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Restaurant Row

Creative ice cream and nondairy flavors offered at Lakewood shop

Lakewood resident Marissa Flynn has turned an icecream- making hobby into a career with the opening last month of Ice Cream Joy (15210 Madison Ave.). The shop's creative flavors make it stand out in a crowded field: Recent offerings included raspberry white chocolate, roasted black sesame and seaweed, honey- roasted peanut butter cookie dough, homemade chocolate chip cookie dough, peaches and cream, and avocado vanilla limeade.

Nondairy frozen desserts included vegan Thai dream, vegan cayenne sweet potato pecan, vegan dark chocolate whiskey pretzel, cantaloupe Sriracha lime sorbet, vegan avocado limeade and clementine sorbet.

Flynn, who for years worked as an accountant, left the work force to spend time with her kids. Her love of ice cream began after her mother gave her an ice cream maker eight years ago. Flynn accepted politely, but put it away.

''Then, three years ago, I took it off the shelf,'' Flynn said.

She started making batches of ice cream in unusual flavors and sharing them with family and friends.

About a year ago, with their encouragement, she started selling small batches of prepackaged ice cream at Susy's Soup, a restaurant owned by her stepfather at Tower City in downtown Cleveland.

''One of the things I really like about making ice cream is seeing people try it and enjoy it, and I didn't get that there because it was prepackaged,'' Flynn said.

That's when she decided to open her own shop. She painted, decorated and put in a tile floor herself. ''It was like a white box when I came in here,'' she said.

Flynn offers about 16 flavors at any one time: eight dairy ice cream flavors and eight nondairy flavors, including sorbet. All are made from scratch in the shop, and whenever possible with locally made products.

Flynn buys milk and cream from Wholesome Valley Farm, in Wilmot, which does not use antibiotics or growth hormones with its cattle. She buys chocolate from Fear's Confections, a shop operating next door. She grows her own basil and mint at the store.

For those less daring who want a chocolate or plain vanilla scoop, Flynn keeps some in a freezer in back, available by request. She also plans to keep some of the older flavors in back, too. ''I just keep them behind the counter because I don't have enough room to show them all,'' she said.

The varied and unusual flavors Ice Cream Joy owner Marissa Flynn offers at her small shop make it difficult to make a decision. BRUCE GEISELMAN | NORTHEAST OHIO MEDIA GROUP

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