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Artisanal Ice Cream Shop Sweetens Up Classon Avenue

 Ron and Kati Cunningham, the husband and wife team behind the ice cream brand "Brooklyn Bell," is opening up a brick and mortar store "The Local" at Classon Avenue between Eastern Parkway and Lincoln Place.
Brooklyn Bell's The Local
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CROWN HEIGHTS — Mix heavy cream, milk, turbinado sugar, egg yolks and the husband-wife team of Ron and Kati Cunningham and you’ve got the recipe for The Local, a new homemade ice cream shop set to open Friday.

The Cunninghams' store on Classon Avenue between Eastern Parkway and Lincoln Place comes after the pair spread the word about their Brooklyn Bell ice cream brand by selling it at markets including the Park Slope Food Co-Op, Brooklyn Victory Garden and Brooklyn Night Bazaar.

“We’re totally stoked about the location,” co-owner Ron Cunningham said Monday, emphasizing its proximity to the Brooklyn Museum and nearby schools. “It’s kind of like a no-brainer.”

To test run the new shop, The Local opened for the past two weekends serving up flavors like Black Lava Caramel, which combines Hawaiian lava salt with caramel ice cream; Maple Butter Pecan and Detroit City Rocks — their version of rocky road with marshmallows, Georgia pecans and chocolate chips.

The ice cream costs $3.50 for a single scoop and $5.50 for a double.

Cunningham said the shop won’t have “too many crazy flavors," (he is a fan of plain old chocolate and vanilla), but will always keep things fresh with seasonal flavors like strawberry and inventions like an “ode to Cherry Garcia,” referring to the Ben & Jerry's flavor that combines real cherries and chocolate, and a "Bourbon Whiskey Vanilla" he’s tinkering with.

Customers can buy pints at the shop, too, for $8 each.

The Local will use as many local and organic products as possible, he said. Their dairy products are pasteurized and sourced from the Poughkeepsie creamery Hudson Valley Fresh and all the flavors are mixed in the shop.

“I don’t make the marshmallows and I don’t make the chocolate chunks, but everything else is made here,” Cunningham said, adding that he has long admired fellow Brooklyn ice cream makers Ample Hills Creamery and Blue Marble Ice Cream for their commitment to quality ingredients and on-premises production.

In the span of about an hour on Monday afternoon, six people knocked on the shop’s locked door wondering when it would open for business.

“Not quite yet,” Cunningham told a mother and daughter, before offering them samples.

The professional computer programmer and web designer began making ice cream in his Kensington home as a hobby, serving it to friends and his 4-year-old daughter's preschool class. Kati Cunningham, a lawyer and writer, enjoyed making vegan oat bars at home, which will also be sold at The Local.

Ron Cunningham laughed about the challenges of being a first-time business owner.

“It would sort of be easier to sit in front of a computer or desk than handle 50-pound bags of sugar,” he said.

Brooklyn Bell’s The Local will be open at 843 Classon Ave. seven days a week. The store will open at 11 a.m. every day and close at 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 6 p.m. Sunday.