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A local scoop; Ice cream shop Big River Scoop to open downtown

Everybody loves ice cream and the new Big River Scoop has a flavor for all. Shown above owner Dan Rice is prepared to open at the end of the month. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — Fat Elvis, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, Heaps Of Love and This $&@! Just Got Serious are not names of local indie bands, but flavors of ice cream that will be featured at the soon-to-be-opening Big River Scoop in Bemidji.

Dan Rice and his wife, Mayana, who own and operate the ice cream store across from the Paul and Babe statues, have been in the Bemidji area for about three years.

“I have been looking into opening a restaurant here for a while,” Dan Rice said.

With a soft opening set for March 29 and the grand opening set for April 4, Rice has been putting in a lot of hours prepping the store.

Big River Scoop has plenty of seating area, with a “Philosophy Room” set up for people to read and/or study quietly.

“We kind of wanted to give the place a more of a cafe feels to it,” Rice said. “It’s not like traditional ice cream shops where people go up, order and leave.”

There are more than 20 varieties of ice cream at Big River Scoop. With assistance from an online Facebook poll, Rice decided on flavors voted for the most, flavors he liked and going with traditional classic flavors, as well.

Besides ice cream, there are other frozen treats available, such as Italian ice and soy-based ice cream.

They will also serve homemade, New York-style pizza.

“I figured the pizza would need pepperoni that would do Paul Bunyan proud,” Rice said. “So, we will offer larger pepperoni slices called ‘Paul’s Pepperonis.”

As for how he decided on the name for Big River Scoop, Rice said “we chose our name ... because we wanted something unique enough to separate us from the large franchise corporations, and alluded to the heritage of our community and region. For as long as people have settled this land, the Big River has been integral to survival, and while I’d be going out on a limb if I were to say ice cream is required for survival, it certainly can bring some extra happiness to living.”

The store also wants to be a part of the community, such as featuring artwork from local artists and supporting other local businesses.

“We view Big River Scoop as being an entry point to the Bemidji downtown, a place for visitors to stop for a treat before navigating their way through the streets to other shops,” Rice said. “And we hope to support as many local downtown business through cross-advertising as we can.”

For the grand opening April 4, Big River Scoop plans on having a price special for the weekend, along with having a local musician play beneath the outdoor canopy entrance.

The store plans to be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week, closing on Tuesdays.

For more information, visit or call (218) 204-1409.

Joe Froemming

Joe Froemming is a page designer for Forum Communications Co. You can read his blog at

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