Ice cream is universally adored and often one of the visceral touchstones for fond memories: birthdays, Fourth of July parades or just summer days when you ran barefoot along the hot asphalt hollering and waving down the ice cream truck. Co-founders of Lick, Anthony Sobotik and Chad Palmatier have elevated the classic treat offering exotic flavors like, Grapefruit with Champagne Marshmallows, Cream Cheese Kolache, and Oranges Caramel Brandy, surprising enough to dazzle the palette of even the most jaded ice cream aficionado. But the magic in Lick is their ability to combine flavors, whether the classics or seasonal mavericks, that please everyone from the cub scout troop to the professional food writer. A big part of their success is Lick’s commitment to sourcing fresh ingredients from Texas farms and simply letting their premium quality shine.
But Chad and Anthony not only collaborate professionally, they live as life partners too. They have dedicated their professional life to offering a sweet moment in a fast-paced world, but behind the scenes their partnership has also yielded a gratifying domestic life deep in the heart of Texas. Even if you hit the goldmine of cosmic compatibility, like these two have, juggling a successful company and relationship requires thoughtful intentionality.
Q – Entrepreneurs are known for creating habits that keep them on track and jumpstart their day. What do your morning rituals look like?
Chad: A typical day is waking up at 7:30, drink a glass of OJ, eat some scrambled eggs, take a shower, make the bed, get dressed, let the dog out back and then off to the office! When we arrive at the office, the first one to do so will make a pot of coffee and from there, we enter our days.
Anthony: I typically get up around 7am and then turn on the Today Show as I make my way to the kitchen where I drink a full glass of water before I hop in the shower. We usually eat eggs and I have a bowl of bran cereal as well. Chad and I drive to work separately as it’s really our only time apart, ever.
Q – What does your partnership look like at work?
Chad: My role is primarily more operational, facilities and brand focused. Anthony’s focus is on flavor development and product quality control. We still share a lot of what we do but are constantly working to divide and conquer. Our days are less structured than we prefer but are working on it!
Anthony: I feel like each day at work is a bit different as we are still a small company and items constantly come up that require our attention. However, I will say that is happening less and less and that’s a testament to our fantastic directors, shop managers and scoop shop teams. As a result, I get to primarily focus on the bigger picture items now and I love it! I still work closely with our kitchen team on flavor development and I spend a good amount of time working on community outreach but I also spend time working on growing and strengthening our company and that excites me!
Q – Anthony, Flavor Developer for an ice cream business is every child and many adults dream job. Do you test ice creams everyday? Are modifications made in real time? Do you taste 6 variations of Pink Peppercorn Lemon Twist at one tasting? Give us details!
Anthony: I actually do get to eat ice cream every single day! It really is most kids dream come true. Personally, I’m testing the ice cream every time I eat it. However, we do weekly quality control tastings every Friday as a team and that’s when we really get down to business. We’re tasting for texture, mouth feel, balanced flavor, even distribution and we’re also checking for a clean pint!
Q – As entrepreneurs, you are constantly managing teams and solving problems. How do you individually recharge your batteries and find your Zen?
Chad: Recharge is pretty much physical activity for both of us. We like to run outside in the nice weather and since we live adjacent to walnut creek park, there are ample trails to do so. I can really feel it when my physical activity decreases. We workout together on a regular basis but honestly, each of us enjoys that bit of separation time. We recharge on an introverted level. Regular yard work for Anthony is great for him, while I like to constantly refresh and update the interior of our home.
Anthony: Whether hiking, running or just doing yard work, I feel so grounded, connected and in awe of this world we get to live in. I love to run outside with Chad when the weather is nice at the park that our neighborhood backs up to. I do all of the yard work (Chad does assist from time to time) and I really don’t ever get bored with it. It’s difficult to always find the time to do it, but every week I carve out at least a small amount of time dedicated to the yard.
Whether hiking, running or just doing yard work, I feel so grounded, connected and in awe of this world we get to live in. –Anthony Sobotik
Q – You mentioned it can be a challenge to find the opportunity to let loose and really be yourselves without the constant responsibilities of looming business. What do your moments of celebration look like where you all can enjoy the life you have created together?
Chad: For me, it is spending quality time with Anthony and family and friends. Anthony and I spend every moment together but it is primarily as co-workers. When we do get time to do something leisurely or even just sit together in the evening it is very precious and comforting. Spending time with family and friends while together is equally fulfilling.
Anthony: Spending quality time with friends and Chad makes me feel most whole. I just love having time to simply sit, reminisce and laugh for hours. There’s nothing that makes my heart as happy! Chad always says that he’s never seen people who enjoy this as much as Texans.
Q – So much of the inspiration for Lick came from memories of family rituals during childhood, like the annual kolache parade in your hometown of Hallettsville, Texas. What seasonal rituals and traditions do you all enjoy in your current lives?
Anthony: One tradition that I enjoyed as a child and continue to enjoy today is picking dewberries each summer. My parents have an entire fence that is grown over with them and when I go home that time of year, Chad and I still pick the berries, even if only for a few minutes. When I was a child, I remember picking them with the rest of my siblings and grandma and taking them back to the house. Making dewberry cobbler, jams and even wine were a big deal in Hallettsville! It’s those dewberry cobblers that I grew up eating that inspired our dewberry corn cobbler flavor.
Q – You mentioned your favorite meal to cook is weekend brunch, what is your favorite menu?
Anthony: We are so not fancy when it comes to brunch! Our typical menu is scrambled eggs, thick cut bacon or pan sausage from Mill-King, banana peanut butter pancakes and coffee of course. If we’re having a more leisurely morning, I’m make biscuits and chad will make poached eggs. I bake the biscuits on one of my Granny’s old pans and Chad poaches the eggs in his grandma’s old egg poacher which makes it just that much more special for us. We’ll still have bacon or sausage and coffee but Chad will also squeeze fresh orange juice that we’ll use to make a few screwdrivers.
Interview by Elizabeth Aubrey
Photographs by Carli Rene
Find Lick on Instagram @lickicecreams.