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Rollup Ice Cream & Tea (Portage)

January 4, 2021

  • 8340 Portage Road
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 459-1873
  • Website
  • Menu

The chicken wars continue. Popeyes really opened up the flood gates when they let their over-hyped chicken sandwich loose on the world. A lot of other places realized they could do it too…and do it better.

I’ve already blogged about Chicken House and Turbo Chicken bringing the chicken sandwich game to Kalamazoo County. Now an ice cream shop wants to get in on it too.

Rollup Ice Cream & Tea expanded to a second shop in Portage earlier this fall. The rollup ice cream genre is pretty new to Kalamazoo. The first store was opened up on Stadium Drive right before the lockdown began in March. They not only survived the lockdown and subsequent restrictions but thrived to the point another location opened up on Portage Road next to Erbelli’s in Portage.

The ice cream shop is familiar. It’s the building that sits back off the road in the Erbelli’s parking lot. It was Via Gelato for a while before Rollup Ice Cream moved in.

The interior is similar to the old set up but it’s been cleaned up and changed slightly. Both businesses were tasty frozen dairy treats but they are really, really different.

There’s a long order counter in the back of the dining room. There was a group in front of us so we took time to look over the menu which is on TV’s hanging above the counter. We were getting ice cream for all four of us because..duh, it’s delicious ice cream….but we also drove down to Portage because we had been hearing about how good their chicken sandwiches are.

So, we did the ordering. J and L got the Gingerbread and Lemon special…although L just did Gingerbread, no lemon. B did the Candy Cane special…and boring ol’ dad did what he always does, Cookie Dough Delight. As for chicken, we got 2 chicken sandwich combos….I got spicy, J did not. The bill came out to just under $45 before tip. And the best part, B got to watch his ice cream being made which is always his favorite part!

B’s ice cream came out first. There were a couple of orders in front of us so it took a little while and B was getting restless. The dining room is closed due to COVID so he and I headed back to the car so he could start eating without having to wait on the rest of us.

B’s ice cream was the Candy Cane special. This delicious combo of vanilla ice cream and crushed candy canes was perfect for him. This trip to Rollup happened the weekend before Christmas so he was on a Candy Cane kick. The ice cream was topped with whipped cream and a mini candy cane sticking out of the top.

J and L both ordered the Gingerbread with lemon….another holiday special. The vanilla ice cream was mixed with Gingerbread then topped with whipped cream and a large hunk of a gingerbread cake. J’s had a lemon syrup drizzled over it to finish…L was fine with just the Gingerbread.

Me….boring old me, got the Cookie Dough Delight. My kids called it before we even walked through the door that I would be getting that. The vanilla ice cream has cookie dough bits, a caramel sauce, and a large Chips Ahoy Cookie sticking out of the top. Sue me for liking something so deliciously simple. I’ll get it next time we go too.

J was the last one out because she had the bag of food as well. We decided to hold off on that until we got home because the kids didn’t want anything so we didn’t make them sit there and watch us eat.

The Chicken Sandwich combos come with the sandwich, fries, and a can of pop. I actually started in on the fries when we got home because I figured they would be the first to go cold. These fries are interesting. They’re thinly sliced the length of the potato, skin on, and come with a pretty generous salt sprinkle. The fries are really good. I started eating them and couldn’t stop. They’re not a traditional crispy restaurant fry but they’re fresh, crispy around the edges, and soft and airy in the middle. They don’t look like much but they’re surprising tasty.

The chicken sandwich follows the same basic structure as the competitors. Chicken, sauce, pickles, bun The big difference in this sandwich is it’s white meat. A lot of places are going with boneless thighs and while I realize the culinary world prefers dark meat, we’re white meat people. The hand breaded chicken is pretty thick, but it’s juicy all the way through with a delicious, crispy breading. There’s a sauce just referred to as “Rollup Sauce” on the menu. I got the spicy sandwich so I was getting more spice than whatever the sauce was. It looks like a mayo/ketchup mixture which is pretty common. The sauce is kind of sandwiched between the chicken and the thick sliced pickles. The super soft potato bun almost doesn’t hold up to the bulk of this sandwich….but it does.

I don’t ever like to declare “bests” on this blog because I realize different people have different tastes. J is not me though. She was barely two bites in before yelling at me from the other room this sandwich is the best of the lot.

Unfortunately, this sandwich is only available at the Portage location right now….which is quite a drive for us on the west side of town.

Rollup Ice Cream & Tea has been our go-to during COVID. It was how we bribed the kids to go on our first hike at Aslyum Lake back in March….it was how we bribed them to go on a hike at West Lake Nature Preserve this time…and there was a lot of bribing on many hikes in between over the summer.

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