Among the sweet treats at Malu are Jimmy Van Berry, created by local City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, and Dr. Ippolito's Chocolate Salted Cashew Butter, cooked up by a local chiropractor.
“We want to be a mom-and-pop shop, a neighborhood place,” said Jennifer Lee Dudek, 34, who opened the shop with her husband Sergio Garcia Aguilar, 38, a year ago.
The couple moved to Hunters Point from the Upper East Side three years ago “to have kids and more space,” said Jennifer. Their first son, Mateo, was born in 2009, and Luc, their second child, is 18-months old.
Sergio wanted to open a fun family business, “and we both love ice cream,” he said.
So he went to Penn State’s Ice Cream University a couple of years ago, while Jennifer began studying with Malcolm Stogo, president of an Ice Cream University in New Jersey.
Last June, they opened their shop on Jackson Avenue and named it Malu, which combines the names of their children.
The owners buy ingredients from local vendors and are open to recipe suggestions from their customers. After the new ice cream is made, they often name it after its inventor.
For example, Dr. Angelo Ippolito, a chiropractor who has his practice on Vernon Boulevard and often comes to Malu with his children, suggested that cashew butter was healthier than peanut butter and that it would go well with chocolate. So they decided to try it and named the new product after him.
Van Bramer, a local council member who at Christmas time had volunteered to read “The Polar Express” to children gathered at the store, suggested an ice cream made of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries with fudge swirls.
"I was thrilled when they named it after me," Van Bramer said. "We bought a big chunk of it for the office and it was a lot of fun.
"Every single flavor there is delicious."
There are also “regular” flavors — “if kids don’t see vanilla, it’s like the sky is falling,” Jennifer joked — and some fun flavors like Elvis, which is made of peanut butter, bananas and bacon like the King's favorite sandwich.
Among “adult” flavors are Rose Petal, suggested by a customer who grew up in India, Communitea Black Chai flavor, made with black chai tea from Communitea, a cafe on Vernon Boulevard, and Ananda’s Rose, named after local wedding photographer Ananda Lima.
There is also something for the neighborhood's dogs — puppy treats made of vanilla bean ice cream.
Since the store’s opening, Sergio and Jennifer gathered about 120 ice cream and sorbet recipes, although the flavors change daily.
But Malu is geared to appeal to more than your sweet tooth. Every Thursday at 4 p.m. it hosts a story hour, and local moms or grandmothers read stories to children.
There are also art workshops for kids and a space where local artists can show their work, as well as workshops where customers can make their own ice cream.
“We want our store to be a place where it’s acceptable to feel like a kid again,” said Jennifer. “We don’t want to be too grown up."