THE REV is to the ice cream industry what “third wave” coffee shops were to Starbucks. Bill Workman is a fire-starter, pushing traditional concepts of ice cream into the future. Moreover, he brings a “fourth wave” ethos with him: putting people at the forefront of his mission, from the very start. Bill inspires me. Fact is, GO MAKE BELIEVE was conceived while eating a pint of the Revolution’s Strawberry Basil Sorbet. When I consider good people making great stuff, as I look for best of the underground, I think of my amigos at The Revolution Ice Cream Co.
from the Wonka-of-ice-cream confessional: “Inspiration comes from a lot of places. Mostly, I just think about good food and how it could be an ice cream. I certainly accept suggestions too though.”
My first taste of THE REV was a delicious chocolate ice cream. My beautiful bride and I had been volunteering alongside Bill and his wife LesLee at the awesome, one-of-a-kind Relevant Church. Bill was explaining his vision for an ice cream shop like no other. I nodded and devoured the bowl. Soon after, we were ordering pints of crazy, custom flavors via Facebook. I was like a little kid given dreams of ice cream in kaleidoscope colors.
from the Wonka-of-ice-cream confessional: “Most people know that they are here for a new experience and most are pretty excited about it.”
A catalyst to the revolution was the incredibly memorable “ice cream social” hosted by mutual amigos and all-around good people, Kevin and Charlotte Govin. The party was a packed house and THE REV was well-represented with a full menu of mind-blowing flavors. There was even a CRASH MY EVENT photo booth for guests to brag on the web that their taste buds were revolutionized.
from the Wonka-of-ice-cream confessional: “I’m not really that in to eating ice cream. I just make it really well.”
Pint by pint, the Workman duo built their brick and mortar shop. My flavor picks most certainly include Curried Sky, Caramel Vanilla Pralines and Drunken Brownies. True Fact: State Lines contributor and Redliners frontman, Justin Little, has good taste in ice cream, choosing Porky’s Delight as his Revolution flavor-of-choice.
from the Wonka-of-ice-cream confessional: “We continue introducing new crazy flavors but more importantly we keep vigilantly looking for opportunities to serve.”
When I mentioned to poet Amanda Fernandez (next-week’s GO MAKE BELIEVE subject) that I was writing up THE REV, she lit up and started talking about how real it was that, after the Oklahoma tornado devastation, Bill and LesLee dropped everything to help. Bill drove to OK to take supplies and offer assistance. LesLee changed gears and ran the shop. That’s authentic stuff, right there. That’s the kind of passion and authenticity that drove the early days of ____________ (insert name of game-changing inventor / creator / revolutionary of your choice).
from the Wonka-of-ice-cream confessional: “The people in Oklahoma were very inspiring. It helps to put things in perspective. Losing your home and everything you own is a pretty big deal but they all had a tremendous amount of faith that everything will be ok.”
The Revolution Ice Cream Co. is located at 220 W. Brandon Blvd, Brandon FL 33511 and is open Mon-Sat 12-10pm and Sun 1-9pm. They’re closed on Monday, so your brain will have a pause before the next freeze of brilliance. Don’t live in the Tampa Bay area? Why don’t you trust Southern Living magazine and take a road trip? Taste why THE REV is #2 on their list of the best new ice cream shops. Best tasting road trip ever.
I caught up with the design-eye of THE REV / lead Oompa-Loompa-of-ice-cream, LesLee Workman.
JSJ: What was the first of Bill’s flavors that you tasted?
LW: That would have to been back at the house, way back when, in the experimental time. It was Pump Up the Yam, around Thanksgiving time and I was like “Seriously, babe?” It was for our friend Josette. I wasn’t sure what she was going to think. She absolutely loved it! When I tasted it, I was like, “Oh my gosh, how did you do this?” And Bill was like “I DON’T KNOW!”
JSJ: What is like now that you’re actually making the ice cream and not just pitching in?
LW: The process of my husband leaving me in charge includes a very detailed list! For example: Step 1 – Turn on water spicket. Step 2 – Fold paper towel onto the shelf. I couldn’t just put the paper towel down, I had to fold the paper towel. Very, very detailed instructions for what to do. Nothing is assumed. It was very much, “Do Not Deviate From These Steps”.
JSJ: So, not quite “second nature” yet, huh?
LW: No, no, no! Bill is the cook. The only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the house. This Oompa Loompa trusts her Willy Wonka. I follow the recipes to a tee. And so far, well… You’re actually eating a batch of Chicken N Waffles ice cream that I made… so…
JSJ: This is really good. It’s such a great blend of the syrupy waffle taste with a slow wave of chicken!
LW: I don’t know how he does it. Seriously, sometimes Bill walks up to the machine and just starts putting stuff in. That’s the genius part of it. I could not do that. That is why I have my list of steps.
JSJ: Rumor has it, Bill is working on a revolutionary tweak to Vanilla. Care to give us a sneak peak?
LW: You know, the name of that flavor is The Best Dang Vanilla That You’ve Ever Had In Your Whole Life, so yeah, it’s gotta be PUNCH-YOU-IN-THE-FACE-GOOD. Right now, it’s a solid slap in the face. But, just wait till you taste the next edition. It’ll knock you flat over.
Go taste the flavors of the Revolution (as ice cream and as shakes!) with your amigos.
Make your work count for more than selfish gain, by putting other people first.
Believe that your craziest dream can be realized, sometimes sooner than later.