Fatso Ice Cream: A Sweet Addition to Salt Lake’s Dessert Scene
Food: Interviews & Features
For some, being in quarantine and self-isolating is an opportunity to entertain new interests or revisit an old hobby. This could be anything from becoming an aficionado in the art of baking sourdough bread to learning how to hula hoop again. For Alia Marrero, that self-isolated energy was directed toward growing her business of serving Fatso ice cream to the SLC community.
However, Marrero doesn’t consider her ice cream shop a “local business” just yet. While she makes and serves the ice cream in all of its various flavors and toppings directly out of her kitchen, she still has loyal customers that keep coming back for more. “I was having fun making ice cream, and friends would pay me to make them some,” Marrero says of Fatso’s origins.
The idea to open an ice cream business came one day when Marrero and her sister were having dinner, laughing over how the person who normally sells ice cream is a “sketchy, old dude in a beat-up van with stickers on the side.” Not to mention, most of the desserts sold out of those trucks are misshapen, lopsided and freezer-burnt. Fatso‘s inspiration also comes from the Mister Softee ice cream trucks that are popular around the East Coast. After reminiscing and having further discussions, Marrero decided to try her hand at homemade ice cream.
“I was having fun making ice cream, and friends would pay me to make them some.”
Fatso ice cream is a relatively new operation in the SLC dessert scene. “I started cranking [orders] out when the pandemic got us all quarantined,” she says. “People would prefer to come pick up from me rather than the grocery store … [which] worked out in my favor.” Though the road through the COVID-19 pandemic has been bumpy, Marrero notes that she has no regrets. She says, “I am immunocompromised due to a double-organ transplant, so I don’t leave my house very often.” To place an order, customers simply visit Marrero’s Instagram page (@SLCFatso) to browse the flavors, then send her a message with their order. After it’s ready, they can swing by her home in West Valley to pick it up, creating a much safer environment than if Marrero was going out to deliver the ice cream to all her patrons.
On her Instagram “foodie” page, customers can also scroll through posts that showcase a variety of delicious meals. She says, “I watch A LOT of cooking shows because I love to eat and cook, so it comes naturally to me—I guess since cooking is a communal thing in my house.” After buying her ice cream maker, Marrero began to pursue sweets instead of savory items and got to work churning out mixes such as chocolate-Oreo and piña colada. Although she is the main driving force behind Fatso, Marrero notes that her boyfriend, friends and family have had a large help in spreading the word about her frozen treats.
Those buying from Fatso can order straight from Marrero’s menu on her Instagram, or they can make special requests—sometimes a one-off order will even be added to the menu. “A lot of people give me inspiration for new flavors to make. I have so many floating around in my head that it’s hard to make them all at once,” she says. “When I get a request for something new, I’m always like, ‘Oh, snap! That’s an idea I had; I just wasn’t too sure how everyone else would like it.’ I’ve started to realize someone is always gonna like it.” Though her menu is undergoing revision, current prices stand at $6 a pint and $10 a quart with a dollar more added for a vegan base and three dollars more for specialty orders.
“I have so many floating around in my head that it’s hard to make them all at once.”
Some of the delectable flavors to be found when ordering from Fatso include Biscoff cookie butter, red velvet, buttered pecan and ginger turmeric. Marrero’s personal favorite is “Funky Jubilee,” which includes almond cream, cherry chunks and chocolate chips. Some other options include “Reese With-A-Spoon,” which is a peanut butter and chocolate concoction, and “Arroz Con Leche,” which has a vegan base of rice milk and includes cinnamon, cloves and pieces of cooked rice. On top of this, Marrero notes she is constantly coming out with new, hard-hitting flavors. She’s also working toward a menu that is strictly vegan. “I have made a base that I use for all of my vegan ice creams,” she says. “I usually let the customer tell me what they want or don’t want in [their order]. I let them ask the questions so I can be a better provider and adapt to what they need or want.”
Though it’s obvious that the ice cream flavors and options at Fatso are mouthwatering, many customers keep ordering because they know that someone like Marrero, who cares about food and ingredients and creating a delicious product, is making their dish. She says, “Knowing you’re getting some wholesome goodness with genuine love in your pint is a huge reason people come back.” As she is still adapting to the “local business” title, she asks for patience as she finds her footing, considering she’s still working full-time and is only one person with a single ice cream maker.
Be sure to check out and support Fatso ice cream by treating yourself to an order of your favorite flavor.