Jim McNutt, owner of Ice Cream Riot on East Colfax between Marion and Lafayette Street, is from Philadelphia, but has an affinity for the Mile High City and its wickedest street. “I love Denver…but Denver is like a suburban city. It’s not like an east coast city, or a west coast city, like New York or L.A or something. It’s a tiny city. It’s small, there’s trees and grass, that’s not like Philadelphia, but Colfax is like that, and that’s why I own this shop on this street.”
I stopped in the shop recently and immediately posed the most basic question that first came to mind. It went something like “So, uh, you were passionate about ice cream so you decided to open this ice cream shop?”
I was expecting a version of a well-crafted mission statement presented on the ‘about us’ page of a minimalist/modern Squarespace template of a website.
“Well, passionate is not the right word to use.”
“People come in and think I’m like some dude that dreamed of opening up an ice cream shop, and it’s like dude its nothing of the sort. I opened an ice cream shop because ice cream is something that is fun to sell and it’s easy to make and it’s fun to make, but I don’t have a passion for it, I have a passion for owning a business.”
Jim learned how to make ice cream on YouTube, but he also has decades worth of experience selling ice cream in other shops. Despite his claims about lacking passion for ice cream, I watched his eyes light up when he started talking about his signature breakfast cereal flavored varieties.
“My generation, we grew up in the eighties, and that was the golden age of breakfast cereal. Back before parents cared about sugar. I’m the last generation where parents didn’t go berserk about what they ate. I get little kids that come in today and they just pass right by this stuff. For me this was like mad nostalgic making this. I grew up sitting my ass down on Saturday mornings, watching amazing Saturday morning cartoons and eating cereal. That’s what we did, man. People my age come in like holy shit it’s my childhood, which is fantastic, it makes me feel good.”
At this point Jim has caught on to the fact that this is an impromptu interview and when I say “I’m totally going to quote you on that!” he raises an eyebrow at me.
“Well, it will be more like a paraphrase (but his accent made an appearance for a moment here and it sounded more like he said power-phrase) you won’t get it word for word.”
I know I’ll have to ask him for permission to use his direct quotes eventually, but I continue because I’m terrified of losing street cred.
I say, “So how do you get the cereal in the ice cream.”
He says, “you take the cereal, and you put it in the ice cream.”
I laugh because Jim McNutt is funny, then I laugh a little more on the inside, because he isn’t trying to be.
“You just blend it dude, well that’s how I do it, there’s not like pieces of cereal in it, but it tastes exactly like the cereal, it’s just like the milk in the bottom of the bowl really. It’s the concept of that, but magnified, and then frozen.”
This description proved to be entirely accurate. The ice cream is really good. He has a freezer full of pop tart ice cream sandwiches as if you weren’t already hooked by the cereal nostalgia.
As of late he has also been collaborating with fellow Colfax staple, Voodoo Doughnuts, to make doughnut ice cream sandwiches but they sell out immediately so I recommend you follow Jim on Facebook for a heads up. Jim also runs specials everyday at 4:20, and is open until 1 am.
On my way out, I turn around and sheepishly admit that I did start recording at one point, and asked if I could use some of his quotes.
“I knew you were up to something! You have to tell people stuff like that, dude.”