Late in 2019, cryptic messages started appearing on Normal Ice Cream’s social media feed:
Normal fans were excited to see what owner Alexa Norlin had up her sleeves. When January arrived, I couldn’t wait to see what all the frozen fuss was about. Turns out, the Normal Truck at Trolley Square had done a lot more than cross over into 2020. It debuted a new concept that’s light years ahead of its time: Normal Lab.
Gone are the tried-and-true ice cream flavors such as milk chocolate and salted vanilla bean (don’t worry, you can still find them at the brick-and-mortar location—169 E. 900 South, SLC), replaced by a rotating selection of “experimental” flavors—think wasabi and white chocolate or ube (purple yam). I asked Norlin what inspired the switch and got the inside scoop on the future of ice cream in Salt Lake.
Devour Utah: Why the change to Normal Lab?
Alexa Norlin: I love weird food! I have always wanted to make “strange” ice cream flavors, experimenting with ingredients that you would never think to find in ice cream. But as a business, you obviously need to appeal to the majority.
I wanted an outlet for Normal to truly “get weird,” while also (hopefully) educating our customers about new or interesting combinations. I have also always loved playing around with liquid nitrogen and absolutely love Dippin’ Dots, but I wanted to make them my own way. Who wouldn’t want a “Normal Dot” covered soft-serve cone?
What has the customer response been?
AN: I think people have loved it! I am so thankful that our customers are here for my wild ideas! I have been wanting to make wasabi ice cream since I launched Normal. Had I started out with a bang in the early days, I don’t think it would have been a success. We have been able to build a reputation and a loyal customer base that understands our dedication to make the best possible product that we can.
What new flavors are you most excited to try?
AN: So many! I wanted to launch Normal Lab with a Japanese-inspired menu because I am obsessed (and hope to take Normal to Japan one day), but we have some other really cool ideas. Like, what if one month is four varieties of vanilla? Madagascar, Mexican, Tahitian and Ugandan. How cool would it be to show the difference in such a “basic” flavor?
I also love making sourdough bread. I can’t wait for tomato season, so we can do a themed month. Sourdough, olive oil, basil and maybe a tomato sorbet?
Are there any flavors that were total misses?
AN: I tried to make a vegan eggnog in December that was truly terrible. I threw the whole batch away.
What’s in store for the future of Normal?
AN: I am excited to work on systems to get the business running more efficiently and smoothly. We will be working heavily on wholesale and hope to expand quite a bit there. And who wouldn’t want a pint of the month club?!
To taste Normal Lab’s latest inventions, head to the east entrance of Trolly Square, where the truck is open Monday–Saturday, noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.
Normal Ice Cream Shop
169 E. 900 South, SLC
Normal Lab Food Truck at Trolley Square
602 S. 700 East, SLC