Craig Pruscha is a man of juxtaposition.
As owner of Bistro Z in Sussex, he’s designed a restaurant that positions the natural world smack dab up against a more industrial look. As owner of Mad Science Creamery, W249 N5267 Executive Dr., Suite 103 in Sussex – a venue that’s the exact opposite of the fine dining found at Bistro Z – he’s also combined two sometimes more combative elements: food and science.
Mad Science is an ice cream parlor that’s cooler than cool. And faster than fast. And that’s because all the ice cream behind the counter is flash frozen with liquid nitrogen, meaning it’s made to order and ready to eat in about 90 seconds flat. Even better, the servers making the ice cream wear lab coats, and there is music and lights and fog and...
Well, just watch:
Mad Science is the first nitrogen ice cream shop in Wisconsin (though you might remember Chef Mitch Ciohon having a liquid nitrogen ice cream machine at Beta by Sabor back in 2010-11, which was pretty darned cool). And its goal is 100% fun.
"It’s a little bit of theater, a little bit of science, and a whole lot of ice cream," says Pruscha with a smile. "And it’s made for kids. It’s not designed to be healthy or health conscious. It’s just fun."
The shop offers nine ice cream flavor bases including vanilla, chocolate, dulce de leche, brownie batter and butter pecan, along with seasonal flavors like peppermint. There are also add-ins like fruit purees, syrups, nuts, gummy bears, cereal marshmallows, chocolate chips and various types of candy. Prices range from $3.99 for 6 ounces to $5.99 for 12 ounces of made-to-order ice cream.
There are also non-dairy options that cater to customers with special dietary needs.
"Because we make every batch on demand, we have the ability to cater to a lot of different allergies," says Pruscha. "We have a dedicated machine for that purpose. We can also make lactose-free, gluten-free and sugar-free options."
Food options include burgers ($6.50-6.99), bratwurst ($6.50), grilled cheese and chicken strips ($5.99), all of which come with fries. There’s also poutine ($5.99), macaroni & cheese ($3.99), a grilled mac & cheese sandwich ($5.99) and the grilled Fluffernutter made with Nutella, marshmallow, peanut butter and chocolate or any combination of those ingredients ($5.99 with fries).
Sweet treats include cream puffs filled with chantilly cream ($4.99), marshmallow cereal (essentially Lucky Charms marshmallows served with milk for $2.99), Calman’s Big Bootie malt (available in a variety of flavors) and Pruscha’s favorite, the chili doughnut, a glazed doughnut filled with savory chili ($4.99).
"I was a judge of a chili contest in Oconomowoc," he said. "I happened to have chili in one hand and a doughnut in the other, and I thought it would be really cool to combine. It's unique and delicious."
In a few weeks the menu will also include hot steamed puddings in flavors like chocolate, vanilla and butterscotch that can be mixed with any of the ice cream flavor add-ins.
Pruscha is also using the business to raise money for Alex Bingham Klingbeil, a 6-year old from Jefferson who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012.
"Alex’s mother and I have been friends for a decade or or more, and I remember they found out about his diagnosis on Chrismas," says Pruscha. "My son is the same age, so it hit pretty hard. He has a rare form of leukemia that goes in and out of remission. We had an event for him preceding the opening created an ice cream that’s red and yellow with graham cracker crust and malted milk balls. He’s a big fan of super heroes, so we’re calling it Iron Man."
Iron Man ice cream will be available beginning next week; $1 from every bowl sold will be given to Klingbeil to spend as he wishes. For more information about the Iron Man Fund or to donate directly, visit iamironman.org
Mad Science Creamery is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.