Here’s a scoop! Hillers make great ice cream year-round

Chestnut Hill residents Danielle Jowdy and business partner Parker Whitehead are the owners of Zsa’s Ice Cream. Jowdy is seen here selling their homemade-from-scratch ice cream to a customer. (Photo by Sue Ann Rybak)

Just because summer is over, it doesn’t mean ice cream season is over. After all, there is always room for ice cream. And nothing says I love you like a warm pie topped with one of Zsa’s signature fall flavors:

Caramel Apple Crisp, Pumpkin Gingersnap, Maple Toffee Graham, Sweet Cinnamon and more.

Chestnut Hill residents Danielle Jowdy and Parker Whitehead are the owners of Zsa’s Ice Cream.

Growing up in Connecticut, Jowdy loved making and eating ice cream, so it should come as no surprise that one of the few things she took from her childhood home before her parents sold it was an old hand-cranked ice cream maker.

“I was always making ice cream as a hobby,” said the former stained-glass artist.

It wasn’t until she was laid off and rehired twice between 2010 and 2011 that she considered turning her ice cream hobby into a viable business.

“Both of my parents were small business owners, so it wasn’t an odd concept to me,” she said. “But I knew I didn’t have enough experience, proof of concept or funding to open a brick and mortar store.”

In 2011, her business partner Whitehead bought her a 1963 International Harvester MetroVan on eBay, which they later named Gatsby from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby” because, as Jowdy said, “It seemed like he would fit in where there was a lot of merriment.”

The company’s name Zsa’s is a nickname that Jowdy and her sister used to call each other because they thought their own names were boring. Their motto is “Seriously from Scratch” because everything is homemade, including the caramel in their Salted Caramel and Caramel Apple Crisp ice creams. Their ice cream doesn’t contain any artificial flavors or colors.

“In addition to making all the ice cream from scratch, we also make all the inclusion items,” Jowdy said. “In each of our ice cream flavors, there are three or four items that have to be prepared. We want to make everything ourselves. So, we’ve gone the extra step not only to make our own cookie dough but to find heat-treated flour and use a recipe that doesn’t have eggs in it.”

One of their most popular year-round flavors is Black Magic. Jowdy said they make their own coffee infusion that goes into the ice cream base and then add her mom’s recipe for chocolate cake.

“My mom used to make it for my dad,” she said. “As kids, we always used to eat the cake with a scoop of ice cream on top. Because the cake is so dense, it really absorbed the ice cream, so Black Magic is really two desserts in one.”

Jowdy said while the ice cream truck won’t be on the Avenue during the winter, customers can still pick up Zsa’s Ice Cream at local stores including Weavers Way Co-op, The Night Kitchen Bakery, the Foodery in Roxborough, certain Whole Foods Markets including Plymouth Meeting and Cherry Hill, Fair Foods in Reading Terminal, several Kimberton Whole Foods and many more.

To book Zsa’s Ice Cream for a special event or find a store that sells their ice cream, visit