SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – A rolled ice cream shop has been keeping people cool with their unique treats this summer at their 41st Street and downtown locations. 

Matt Rooney and his wife, Jessica, started Polar Ice in 2016 as a food truck and served only shaved ice and scooped ice cream. In an effort to become a vendor at the Sioux Empire Fair, they diversified their menu and added rolled ice cream, which has been a hit ever since. 

“Most people didn’t get it, most people just came to watch it,” Rooney said, “As people tried it, they realized that it really is a great product.”

Polar Ice opened their first permanent location in 2018 at 501 E 41st St. The shop is housed in a refurbished shipping container where people can walk up and order, and watch their ice cream get rolled. This location is open from 1-9 p.m. in the summer and the last day for the 41st Street location this year is Saturday, August 27. 

“We’re having people come in on a daily basis that have never tried us before,” Rooney said. “It’s opened us up to a brand new market. We’ve been operating for eight years in Sioux Falls and there’s still people that have never heard of us.”

In March 2023, Rooney bought a location downtown and plans to keep that location open all year long. Rooney said they plan on adding new menu items and possibly hot foods once it gets colder out. Polar Bites at 401 E 8th Street is open Tuesday through Friday from 4-9 p.m. and Saturdays from 1-9 p.m. 

Before the summer started, the 41st Street location had gotten a new air conditioner. In years past, the old air conditioner couldn’t keep up with the heat and the shipping container would get up to 100 degrees with all the machines running, Rooney said. It would get so hot that they would have to close the shop on really hot days. Now, the shipping container sits at a comfortable 70 degrees and they can stay open during the hottest days of the summer. 

“We always worry about whether people are going to show up in this heat,” he said. “It can be very dangerous, but people still show up. 

Rooney said their most popular flavor of rolled ice cream is the Cookie Monster, which has a vanilla ice cream base with chocolate chips, Oreos and a chocolate drizzle. To Rooney’s surprise, the Sticky Monkey, which has bananas, peanut butter and honey, is another best seller. 

For Charlotte Adams, 9, she prefers the Campfire or Minteo flavor. Adams, along with her nanny Emerson Wermers, 17, sister Ella Adams, 5, and friend Eden Ehlers, 8, decided to hit up the ice cream shop before school starts tomorrow. 

“I had never seen this ice cream before we went here so we were like ‘Oh, we better try this.’ It’s one of the last days, so we might as well go,” Adams said.