Revival Ice Cream takes ice cream production to the next level… and then some.
This article was originally posted here.
Ice cream is something you can find in any country, unlike specific foods that can only be enjoyed in certain regions. Making ice cream is simple and something that can be done easily at home, but nowadays has been commercialized and filled with so many additives and artificial flavors that we don’t even know what proper ice cream tastes like anymore.
Enter Revival Ice Cream.
Opened in 2016 by Adriana Shuman, Revival Ice Cream is about so much more than just the ice cream — it’s about who they are, what they stand for as a company, and what they do to help the community and surrounding environment.
Adriana herself has always been a fighter. After growing up in a shaky environment, she came to the United States from Slovakia at 26, with not a word of English under her belt. From there, she had to learn how to survive on her own, and chased business ventures along the way. She always knew she didn’t want to work for anybody else, and found success with her businesses down in the Santa Barbara area before relocating to the Monterey Bay.
Opportunities weren’t flooding through the door when she moved, but she strove to open a business where she was able to implement her values, goals, and visions, which are the most important things to her. The initial idea of the ice cream shop spawned from a dream following her father’s death, where she envisioned all of the times he’d taken her for ice cream — or, as she put it, “It was really me taking him.”
After the dream of her dad encouraging her to open the shop and all of the memories she had with herself and her daughter enjoying her dad’s company, she developed a, “This is for you, Dad,” mentality and went for it.
“It’s about doing the right thing, but what is the right thing?”
Although there’s a connection with her business and her family, to Adriana, the ice cream isn’t as important as promoting a healthy, balanced lifestyle with the highest quality products.
Those lucky enough to enjoy Revival tend to agree that there is no one out there doing what they do, and sustainability is the name of the game. With the simplicity of making ice cream and the way it connects children and adults alike, Adriana combated the ways it’s been mutilated over the years, which led to the inspiration for the name “Revival:”
Bring back the old ways, the simple, and focus on betterment.
“Taking care of what we need is important,” says Adriana. “We need a safe environment. I take the approach of, ‘What can I do to make sure this environment stays safe?’ and I apply it to my business.”
What that translates into is Revival supporting organic farmers, using no plastic in the building, having no waste, and implementing reusable containers as an incentive for customers to return and refill their ice cream pints at a discounted price. Keep in mind, though, that unlike most places, Revival does not accept cash. It’s safer for the employees, practically eliminates financial mistakes, and allows Adriana and her team more time to focus on service and the product instead of counting change.
“Everything has a purpose, a meaning, a reason here. I’m here to show that living a sustainable life is possible, and for everyone to understand that the word ‘handcrafted’ has been misused.”
She’s not kidding, either.
Everything in the store is hand-made daily from scratch, including the vegan, gluten-free waffle cones her staff spends an average of five hours making daily. Nothing outside of the ingredients is pre-purchased, and everything is real and true flavors. There is no cutting corners here, and everything has to be as pure and organic as possible.
As to the uniqueness of the flavors, nature dictates what’s on the menu. They have their signature flavors, but everything else is seasonal based on the products that are available. From there, the point of the ice cream is to be able to taste the fruit, the vegetable, or whatever’s in it. Because we’re so desensitized to taste, the freshness is evident from the first bite.
Giving back to the community.
Not having a voice of her own as a child became a motivation for Adriana to fight the way she does for the things she believes in, and she believes that children deserve a voice. One of the many ways she gives back to the community is through her connection with nonprofits that work with children, such as the local Community Partnership for Youth (or CPY.)
Every Friday, kids from the CPY come down to Revival, make and eat their own ice cream, and learn all about sustainable living. The hour of joy the kids experience brings joy to Adriana, as well, and reminds her of the positive affect she can have on others at any age.
So, where do these ice cream flavor ideas come from?
Adriana’s fortunate to have a willing, go-get-em team behind her. Before getting into the ice cream business, she was a pharmacist, and uses her scientific knowledge to help pinpoint and produce the extraordinary flavors they put out. They don’t use the same amount of fat content as other ice creams, which also acts as a reason all of the flavors stand out in each bite. Fat covers the tongue, therefore blocking the taste buds, and toning down on the fat content allows all of the flavors to breathe. That, mixed with the pure-cane and tapioca sugars that make up the base of the ice cream make for a smooth, creamy finish.
It’s all a science here, and the kitchen is often referred to as “the science lab.” With weekly production meetings and a customer voice box for people to add ideas for flavors, they decide as a team what to try out next.
“It doesn’t matter what crazy idea I have, they’re up for it,” says Adriana of the two women who run her kitchen, Caroline and Alicia, whom she credits for making all of the product and trusting her vision. “That’s why I love them so much. There is no ego. There is, ‘Okay, we’ll try. If it works, it works, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.’ From there, I leave it up to them, and they do an amazing job. What I love about them is they’re not afraid to fail. They’re not afraid to innovate and ask, ‘What can we do to make this better?’”
Are you a big fan of chocolate ice cream?
Revival uses real chocolate from Theo Chocolate out of Washington as opposed to cocoa powder, which makes a seemingly simple flavor stand out from all the rest. Their most popular flavor is the award-winning Bee’s Knee’s made out of bee pollen and a house-made honeycomb candy. Behind those two, the sorbet options fly off the shelves just as fast, especially for those under a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Although Revival can’t meet every dietary restriction, the more Adriana learns and educates herself, the more she’s able to cater as is possible. If there’s something she can do to bring someone with a restriction closer to the ice cream, she’ll do it.
Outside of the business, Adriana’s main jobs are being a mom, a wife, and a friend, which are all values she brings to her business. She’s about walking the walk just as much as talking the talk, and she even makes all of hers and her family’s meals from scratch daily. Now that the business has been open a few years and she’s found a good balance, she continues to build a strong and committed team.
“The leader’s potential is determined by those closest to her,” is taped on her office wall, and Adriana surrounds herself with people who share the same passion as her.
“Every single person on this team is so valuable, they’re like my family,” gushes Adriana. “They have to go out there and sell this and they take things from the kitchen to the customer and if they don’t share in passion, it won’t work.”
But work it does.
With her work ethic and outstanding team, Revival remains one of the most popular — if not the most popular — ice cream shops on the peninsula, and for good reason.
Be careful, though! A pint of Revival Ice Cream goes down quick. One spoonful just never seems to be quite enough.
Want to check out Revival Ice Cream for yourself? A “Bee’s Knees Sundae” is included as the dessert for the Old Monterey Bay Food Tour, and we even get to go into the kitchen and see where all the magic happens! Click here for more booking information!