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Nielsen’s Frozen Custard: Thicker than concrete

Good, hard work and family values were what brought Steve Nielsen to the frozen custard business in 1981. “What he wanted was a family farm,” says Dave Nielsen, director of franchising at Nielsen’s Frozen Custard and Steve’s son. “He wanted to teach his kids how to work. He [also] wanted to stay in Bountiful, so he decided to open frozen custard shops.”

The Nielsens’ first frozen custard stand opened in the Crossroads Mall in downtown Salt Lake City and quickly grew to family-owned stores in Bountiful, Salt Lake and St. George, with several franchises in Idaho, Nevada and Arizona. “Every city we’ve opened in, we’ve been named the best ice cream in that respective city,” says Nielsen.

During this growth, Steve Nielsen took the standard frozen custard mixing machine and improved upon it, patenting his modifications specifically for his frozen custard stands. “We have several patents on our machine. We feel that it makes the best product in the world,” Nielsen says. “Each store has the custard machine in it and we just pour it in and start the machine … The machine has such great freezing capacity it can take a liquid product and freeze it in 16-17 seconds. Some of the more quality ice creams are at 50 percent air, whereas [ours] are at 10 percent air. That’s why it’s such a thick, dense product.”

The most popular item at Nielsen’s is their take on a classic milkshake: the Concrete. “A concrete is a really thick shake. It is our number one seller [and] what really makes them stand out is how thick they are,” he says. Concretes come in a wide variety of flavors with a long list of mix-in options like cookie dough, nuts and brownie. “This is another thing that makes it so popular,” says Nielsen. “We only use quality ingredients, whether we use real berries, real nuts or real Oreos.” And the best part? “[The] custard is made fresh all day long. We never want to sell a product that is more than a couple hours old.”

Nielsen’s Frozen Custard is still expanding into new locations. A second generation store, the first family-owned location in 20 years, is due to open at the beginning of April in South Jordan, and two more stores will open within the coming year. Nielsen’s Frozen Custard has store fronts in Bountiful, St. George, Salt Lake and Layton. But come prepared: The St. George and Bountiful locations currently accept only cash or check, while all other locations will accept cards.

March Issue