-out orders, hitting sourdough bread with an open flame to crisp it up with just the right shade of “toasty delicious.” He explained how he built out the corner space from the bottom up, his pride in DIY tenacity shining through.
“It was a lot of work – it’s not something I’ve ever done before, but I figured it out, step by step,” he said. The countertops feature built-in cell phone charging stations, so you can grab a beer-on-tap, one of Pichardo’s best-sellers, pulled-pork mac-and-cheese, and charge your phone. By the time you’ve finished your SubZero ice cream dessert – which comes in dozens of flavors – you’ll be good to go.
The space features bar seating as well as tables. One of the highlights for customers is watching how the ice cream is made.
“We’re obsessed,” said Larissa O’Brien, who was enjoying some ice cream with son Traedyn, 5, whose current obsession with Sonic the Hedgehog means he doesn’t care what flavor the ice cream is as long as it’s blue.
“I love that it’s smoother and creamier than regular ice cream, and that it doesn’t melt as quickly. I’m addicted, seriously,” O’Brien said.
Darren and Lindsay Greenberg from Hooksett, along with daughter Emma, 10, first encountered SubZero at a craft fair and found their way to the storefront in Manchester to satisfy the family’s genetic sweet tooth.
They were watching as a batch of amaretto was being made, which hit the spot for all of them.
“In a word? It’s yummy,” Darren Greenberg said, interpreting for Emma, who was busy navigating a spoonful into her mouth.
SubZero Nitrogen Ice Cream and Prime Time Grilled Cheese is located at 119 Hanover St. in Manchester.