Salli Wason left her home on Concord Street and pointed her black Subaru Forester with pink floor mats, pink leopard print seat covers, and a license plate that says “Rosanna” toward Higgins Street, where her first customer of the night was waiting for his dessert.

Next to her in the car sat a big gray insulated bag filled with six pints of homemade ice cream. Kids rode their bikes on the sidewalks with parents following, taking their evening strolls.

There’s not an ice cream truck in sight in this Deering Center neighborhood, but that’s OK. Wason is giving the local Good Humor guy a little competition, delivering ice cream directly to her customers’ doors Wednesday through Sunday.

“The response has definitely been more than I expected,” Wason said. “I just left my day job and I wasn’t expecting to do that within the first year. So that was exciting and a little scary.”

Her business, Rosanna’s Ice Cream, is just one of the home delivery options available in Portland and South Portland for people who want to cool off with a little ice cream but would rather play catch with their kids in the waning summer light or crash on the couch after a long day at work to binge-watch their favorite Netflix show than drive to the local convenience store for a pint of Rocky Road.

Also, just last week, she expanded her delivery area on Thursdays to include parts of Westbrook.


Her competitors include the local restaurant delivery service, which is selling MDI Ice Cream and pints of Gorgeous Gelato. Owner Mike Bolduc says his customers would rather pay his $5 delivery fee than fight the crazy summer traffic in the Old Port, where both ice cream stores are located. Both Rosanna’s and 2DineIn promise they’ll be at your door with your Fudge Swirl fix within an hour.

Salli Wason smiles after delivering her ice cream to Matt Giggey on Higgins Street in Portland. She’s a fan of the rock group Toto and named her business for their ’80s-era hit song.

Home delivery of ice cream is getting to be more popular nationally. Last week, Baskin Robbins announced it would start delivering its way-more-than-31 flavors through, a food delivery service with a presence in lots of major cities. Caviar and UberEATS also deliver ice cream – often local, artisanal brands – in the cities they cover.

Wason started her business last summer. “I’ve been a delivery driver in the past,” she said, “and people always joked ‘Oh, I wish somebody would bring me ice cream right now.’ ”

Wason, 39, worked at Arabica, the Portland coffee shop, for 17 years, both as a barista and as manager of the business’ bakery. Music is her other passion. She played guitar for the local metal band Hessian and is a huge fan of Toto, which is why she named her new business after one of their hits. (Wason and her boyfriend actually got to meet the band last summer, but she was so starstruck she forgot to tell them their hit song “Rosanna” is now an ice cream business.)

Wason’s customers always assume her name is Rosanna, so now she just answers to it. She figures, why fight something that’s working so well?

She makes her ice cream in tiny batches in a commercial kitchen on Fore Street. She has two machines and, if she’s really (pardon the pun) cranking, she can churn out six pints an hour. Working 8- to 16-hour days, she usually makes at least 40 pints in a day, and says she sells every single one of them.


While having ice cream delivered to your home is convenient, Wason’s customers say her creative flavors play just as big a role in enticing them to pick up the phone and order intriguing flavors like Thai iced tea, fresh nectarine and honey lavender. Wason posts her daily menus on her Facebook page, and changes flavors often. Like a musician, she also takes requests from customers. Most recently she tried her hand at a flavor she calls “rose red” – made with raspberries and housemade beach rose syrup – because someone told her it was popular in Paris. A customer request for blueberry-lemon with gingersnaps sold so quickly she still makes it.

Pints of ice cream that Salli Wason delivers to customers in Portland, South Portland and parts of Westbrook. “People are super happy when you’re coming to their door with ice cream,” Wason says.

“Whenever I come up with something with a silly name, people love it,” Wason said. “The coffee Oreo keeps selling out. I’ll make 20 pints and it will be gone in one night.”

