Business Park Road

A West Hartford Ice Cream Place Like No Other

Thai rolled ice cream at 0 Degree on Park Road in West Hartford. Photo credit: Tracey Weiss

Rolled and topped, 0 Degree on Park Road in West Hartford offers a unique summer dish of sweetness.

0 Degree Thai Ice Cream owner Joyce Loy Sterry cuts fresh fruit for the many toppings on the Thai Ice Cream offered at the business. Photo credit: Tracey Weiss

By Tracey Weiss

Cookie Monster, Miss Nill, Pink Lady and a bunch of other sweet characters would love a visit at Park Road. Youll find them and a host of other bowls of handmade treats, bubble teas, and smoothies at 0 Degree Thai Ice Cream, now located at 276 Park Road in West Hartford.

S’mores Galore is a popular choice of Thai Ice Cream at 0 Degree, and includes chocolate syrup, graham crackers, and marshmallows that are toasted before being added to the bowl. Photo credit: Tracey Weiss

So what is Thai Ice Cream? An article from TheTravel.com explains it best: This fascinating display of dairy art involves taking an ice cream base (which is essentially a cooked custard) and pouring it out on a cold stone. The specific type of cold stone used for rolled ice cream is called an ice pan which freezes the base almost instantly, as it sits at a constant temperature of -20 degrees.

“The process is fun to watch and it’s exciting to try ice cream that’s being made in such a new and unique way except that in some parts of the world, it’s not all that new. The rolled ice cream trend got its start in South Asia and was actually called Thai stir-fry ice cream before it made its way across the world. This process of rolling ice cream also isn’t just for show – the fact that it’s instantly frozen allows it to have a smooth, velvety texture that’s then rolled to form the ice cream tubes that are topped with your favorite ingredients.”

0 Degree is owned by Joyce Loy Sterry, and opened in January of 2022.

At 0 Degree Thai Ice Cream, the base of the ice cream is made fresh every day, and allows for ice cream lovers to have it made exactly the way they like it. Sterry makes five base flavors to choose from – plain sweet cream, coffee, dark Hershey’s chocolate, Matcha, and lavender.

Everything is all natural,” Sterry said. “We use cream, milk, eggs, no additives and no preservatives.”

Store associate Adrian Stanford starts the process of making Thai ice cream on a cold stone. Photo credit: Tracey Weiss

There are also 14 menu favorites, and 10 of them can be made with a dairy-free base of oat milk and coconut, and the dairy-free ice cream can also be customized.

Cookie monster is Sterry’s most popular choice and is made with Oreo cookies. S’mores Galore, also a big seller, includes chocolate syrup, graham crackers, and marshmallows that are toasted before being added to the bowl. Miss Nill features vanilla wafers, coconut shreds, and caramel; the Pink Lady is made with fresh raspberries and New York cheesecake.

Each cup of rolled ice cream also includes three toppings from a choice of 20 candy and cookie toppings and eight fresh fruit toppings. Sauces and whipped cream are free.

Every cup of rolled Thai ice cream is made to order, so it takes a few minutes to create on the cold stone. The store does have some daily pre-rolled choices for those who are in more of a hurry.

Store associate Adrian Stanford proudly displays some Thai ice cream rolls he made up for a customer. The process to make them takes time and some skill. Photo credit: Tracey Weiss

Sterry, who came to the area in 2004 from her native Singapore, said she buys all of her ingredients in New York. That’s here Thai Ice Cream got hot in New York and California,” she said. She originally bought the business from a friend.

0 Degree also sells bubble teas, and offers 14 flavors including brown sugar milk tea, taro, Thai tea, coconut, mango, jasmine green tea, chai, lychee, honeydew, almond, peach, tiramisu, coffee, and watermelon.

“We are known for our tapioca,” Sterry said. “We make it fresh every day. We have 14 milk flavors.”

They also sell fruit teas, including passion fruit, strawberry, green apple, kumquat lemon, lychee, mango, peach, and blueberry.

They also employ a baker who makes cocoa bombs and cake pops for the store.

Cocoa Bombs and Cake Poops are made for O Degree Thai Ice Cream at 276 Park Road. Photo credit: Tracey Weiss

The shop is actually in its second location on Park Road. In June of 2019, Sterry took the existing business over from the former owners (at 120 Park Road, which is now Birdcode). “I closed for two weeks to clean up and straighten out the business,” she said. When she reopened in July, she was building back the business and a customer base. Winter slowed business down, and then COVID stopped everything.

Between the pandemic and negotiations with landlords that fell through, she was forced to close the store, but persisted in trying to find a space on Park Road.

Sterry said business has been slow and is trying to bring back her fan base, who might not be aware that she is on the street again. Her message: “Come back and see us!”

“I know the market is here,” she said. “The place to be is here.”

0 Degree Thai Ice Cream has a fun and colorful vibe. In addition to a waterfall inside the store, the ceiling is painted with a mural that says “Ice Cream Out Of This World!” Photo credit: Tracey Weiss

The West Hartford store is at 276 Park Road. The Middletown store is at 321 Main Street. More information can be found on their website.

A version of this story previously appeared in West Hartford LIFE.

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