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Love's Ice Cream focuses on pure ingredients, local seasonal flavors

Based on the idea that "everybody loves ice cream," Love's Ice Cream sources local milk and seasonal ingredients to produce "the most wholesome ice cream available." Love's Ice Cream can be found at the Downtown Market.
McKellar and his daughter Ruby make ice cream together.

McKellar and his daughter Ruby make ice cream together. /Chris McKellar

About Love's Ice Cream:

Founded by: Chris McKellar

Located at: the Downtown Market

435 Ionio Ave. SW Stall 123



Double chocolate chip cookie dough from Love's Ice Cream.

Double chocolate chip cookie dough from Love's Ice Cream. /Chris McKellar

In the beginning, Love’s Ice Cream was simply a way to avoid buying ice cream that was made with less-than-satisfactory ingredients. With the debut store opening at the Downtown Market, Love’s Ice Cream sources local and seasonal ingredients in what is, according to founder Chris McKellar, ice cream that is “as real as it gets.”

“I was making ice cream at home for family and friends, just because I didn’t want to buy what was at the store, because everything has something in it that I wasn’t happy with,” says McKellar. “I wanted something more pure.”

A former web developer with two small daughters at home, McKellar decided to take control of what his family ate. 

“I went to culinary school, took cooking classes," he says. "After getting involved with getting involved with teaching cooking classes with the Grand Rapids Cooking School, I met some people, and that opened the door to the market.”

McKellar, as part of the scene at the Downtown Market, plans on utilizing both the seasons and local farmers around him to create ice cream flavors. With the allure of sweet corn, beer, and pumpkin ice cream on the horizon, McKellar anticipates using what’s most available during any given season.

“I want to capture what’s ‘now’ about that season,” McKellar says. “As the seasons change and get colder, different things will become available, and interests change in what [people] are hungry for.”

The dedication to local flavor won’t stop with flavors. Love’s Ice Cream is partnering with a dairy in Coopersville as their milk source. The process of getting milk, and using it in ice cream will also be a part of Love’s Ice Cream at the Market.

“I’m going to open my books and show the process of how we make [ice cream], show people how we get milk from the farm, how we actually have to pasteurize it, and make the ice cream mix on site. We’re actually going to bottle and sell milk that you can buy at market.”

“Showing, not telling” is central to how Love’s Ice Cream plans on operating. Besides learning about the process of getting milk from the farm to the cone, McKellar seeks to make information “accessible and understandable.”

“A lot of the other places that want people to believe they’re doing it this way are telling, but they’re not showing at all,” McKellar explains. “It’s kind of misleading and disingenuous. So I’m going to let my actions tell by showing.”

Compared to the ice cream options currently available, McKellar says Love’s Ice Cream is “unique and new.” 

“Or at least, I consider it new, but it’s how people did it 50, 60 years ago, before everything got over industrialized,” he says. “The inspiration behind it is really just the simple pleasure of this food, this dessert that most people enjoy. I’m sort of calling back to an older time, to [make ice cream] as purely and as simply and as wholesome as possible. It’s going to be the most wholesome ice cream you can get.”

The “adventure” that is Love’s Ice Cream will not be limited to dairy. McKellar and his team are also working on non-dairy options. McKellar insists that he’s had “some good sorbets come together” during recipe development.

“It’s going to be as real as you can get," says McKellar. "I just hope people come and buy it.”

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