Regular customer April Fournier-Gray orders a couple of pints of ice cream from Wason about every 10 days, although she lives less than a mile from the Northgate Shaws, which is open until 11 p.m. and sells ice cream at a third of the price. “But it doesn’t taste the same, and it doesn’t feel the same,” Fournier-Gray said. “It doesn’t feel like this super special treat that you’re getting to enjoy.”‘

Fournier-Gray heard about Rosanna’s and its “really funky flavors” from Facebook friends, and she says she the news was “like fireworks and explosions in my brain.” She still remembers her first two pints: Snickers and chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Fournier-Gray has a dairy allergy but says she’s “willing to suffer the hives to get a pint.” Wason makes nondairy versions of her flavors for others in that predicament who’d rather not take the risk.

Fournier-Gray’s orders go in after her four kids have gone to bed and she and her husband, Kevin, are settling in to watch TV.


“Kevin has an ice cream dance he does when I come to the door,” Wason said.

Salli Wason’s Maine Wild Blueberry ice cream. She makes her ice cream in tiny batches in a commercial kitchen on Fore Street.

The couple occasionally share their Rosanna’s ice cream with their children, but usually they hide it in a special spot in the freezer.

“They’ll hear a knock on the door and say ‘Who’s that?’ ” Fournier-Gray said. ” ‘Nobody. Look away. Go back to bed.’ ”

Rosanna’s pints cost $8.99 each, and there’s a $12 minimum. She also sells toppings such as hot fudge, whipped cream and nuts; ice cream cakes; and, occasionally, brownie ice cream sandwiches. To order, customers text or phone Wason, then either she or one of her drivers hits the road. There is no delivery fee, but Wason encourages tips because her drivers (usually her boyfriend or one of her daughters) are paid in tips and free ice cream. She hopes to hire a few paid drivers soon.

At her first stop on Higgins Street, Wason – wearing an apron over a sleeveless dress that showed off her tattoos – dropped off a pint each of Rocky Road and coffee Oreo to Matt Giggey, who called the ice cream “fantastic” and said he likes to support local businesses.

The next stop was Sherman Street, where Ann-Marie Keene met Wason at the door. “I worked all day,” Keene said, “and now I have ice cream.”


Mike Baumgardner’s apartment on Salem Street was the final stop in the run. Baumgardner, a dishwasher at Marcy’s Diner, said he heard about Rosanna’s from his boss.

“The response has definitely been more than I expected,” Wason said. “I just left my day job and I wasn’t expecting to do that within the first year.”

“All the flavors are delicious,” he said as he paid for a pint of fudge ripple. “It’s just so good and creamy.”

You might think the ice cream home delivery business would slow down in winter, but so far that’s not the case. Roseanna’s was busy all winter long, and on a couple of days she had to pull the plug on delivery herself because the driving was dangerous.

Bolduc of 2DineIn also reports unexpectedly healthy winter sales. “I guess people don’t mind ice cream as long as they don’t have to go out in the cold to get it,” Bolduc said.

When Bolduc started 2DineIn eight years ago, he signed up Baskin Robbins in South Portland and delivered for them until they went out of business. Gorgeous Gelato signed on last summer, and MDI four months ago. The delivery service charges a $5 fee and there’s a $15 minimum, plus tax and tip. They deliver to Portland, South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth Foreside, and parts of Scarborough.

Curtis Fogg, a dispatcher with 2DineIn, says MDI was one of the service’s most popular start-up restaurants, with orders pouring in the moment they were online. He remembers one order for nearly $100 worth of ice cream.

Maybe they were having a party, or maybe they just wanted to stock up. We can attest to the fact that ice cream delivery may turn out to be a slippery slope that leads to a freezer full of coconut fudge and vanilla butterscotch ripple. We tried Rosanna’s Maine wild blueberry, dotted with fresh native blueberries, and “crummy M&M” – a combination of cookies ‘n cream and M&M – both delivered in one hour – and considered making up our own ice cream dance.

“People are super happy when you’re coming to their door with ice cream,” Wason said.

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