Social Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop: Building a community one scoop at a time in Winona Lake

The Village at Winona is a popular destination for shopping, eating, and spending time with friends and family. An eight-minute walk from the Grace College campus, it offers many popular restaurants and shops like Light Rail, Belove and Cerulean. 

Frequent village visitors will notice one change this year: Kelainey’s Sweet Dreams' previous home is now the location for the newest restaurant on the block: Social Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop

This is the latest venture from co-owners Shawn and Carrie Bianchini, who also launched Shawnanigans, a catering company, in 2018, and a good truck in 2020. The couples says they’ve always been open to new opportunities.

Social Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop serves gourmet ice cream, homemade soups, sandwiches and salads.“I was really excited to have a physical space to invite people into,” Carrie says. “We’ve gotten to know so many people just because they come to our food truck regularly. Having a brick-and-mortar restaurant seemed like the perfect next step to engage with people in the community.”

Social serves gourmet ice cream, homemade soups, sandwiches and salads. They offer hot sandwiches like paninis and grilled cheese, as well as cold sandwiches. Bringing in a fan favorite from the food truck Shawn says they’ll also be serving their bison chili and continuing their chef’s specials. All the food is made from scratch. 
Social Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop, 904 Park Ave, Winona Lake, IN.
“We try to keep our staples so you can always get what you love, but also try whatever’s on chef’s special because one, I promise it’s good, and two, it won’t be here next week,” Shawn says. 

They’ve also introduced many new menu items, such as dessert poutine, which Carrie says she is most excited about. Social also has funnel cake fries, which will be topped with churro ice cream, chocolate sauce, and bacon bits. 

Shawn and Carrie say Social will have an ice cream flavor exclusive to their restaurant, courtesy of a partnership with Sweet G’s Ice Cream in Nappanee.

Striving to make their shop unique, they’ll remain open year-round, unlike other ice cream shops, which typically close during the colder months. The upstairs, which previously was only for employees, will be open to the public as a quiet study area. People can bring a laptop to get work done, and students can meet for group projects. There will also be an option to rent conference rooms.

“We called it Social with the hopes of it being a place for people to spend time together,” says Carrie. “We love creating spaces for people to enjoy being in each other’s company.”
Social Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop serves gourmet ice cream, homemade soups, sandwiches and salads.
And fortunately for Grace College students, Social will be accepting Village Flex dollars, money included in the Grace College meal plans that can be spent at a number of shops and restaurants in the Village. Shawn and Carrie hope this will encourage students to use Social as a place to hang out, study, and find good food. 

“Sometimes you need a place to come that’s off campus,” Carrie says. “Our menu is reasonably priced, so you’ll have another good option if you want to try something new.” 

They plan to stay open late in the evenings, but if students want to use the space after hours, Shawn and Carrie are open to creating opportunities to make this possible.  

“If you have a 9 or 10 p.m. group meeting that needs a space, reach out to us, and we will work with you to get a space available,” Shawn says. “We’re big on partnering and collaborating with people.” 

Shawn has a long history in the food industry. He was previously a manager at Applebees, a chef at Oakwood Resorts, and the executive chef at Windham Gardens. He also helped renovate 110 Craft Meatery in downtown Warsaw. 

The couple met when they both worked at Ruby Tuesday’s as Carrie was pursuing her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling at Grace College. After getting married, Carrie worked as a licensed mental health therapist until she closed her private practice in December to work with Shawnanigans full-time.

Social Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop, 904 Park Ave, Winona Lake, IN.Their biggest priority is making sure they are providing a unique value proposition in the Village. 

“We don’t want to compete with anyone,” Shawn says. “There are some great restaurants here that do what they do really well. We want to collaborate with them, not compete with them.” 

As they enjoy the beginning of their new shop, Shawn and Carrie say they look to the Shawnanigan's motto: “Engage people, embrace life, and eat well.”

“We did it in that order because we first want to spend time with people,” Carrie says. “We see food as our ministry. We tell people it’s our love language. It’s our way to reach people.”

Find Social Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop online here.
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