Sweet Magnolia Gelato Company has an ice cream shop in Memphis again.
The Clarksdale, Mississippi-based ice cream company will open an ice cream shop at Crosstown Concourse on Saturday, May 7.
Sweet Magnolia Gelato Co. opened in 2011, selling artisanal pint ice cream retail and wholesale to restaurants in Memphis and the Mississippi Delta. This will be the company’s third ice cream shop, the second to open in Memphis.
Hugh Balthrop, the founder and creative director of Sweet Magnolia Gelato Co., is known for his creative southern flavors of artisanal gelato. Top-selling flavors include Banana Pudding, Blueberry Cheesecake, and Whiskey & Pecans.
What to expect
The ice cream case will contain approximately 12 flavors, which will rotate seasonally. The selection will include flavors that are only available in-store.
Balthrop said he plans to partner with other Crosstown tenants to create additional menu items. French Truck Coffee, which is adjacent to the ice cream shop, will provide the coffee for the affogatos. Lucy J’s Bakery will provide the cookies for the ice cream cookie sandwiches.
“I always thought Crosstown would be a good fit – it’s got all the built-in traffic, plus the community atmosphere,” Balthrop said, adding that the sense of community was the reason he wanted to partner with other Crosstown businesses.
Memphis designer David Quarles IV helped Balthrop design the space that was most recently Area 51 Ice Cream.
“When designing Sweet Magnolia Gelato at Crosstown Concourse, the goal was to create the look of a beautifully curated Italian gelato shop with a bit of Southern and, of course, Memphis flair,” said Quarles.
Quarles hired Booth Sartain McGee, a graphic designer, jeweler and muralist from Memphis, to paint murals for the space.
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“As much as possible, I like to involve local artists in my design projects. And since I wanted the look and feel of wallpaper, but knew we couldn’t apply wallpaper to the textured concrete walls in the lobby, I enlisted the help of Booth Sartain McGee,” said Quarles said. “I wanted to use Sweet Magnolia Gelato’s website background as the design for our mural. Now, Hugh’s Crosstown location has a touch of European whimsy, while still staying true to its Sweet Magnolia brand.
Another local artist whom Quarles approached for this project was Brit McDaniel. “All the vases used for the tables are from Paper & Clay and are a perfect match to the Sweet Magnolia brand guide colors,” Quarles sai said.
Balthrop said he’s excited to have another retail store in Memphis.
“Memphis is my jam. My first business partners were here. I have a special connection to Memphis and I always want to be here,” Balthrop said.
His original store in downtown Memphis’ Puck Food Hall closed when the food hall closed in late 2020. He had hoped to open a store in the Edge neighborhood, but plans for that store fell through during the pandemic. . In 2021, he opened a small ice cream shop in Oxford, Mississippi, in the historic town square.
Balthrop said he plans to sell pints of gelato at the Crosstown store, in addition to the scoop.
Pints can also be purchased at Memphis-area stores, including Whole Foods Market in East Memphis, High Point Grocery, and The Curb Market.
“I discovered Sweet Magnolia Gelato shortly after Crosstown opened because Curb Market was selling it. I’ve been a fan ever since,” said Todd Richardson, president of Crosstown Concourse. “I’m especially thrilled that Sweet Magnolia is joining the Crosstown community because Hugh treats his craft – the process, the flavors, the quality, the service – as an art form, as something special and original, which will of course integrate seamlessly with all of the other unique art experiences that define Crosstown.”
Jennifer Chandler is The Commercial Appeal’s Food & Dining reporter. She can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.
Company Sweet Magnolia Gelato
Or: Concourse Crosstown, Central Atrium, 1350 Concourse Ave.
Hours: Noon-9 p.m. daily